Tuesday, March 24, 2009

No.5


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.

6 comments:

Charlotte said...

That's a very haunting photo. I am sorry about your dad I hope he can fight it.

TheWeyrd1 said...

My mom has been carefully going through old photos and putting them in binders with info on the back of them. I know most of the pics, but there are some really old ones that I wouldn't recognize, so I'm glad she's doing this. Of course, my brother finds this somewhat morbid, like she's putting her house in order so she can die...though she's not terminally ill as far as we actually know. Someday, though, she will pass on and at least I'll be glad she took the time to organize these things. Besides, it gives her something purposeful to do!

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

When you get to some really, really old pics and there's no notation on the back, then it's all guess work. And I don't find anything morbid about your mom IDing pics for the people who will one day inherit them. It's a great help to know what you're looking at!

drollgirl said...

oh, i hope you can show it around at a family reunion and hopefully get to the bottom of the mystery. i hope i hope i hope!

gypsywee said...

Look how tiny her shadow is. Cool.

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

Gypsy - Good eye! They must've taken this pic at high noon.
Droll - Sadly, all of the old people are dead. There really is no one left to ask. Plus, our family is relatively (heh) small. We can easily hold a reunion in a garage ;)