Meanwhile, back at my boxes of family history stuff, I’ve come across some real treasure! Photo albums that my great grandmother put together! The old kind that the photos are glued in with what looks like flour paste. In some cases I am really lucky and they are affixed with those old metallic gold photo corners. You know, those old photo albums with the fake leather- look covers filled with black paper, similar to today’s construction paper. It is far from the acid free standard of today, but those pictures are still holding up amazingly well considering they have been there for close to 100 years. The photo quality isn’t great, but it is likely as good as most anyone had at the time.
I consider myself so fortunate to have come across these little family history gems! They are just full of pictures of my grandfather as a child, my great grand parents, my great grand aunt (or whatever your great grandmother’s sister is to you. I guess I should look that up to be sure.) Oh, there are lots of pictures, and those are the people I recognize from other photos I have seen. Some of them were taken at the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. They are pictures of people going places and doing things! They include awesome old fashioned clothing and really cool old cars, World War I uniforms, and guns!
I am so excited to know that you had a rooster or a turkey who appears to be molting rather badly! I am thrilled to know that his name was Handsome Harry. It might interest you, Grandma, to know that I also had a rooster, when I was a child, that I named Handsome. The memory of the day my parents slaughtered the roosters (because we didn’t need to have so many when we were really raising chickens for the eggs) is still one of total trauma. I appreciate that you may have had much the same experience, but, come on Grandma, don’t you think you could have written something about the other pictures in this album? There are a lot of people pictures here! I know the picture, on the top left, is one of your brothers in his World War I uniform. You had 3 brothers in WWI. I think I can figure out who this is from other photos, maybe. I’ll assume the woman is his wife. Thanks Grandma! I don’t mean to seem disrespectful and I can certainly see some humor in this situation. I’m sure you never thought that your great grand daughter would look at these pictures, almost 100 years after the fact, and have questions that no one can answer. Maybe you intended to go back and label them someday and that day just never came.
Isn’t it crazy how some people, when they post things on the internet, seem to think they can speak to their dead? I see it on Facebook all the time. Posting is like writing to an invisible audience. I guess that because the internet reaches so many people we can’t and will probably never see, we like to think, hope, and believe that maybe those who have gone before can see it too. Who knows, maybe they can!
Yes, there is a lesson to be learned in this, for all you family history buffs and scrap-booking addicts out there. It is the same thing we’ve all been told time and time again. Label those pictures and journal something about the occasion. Even if only for yourself, before you forget. We all think we never will forget and even if we don’t, one day, we too, will be gone from this world and it may be our own great grand daughter wondering who those pictures are.
STRANGERS IN A BOX
Come, look with me inside this drawer, in this box I’ve often seen,
At the pictures, black and white, faces proud, still, and serene.
I wish I knew the people, these strangers in the box.
Their names and all their memories, are lost among my socks.
I wonder what their lives were like. How did they spend their days?
What about their special times? I’ll never know their ways.
If only someone had taken time to tell, who, what, where, and when,
These faces of my heritage would come to life again.
Could this become the fate of the pictures we take today?
The faces and the memories, someday to be passed away?
Take time to save your stories, seize the opportunity when it knocks,
Or someday you and yours,
Could be strangers in the box.
Left: My great grandmother, Laura Cathryn Gann, Keigley, Born: 18 May 1874 at Wamego, Pottowatomie, Kansas, Married: Ora Elijah Keigley on 18 March 1896 in Wabaunsee County Kansas. Died: 28 Sept. 1962 in Denver, Colorado. Ora Elijah Keigley was born 28 Dec. 1872 in Sarcoxie, Jasper County, Missouri and died 05 March 1936 in Englewood, Colorado. Right: unknown, possibly one of Laura’s sisters, maybe? The boy in the center is my grandfather, Lloyd Denzil Keigley, Born: 24 Sept. 1906 in Joplin, Missouri and died: 05July 1937 in La Junta, Colorado. I think the photograph was taken around 1911.
Yes, the woman on the left is responsible for the aforementioned photo albums. If you recognize these people, or you believe your family line links to them, through one of their siblings, Please leave me a comment. We should talk!