Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Family History (or Lack of It)

Our sea shipment from France arrived ten days ago, 217 parcels worth.  And then last Friday, a truck pulled up with the stuff we'd put in storage four years ago including some quite practical items like our vacuum cleaner, lawn mower, and kitchen table.  All the clothes are in the drawers, the pots and pans put away, and books shelved but there are still stacks of pictures to be hung and a lot of odds and ends covering the dining room table and the basement floor, waiting for their fates to be determined.  The lion's share of these are family mementos, photos, papers, and sentimental treasures which hold great meaning to me but little value to anyone else. 

At some point, all of this stuff will become fodder for the recycling bin, that is, if they do not crumble into a thousand little brown and yellow bits beforehand.  Already, there are gaps in my knowledge about who's who and regrettably, almost all the people who could tell me the answers have passed away.

I know well who all the characters are in the photos above.  But this couple?

The photo came out of a box with memorabilia from my paternal grandmother's family but there's no indication as to who this duo might be.  The only markings on the back are the photographer's name and address.  And even that is a puzzle.  The photo was taken in Emmendingen in southern Germany although the rest of the relatives came from the north.   A lady with a far away look in her eyes, her husband (I'm guessing) who sports a half smirk -- their names and stories are forever lost to me.  And I guess that's how it's going to go for the rest of us.  Even so, I can't bear to part with them...just yet.


  1. I have photos like that from my grandparents - no name on the back, no idea who they were. But their photos have lived with all the others of those I do know, and they are now part of my history.

  2. These nameless people always make me think of Ann Sexton's "All My Pretty Ones".