With a nod to those of you who can’t believe you are still here to read this today, I’d like to turn the clock back just a bit and revisit the holiday scene of one household over a half-century ago.
It’s not a household I’m familiar with, of course. It’s just a picture I found in an old box given to me by a relative of a relative of my deceased first husband. Talk about being removed from the pertinent details! Sometimes, I don’t know why people assume I can work magic with these mysteries, but they do. Because I love all things family, people tend to assume I also love nameless family I’ve never met—or, in some cases, even the friends of these people.
Why this little sweet photograph was saved, I’ll never know. It came from the belongings of my first husband’s grand-uncle, William Samuel Bean. Or perhaps from his sister’s belongs—you know, the Aunt Leona who always kept me guessing.
It was a photograph tucked in a box of photographs, kept among the piles of stuff sifted through after an elder’s passing, whoever it was. The imprint on the card was a traditional holiday greeting: “Season’s Greetings and best wishes for 1955.” Beneath, it was signed, “Love, Helen, Sid & Diana.”
I tried my best to find any traces of online records connecting these three names with a date near 1955. No luck. I’m presuming the photograph was taken for Christmas, 1954, and that the young subject might have been around three years of age.
Whether family member or friend of either Bill or his sister Leona, I’ll never know. Whoever that little girl was—and I’ll presume she was Diana—I hope she is now preparing for another happy holiday, in a home blessed with a sweet young daughter (or more likely granddaughter) looking much the same as she did in 1954.
Cards like this remind me of the desire to connect that is behind the drive to research family history. The pictures call to mind the people in our lives—and all the circumstances that surround them at that point in time—and how we seek to preserve those memories and those connections. In our efforts to pass these collected memories to the next generation, we find ourselves gazing at what we once were, then looking back to the present and realizing how much our sons and daughters—and grandsons and granddaughters—look like we did when we were three.