In my earlier posts, as well as in a couple of recent articles for Oakland Township Patch, I mentioned how heartbreaking it is to find old photos piled in a basket on the counter of an antique store. Well, I stumbled upon that very thing this week at an antique store called Found Things in downtown Paw Paw, Michigan.
I flipped through a few in one basket. Lots of wedding pictures, a well-dressed older lady with quite a hat on her head, and a couple of images showing a young woman posing in a garden and wearing an extravagant and unusual outfit. A graduation perhaps?
There was a photo of a sailor looking forlorn and scared, three images of a woman with the tiniest of waists (cinched tight no doubt) with a Gibson girl hairdo and so much jewelry it would make a collector swoon, and a couple of photos of men with macho mustaches and hair slicked back with the latest in hair pomade.
The photos of kids, however, always throw me. Elegantly dressed babies with stares that seem to go right through me, frowning little girls with huge bows in their hair, and little boys in knickers who seem to want to be anywhere else but in a stuffy photography studio.
How do these get here? Like diaries and journals, photos are taken for a reason -- to remember. These memories for sale often tell their own stories -- like the one I saw taken in 1940 of a guy leaning against a car. The inscription on the back mentioned that it was "our new car" and "isn't she a dilly?"
A couple of other customers commented on how sad it was to see these old photos -- lost souls, one lady called them. She mentioned to her friend that the photos should be posted to a web site called "Dead Fred." Have you visited this site? It's a free searchable family history online photo archive. Type in a surname or state (you can even search by year and photographer name) and see what pops up. You might find a long lost relative.
I included a photo (blurry cell phone photo) of the "lost souls" in a basket. More to come!