A big box arrived at my door the other day, the size of a…well, the size of a big box. You could have put a cocker spaniel in it, but you know, not for long.
Anyway, it was very light. And turns out, inside were photos from my mother’s house. She died last year about his time, and she’d put together big boxes of memorabilia for each of us kids, things we didn’t know she’d been keeping. Everything from baby pictures to an essay I wrote in fifth grade on why a person would be a spy. It was called “a Place in the Sun” and I apparently had a theory that a spy is looking for attention and to leave their mark on the world. I got an A-, probably because it was such a “unusual” idea. But it did show some imagination. And showed even then, I had an affinity for sentence fragments.
Turns out the box that arrived at my doorstep was full of the photos she had kept for herself. I had told the executor of the estate I wanted anything like that. And there it was.
So, wow. Here's Mom, on her wedding day. Amazing, huh?
And here’s Mom and Dad, I think this must be in Chicago, when she was so chic (this must be 1948 or so) and doesn’t Dad look like Arthur Miller? (He still does.)
Here’s the proof I’m not exaggerating when I tell people I was a geeky bookish kid. A-HEM. Here I am, with the “favorite book” I was told to bring to the shoot. It’s Golden Sovereign, about a horse. (It was actually about a girl, but to me it was about a horse.) (This blog thing will NOT let me put the next two photos right side up. I'm homicidal, so just tilt your head.)
This shot of the three sisters (yikes) includes the only existing photo of our first dog Rusty, an Irish Setter who chased cars so relentlessly he finally caught one, and wound up losing a leg. He never seemed to notice.
I know this is my mother’s father, Grandpa Bill. (He sold cars, I was told. I was never sure this was true.)
I know this is his wife, Grandma Rose. She was a little strange. When she died, we went to her house and found –-in her closet—a collection of dresses. Again and again, she had purchased the same dress in every size. I’m sorry, Grandma Rose, that creeped me out. I wish I knew why you did that.
And it’s still nice to know I still recognize them. I haven’t seen those people for fifty years.
But what is so unnerving about the box—there are also photos of people I don’t know who are. And now, I’m not sure who to ask. There may be no one I know who knows.
For instance. Who are these people ? When would you guess this is from? Can you tell from the clothing? It seems to be in front of a synagogue, don’t you think? But I have no clue who these people are.
In this photo, the guy without the hat is Uncle Sam, I’m pretty sure. How he was my uncle, I have no idea. But the others—hat guy?--shaking head. No idea.
What if they’re nobody we ever knew, photos that got put into the box by mistakes and never discarded? But why would Mom keep them? Or what if they’re pivotal important parts of our family? Sigh. I just don’t know.
So me being me, I’m thinking, photos like this might be a good clue in a mystery, right? I’m mulling that over.
But first, I’m calling my dad. I can’t let these faces remain nameless.