The Past is Always with Us…but sometimes it needs a bit of help. And I’m here to tell you that I did just that – helped the past. Not my past, but someone else’s. And so to tell the tale:
One of my father’s favorite pastimes was to haunt antique shops. Some of them were junk shops, but we’ll stick to his terminology. He would bring home various and sundry items, some of them exquisite and valuable, and some he just felt he had to rescue.
And the item in my story, I think, is a rescue – an old photograph album, covered in velvet, now faded and disintegrating, complete with formal portraitures, the subjects all most decorously posed. The name of the photography studio always identified; not so, however, were those whose stern, serious faces stared out at us.
A mystery, and one that sat, tucked away, from more than eighty years. From that Baltimore house, long sold, to an attic in Charlotte, North Carolina. And then, it was time. Time for the Past no longer to be the Past.
Not one photograph was identified, but there were two memorial cards, one in English, the other in German, that had a name, a birthplace, and a birth date. Not much, but a start. A cursory nod to Ancestry.com produced some results, but none that were followed up on.
And then, The Past really showed that it did not want to remain Past. Posts to a few Facebook sites, Baltimore area historical, Maryland Genealogy, and the like. Well, I thought, it is worth a shot, though my expectations were low. And lo, within minutes, a descendent had been located. By day’s end, we had established contact; the next day, the album, properly bubble-wrapped, was on its way to a family researcher who will to share the bounty with descendants interested in such remembrances.
What a journey for this book. And the mystery remains – how it came to be in my father’s possession; how he got it; how it sat, then boxed and moved, countless times, finally ending up in the attic of his granddaughter. And now in a new home, connected, fragmentarily, through generations.
Unnamed pictures, unnamed people whose lives we will never know. But for now, the album, and they, have a home.