One of the things my sister left behind for me was a big bag of black and white photos. It was full of images of our childhood, moments in time frozen forever. Growing up on a farm in the 1950s was a very hard life. During the planting season through harvest, life was full of long hours. Sun up to sundown was spent cropping tobacco and picking cotton. It was brutal on us as children but it was how we lived. We took it in stride and made the best of it.

The tobacco was green and sticky with sap that was impossible to get off your hands. We had to string the loose tobacco onto a tobacco stick. This was done under a barn in the heat and was non-stop work. Picking cotton in the hot blistering sun was exhausting and your hands would bleed and the sack that you put the cotton in, a burlap sack, grew heavier with each step. Yet no one complained and many a gospel song was to be heard.

Here in these black and white photos was a chronicle of my early life. There is something about those photos that made my life look hard and lifeless. They seemed not to have soft edges. You could almost feel the burdens that we carried just to make a simple living and put food on the table.

To me, they don’t show the life we had in color. They don’t show the brilliant sunsets, clear blue skies and the vibrant greens of the fields when the crops were at their peak. Life was full of colors, smells, and sounds. Imagine pancakes on the griddle, watermelons, and cantaloupes glistening with the morning dew waiting to be picked.

The photos don’t capture the cool water of the creek where we would take a late evening swim, or the pastels of Sunday clothes after church at a cover-dish lunch. In the fall the trees turned bright scarlet and yellow, with the orange of pumpkins stacked high for the harvest dance.

The images of my life are all black and white yet my memories are all full of color like a rainbow after a summer rain shower, and the azaleas my mother planted when we first moved to the farm. Their beauty and color were breathtaking but not so much in these old photos.

Point of View:
In life, much of what we do is not as black and white as it seems. Growing up I often heard the old saying that life is a simple as black or white. Life is not black and white. It is a palette of vibrant color like a Van Gogh painting. It is laughter, joy, and song. It is full of texture, smells and many feelings. It is full of love, kindness, giving and compassion all these color the spectrum of life.

Even the dark days and pain that sometimes visits us look better in color. I have spent the last 19 years of my life creating a garden. It was planned so that in each season something blooms. It always has color and beauty. Our memories should not be remembered in black and white but as a garden where something is always in bloom. Live your life in color.

“A picture’s worth a thousand words. But you can’t see what those shades of gray keep covered. You should’ve seen it in color.”

~Jamey Johnson


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Larry Tyler
I have 40 years of Retail Management experience. I am the person they send in to fix things. Call it a Store Focus Specialist, a Smoke Jumper, an Outlaw. I can work within the system or go outside the box when needed. I love walking into chaos and bringing order. I am not a key word person and my education came from mentors not schools. I believe that everything that we do starts with hiring the right people. Driving sales, merchandising, customer service and metrics are just keywords until you hire the right people. My top talents are Recruiting, hiring, training, associate development, and going into a focus store and turning it around. Most importantly I believe in people and that if you teach them, develop them and believe in them they will do far more than they thought possible.
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Massimo Scalzo

Larry I fully agree with you. Fully. Many in their entire lives see in black and white… and they don’t realize life is a shocking technicolor… because even the worst things in life… have unknown results… “even the very wise cannot see all ends”… and in any case they will eventually pass … in just one short breath. Thank you Larry. Thank you Dennis.

Suzana Matkovic
Suzana Matkovic

I’m awestruck, that was very beautifully written Larry, Thank you, I’m breathless from just reading it.

Laura Perneski
Laura Perneski

The photographs were only a viual to the memories of the heart, which are full of all human senses and emotion. Your story lays it out perfectly, and brings back memories of each’s own, which are not simply a snapshot of an event, not simply decisions born out on a list of pros and cons, but as you quoted, life in the gray areas.

Lynn Forrester-Pitocco

Larry, many in life look through the camera lens and see color. However, it’s refreshing to go back and look through life in black and white and let our lives see the color that comes as it may. Thank you.

Jane Anderson

You have a full color brocade in your story, Larry. A beautiful articulate remembrance of your life that has shaped your character. Thank you for sharing.

Aldo Delli Paoli

Absolutely agree. Life is not a silent or black and white spectacle.
It is an inexhaustible rainbow of colors, an interminable concert of noises, a phantasmagoric chaos of voices and faces, of creatures whose actions intertwine or overlap to weave the chain of events that determine our personal destiny.

Yvonne A. Jones

I love your description of the various facets of life, Larry. It’s definitely not black and white. Thank you for sharing the reminder. There’s vibrant beauty all around us.

Johnny Johnston

I was just speaking to someone about the escalation of darkness in the world today even from just a year ago. I suppose you could say that this change in the spirit is simply black and white. Thank you for bringing color back if only for a moment in a world that has become so monochromatic.

Valerie Collins

I love this story. It is so full of color I can’t even imagine the black and white photos. Often we go through life in mundane routine and forget to actually live! I enjoy the vivid colors of your beautiful garden every time you post them. Now I have the reason to the why they are so beautiful.