Monday, August 9, 2010

Beyond the Lens

Beneath the black cloth, he looked through the lens at the sullen children, the student body of School No. 1 Franklin Twp. Red River, Ohio. Seemingly only a class picture. In reality, a glimpse into the way of life of a girl who would be my mother on Neff Road.

As with all old pictures, I quickly looked for the one who was my mom. All of the students are numbered and names written on the back of the picture. I could have found her regardless of the numbers. She is number 16 front and center.

Next I tried to place the location of the school. I think it was next to the church, but am not sure. Maybe one of my readers will know. I do know that the teacher was Pearl Van Tilburgh (per the back of the picture). Local family members and relatives attended the school. Last names: Lavey, Fifer, Seibel, Young, Warner, Ellman, Medlam, Johnson, Powell. Nineteen children and nine last names.

Looking even further I discovered more history of this rural community. Mom came from a fairly comfortable family. She wore a pretty dress and nice high top shoes. Few other children had shoes. Clothes were passed down, shoes outgrown, the boys in work overalls. I love how #10, Chalmer Warner has a tie. Yes, it is a glimpse of my family history.

We all have pictures of people we know and many we don't that have been passed down from one generation to the next. These pictures are filled with bits and pieces of the past. I plan to spend more time looking at these pictures, the locations, the clothing, the bits and pieces that allow the past to live.

I would love to know what you find in these pictures of your past. I know you will be delighted and surprised. What will our children some day in our pictures?

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