Mystery Photos


Many of the 100 year old photos I inherited from my grandmother do not identify the subjects. If I don’t know who they are, how would my offspring know? The fact they are unidentified indicates I descended from generations of procrastinators.

We have saved hundreds of photographs. As a rainy day project, we planned to go through the photos, identify the subjects and date them. Eons of rainy days later, we don’t remember the people and are clueless as to the year.

Reduced to estimating a timeline, we concluded if Sally was wearing braces, she was about twelve and that would be in 1989. She is wearing a jacket, mittens and a cap, so it must be winter.

We discovered some strange looking children that no one can identify. I am positive they don’t belong to me. A couple of them resemble “Children of the Corn” and most likely ended up in prison. Do I really want to keep those? On second thought, if they did hard time, the photos might have future value for someone. The subject could have been a budding Billy the Kid, whose future notoriety could create value. That is a bit mercenary, but I’m just saying………

Children of relatives are a touchy issue. Is it better to return photos to their original families for distribution? Or, would they be insulted to know you have zero interest in the photo of their two-year-old Buddy  perched on his potty seat reading a magazine? This type of rejection could create hurt feelings.

Photos of old sweethearts/ex-wives/husbands are especially dicey. If one suggests the recycle bin for these photos, someone is sure to complain. That causes one to ponder if there are concealed feelings for the former attachment. Incoming family members may feel they are second best or the offending photo would not remain in the family archives.

The unwanted photos are cast aside to guilt me with their rejection. There is only one obvious solution. I will wait for the trip down memory lane to subside. Armed with a good pinot grigio, I will creep to the patio and burn the photos in the barbeque. If discovered, I will plead de facto insanity due to intoxication.

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