Sunday, March 16, 2008

Faces From the Past

In the photo above, the baby is six months old, Louise Celine is 4 years old, Norman is 7, and Otto is 9. "Mother's" age is not given, but what I'm wondering is how on earth her neck supports that hat?

These are not my relatives. In fact, I have no idea who they are. But a few years ago, I entered Lloyd Zimmer's book store and came out with a large box of photos. Every now and then, I go through them. I began sorting some last night for a project and wanted to share some with you. The photos of children are my favorites and here's just a sampling. The identity of most of them is unknown to me, but some of the dates are there. The little girl on her pony, left, was taken in 1912.

I don't know the year of the little boy and his dog, below, but on the back is written, "Mickey Jensen and Frosty, age 8." I'm assuming it was Mickey who was age 8 and not Frosty.

When I was 9, our first house burned down. Gone were our baby pictures and Mama went to relatives to copy or replace them. When I was 17, our second home burned (the houses burned for totally unrelated reasons. ) We had gone to the coast to church, a five hour drive. I remember stopping at my sister's bedroom to turn off the light and noticing the triple photo frame on her dresser with a picture of me, one of her, and one of my brother. "I'd like to take that with me," I thought. "How silly!" was my next thought and I turned off the light and left.

There is no name nor a date on the mother lovingly holding the baby, below, but I think this is such a lovely, iconic picture. The emotion flows from her and touches even today, decades later.

Whenever I go to an auction or an antique shop and see old family photos I want to bring them home. The fact that they have been cast aside is so sad to me.

It's silly, I know. I just can't help it.

(Visit Lloyd Zimmer's Books and Maps at 117 SW 6th Street here in Topeka or online at )


Si's blog said...

Know how you feel. We have cruise boxes full of photos that need to be processed. Worry about what would happen if the Atlanta tornado came through or the house burned. Isabel came a couple of years ago. Backed up all my computer pictures and took the disks when we evacuated. The house stood fine. But Isabel made her point.

Some time cruise by ET's blog ( and look at a bunch of the older posts. He must have a wealth of great old pictures and post cards.

Deb Goodrich said...

When our house(s) burned, people commented over and over that "it was just stuff." We were fortunate no one was hurt, but "stuff," especially photos, gives our live meaning and context. A quilt my Granny and I made together, the cradle made by Granny's brother that every child and grandchild used, a rocking chair that Mama's sister had her photo made in shortly before she died--these things cannot be replaced and their loss leaves a void in your heart. Listen to Isabel.