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My aunt sent me this photo from 1963. She found it on the website of an elementary school classmate.

The girl in the front row with the striped skirt is my mother. She was 13 years old when this photo was taken.

Mom would be 71 if she were alive today. She passed away back in 2007.

I don’t have any other photos of my mother from when she was young. This is my one and only.

Seeing the photo is like opening a window in time, allowing me to peek into a day when the world was so different in so many ways, yet school children stood on the steps of schoolhouses to take class photos like they still do today.

Some things thankfully never change.

I can’t help but wonder what Mom’s life was like back then. Who in the photo were her friends? How did she spend her afternoons? What were her favorite subjects in school? What dreams did she have for her future?

I’m glad she’s smiling. It’s a good way to see her. A good way to remember her. She looks so happy, even if just for a moment.

Mom probably received this class photo a few weeks after it was taken. She probably stared at it for a minute or two, looking at herself and her friends, laughing over someone’s goofy look, then eventually lost it.

It meant little at the time to a 13 year-old girl, I suspect. Most class photos ultimately get lost in the shuffle of life.

Little did Mom know how much this photo would mean to a man 57 years later as he peered closely at the girl in the front row with a striped skirt who would become his mother just eight years after this photo was taken.

The blink of an eye, really.

We don’t have time travel yet, which is a damn shame. Until then, I’ll be happy when photos like this resurface, giving me a fresh moment with a mother who died so very young and is so very missed ever day.