Daily Archives: January 20, 2014

A Treasure And A Mystery

(For those of you with e-mail subscriptions to this blog, yes, I accidentally prematurely published this post yesterday. Sorry for the notification and the deleted post. Still wish WordPress had an “are you sure you’re ready to publish this post” step!)

Last week, during my visit with my cousin, Betty, she showed me this old family photo, and later e-mailed a scanned copy to me.


I had never seen this picture before. Unfortunately, there’s no information on the back as to who the subjects are. Betty and I stared at this for a long time during my visit and discussed many possibilities.

So I began an investigation. Many years ago, I was given a copy of our family history, which includes birth dates for my mom and her siblings. Based on that, here are my thoughts about the photo:

I really believe the girl on the left is my mom’s oldest sister, Mattie, the girl on the right is my mom, Donnie, and they’re holding their little brother, Thomas. If Thomas is three in this picture, it would have been taken in 1923. Mattie would have been 16, and my mom would have been 13.

Another possibility is that the little boy is my uncle Bennie. If he’s three in this picture, it would have been taken in 1924. Mattie would have been 17, and my mom would have been 14.

Or… it could be my uncle Stanley. If he were three, it would have been taken in 1925; Mattie would have been 18, and my mom, 15.

(Yes, my poor grandmother gave birth to fourteen children {two were stillborn} in just under 20 years.)

Of all these scenarios, I’m leaning toward the first one. I could be completely wrong though: the two girls look about the same size, not really like there’s three years’ difference in their ages. Sadly, my mom and all her siblings have passed on, as well as several of our older first cousins.  I’m not sure we’ll find anyone in the family who knows about this picture. But I’ve forwarded it to some cousins to get their opinions.

If I find that someone knows for sure, I’ll gladly pass that info along to my readers.

Meanwhile, this photo is haunting me. Not only to learn who’s in it, but just thinking about what they were doing moments before and after the picture was taken. Looking at their clothes, (the dog-eared socks) and knowing that the girl’s dresses were most certainly handmade, probably from feed sacks. For my mom and the little brother, they were most likely wearing hand-me-downs. Thinking of how rare it was (for our family) to have a photo taken at that time. Wondering if there were other photos taken then of the other children.The only question we can ever hope to have answered is who’s in the picture. So many questions!

If I’m correct about the date, our family would have been living at Bacon’s Castle (the homeplace in my header) at that time.

So, stay tuned; I hope I’ll soon have an answer.  And, in the meantime, please write info on the back of all your photos. If you have old family pictures, please ask your elders for information about them…before it’s too late.

And, thanks, Betty, for sharing this treasure with me.

~These Days Of Mine~