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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Sorting through the past

navy_two_guys_having_fun_s.jpg I'm now going through a box of photographs that obviously came from my dad's side of the family.

So many questions come to mind. Not the least of which is, who are these people? No answers. Well, except for fading memories of fragments of conversations overheard many, many years ago. Hey, I had to glean what I could, when I could, because the standard answer whenever I asked a question was basically, it's none of your business. Yeah, right. Like that's going to shut me up.

Okay, backing up to the box. It's a wooden box with brass details. It looks like cedar and smells like cedar. So, I'm calling it cedar. It's about a foot long, six inches high, eight inches wide. Inside the lid is a mirror framed by red velvet. The glue meant to hold the mirror and velvet in place has long since dried to the point of becoming useless. I can't find any indication of a manufacturer in, on, or under the box. Who made it?

navy_upset_about_something_s.jpg I would guess there to be close to a thousand photographs. Maybe more. The box holds mostly snapshots, many of which were developed as postcards. There are a few professional portraits in old time flip-open style stiff board frames. All the pictures are black and white.

Also in the box are a few little envelopes with black corners ready to be pasted into a scrapbook. There's an old scrapbook somewhere, but as yet its whereabouts remain a mystery.

One particularly morbid oddity from the box is a small envelope containing several brilliant red feathers. Careful not to let the feathers spill out, I've only glanced inside the envelope. Without anyone to ask, I'm left wondering, did someone actually sit down and pluck the feathers from a cardinal? Geez.

Okay, moving along. Very few of the photos have any writing on the backs.

navy_sunny_guy_in_skivvies_s.jpg There are a bunch of snapshots of Navy men in San Diego from the early 30's. I know this only because the guys in the photos look like they're in the Navy. And, each of those photos is stamped on the back with, "Made Only By - Bunnell Photo Shop, 1033 Sixth Street, San Diego, - Will Not Fade." Also, on the back of each photo is the trademark for "framedge," and a date, for a very nice touch. Most of the dates are from March, 1931.

My dad had two older brothers, one of which was in the Navy. Let's see, that brother was born in July 1912, so he would have been 18 going on 19 by March 1931. That sounds about right. Oh, jumping ahead a little. He died in January 1935. The story I have goes... He was a medic in he Navy and while overseas he contracted a disease and when he got home they put him in a sanitarium where he lived the rest of his days.

He was 22-1/2 when he died. My dad had just turned nine.

Again, so many questions come to mind. Yes, I could probably go down to the county building and pull his death certificate if I really wanted to know which "disease" he had. But, what fun would that be.

I don't know any of the guys in these photos. But, I do know none of them are my dad's brother. They had to be his Navy pals. (I wonder if that second guy is wishing he joined the Army.)

Posted by Marie at July 15, 2006 2:52 PM