Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Orphan Photos

I have become the unofficial archivist for all the childless people of the world. I love old photos and can't bear to think they will be tossed in the dustbin because no one is left to care....about the people, their lives, or the photos themselves.

In addition to Uncle Tony's album, I put together an album for Mom's aunt in California who had one son who died within six months of her. He never married or had children. I inherited their life histories in photos because no one else wanted them.

I also made albums for two of Mom's distant half-cousins who were sisters. One sister married but had no children. The other married and had a son, but he never married or had children. I found him living in the next town over about two years ago. I called him out of the blue to ask about some information in his maternal grandfather's obituary.

When he found out who I was and why I was asking, he said, "I'm an old man dying of cancer. I have a huge box of photos from Mom's side of the family. I have no children and the closet relative is a cousin from my dad's side. Nobody will care about these when I'm gone. Would you like to have them?" I nearly pulled a muscle getting out the front door.

So, for a while at least, the photos and the people in them will be honored. However I have no children. Who on earth will want my hoard of orphaned photos when I'm gone???


john.p said...

Old photos are neat. My mom is really into genealogy and has a collection of photos, too. I find it sad when the photos have no writing on them and the identity and life stories are lost forever. For your photos you need the equivalent of a Presidential Library of your own.

Speck said...

I have about 200 beautifully preserved photos circa 1900-1910 from my dad's side of the family. Not a one has a name, date, or location. I've been able to guess at a few and have identified the people in about six of them using other people's photos for comparision. The rest are going to be left to the sands of time. It's a shame.