Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Ever since my father got the horrible, really bad, extremely dire but not without a lone crumb of hope prognosis on his cancer, I've been spending a lot more time with my folks. My mom brings out these shoe boxes strewn with old unidentifiable photographs that belonged to either my grandparents or great-grandparents. On the back of this print the only clue as to who this girl was is the number '5' jotted down in pencil. Dad feels fairly confident that the picture was taken on his grandparents farm, but the No. 5 isn't his mother. I think the reason we want to know who someone is in an unmarked photo is because we want to know what became of them. As it is now, anything could be ascribed to this girl and it couldn't be verified or refuted. She could've been a romantic dreamer, a budding naturalist, a math whiz, or just some run of the mill dumb cluck. Who knows?
And, I think that is why I become lost sometimes in old photos that have such broad meaning. It could be anything. There's a story there, we just don't have the words for it.