Do you ever wonder what the people in your old family photos were like? The people you never met, but they grace your family tree somewhere way back early in the 20th century or late 19th century.

I do! I am interested in what made my grandparents, great grandparents and their siblings tick. What were their personalities like? Who did they love? What talents did they have? What kind of furniture did they like? What were their favorite foods? What clothes did they like to wear?

Who were these people tucked away in my family album? I guess I will never know who they really were. Some I know by name, others not, some I met when I was a very little girl. There is no one left to tell me their stories. Even if I could find out all the technical things about them, I will never know their personal stories.

As much as I think it sad that I will never know who they were as individuals, it is intriguing to wonder about them. To look into their eyes pondering their hidden personalities and quirks, brings me closer to them and keeps me from them at the same time. Touching the photographs, knowing that they would have held them is a link from now to the past but a very weak link at best. I wonder what they thought when they admired their photos? Did they like the way they looked, did they even think about that sort of thing? I believe they would have had thoughts on that subject, being human we all either love or hate what we look like in our captured images.

I enjoy looking at their clothing, the styles they chose to wear for the photographs are indicative of the era the images were taken in. The photographs I have included are of both sides of my family. The large wedding photo is of my Uncle and Aunt’s wedding with their respective families. The room the photo is taken in was the study in my paternal grandparent’s home. I spent time in that room when I was very young and that makes this picture all the more special. I never met my grandfather but have fond,vague memories of my grandmother. I love my Aunt’s wedding dress, this would have to be my favorite photo of all the old ones I have.

The second wedding photo is of my Mother’s parents, neither of which I’ve met.
They were an interesting couple, my mum told me a little about them and their wedding finery did not match their station in life. By that I mean they were share farmers and poor. Looking at their apparel would not give any indication to the viewer about that fact of their life.

That brings me right back to my first thoughts, who are these people really? My imagination takes flight when I look at them and I think of the many stories that could be written, just by imagining what their personalities and lives were like. These people have become the faces of characters playing on the stage of life. They loved, fought, raised children, watched them live their lives, died and their stories are gone forever. The perpetual cycle of Life! This could be morbid. I hope not, I hope it adds inspiration for another way of weaving stories about love and life.

3 thoughts on “Old Photographs and Possibilities…

  1. Unhinged says:

    Oh, no-no. This topic is not morbid at all, Eaton! Bite your tongue.

    The old photos and the little-known stories/memories of the people in them are fascinating. Endlessly so, in fact. I have SUCH dreams about my mom and her high school classmates–I loved, just loved, looking through her year books. I poured over everything slowly, my writer’s imagination in hyper drive.

    Inspiration is where ever we can grasp it. These beautiful old photos are wonderful, wonderful possibilities…

  2. Gwen says:

    “These people have become the faces of characters playing on the stage of life. They loved, fought, raised children, watched them live their lives, died and their stories are gone forever.”

    What a great idea for a post, and powerful words, Byz – you’re so right. I used to love to listen to re-tellings of people generations back, and it’s funny how you can always find something to connect to.

    I love this, and will have to go through old family albums looking through a new lense now – that of the storyteller.

    Thanks!

  3. Evey Brown says:

    I agree with Gwen, “they loved, fought, raised children, watched them live their lives, died and their stories are gone forever.”
    is a powerful and beautiful passage. Lovingly written.

    And unhinged is correct, inspiration is where ever we can grasp it.

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