How far-flung we as a people have become, that our lives today are so removed from that of our ancestors, not only in time, but in place.
How precious it would be to regain what archivist blogger Melissa Mannon calls “a sense of place.”
It was interesting capturing the vignettes of Florida visits of my maternal grandparents and their family, found among my aunt’s belongings last month.
There is my grandfather, in some February, 1949, photographs—though now in his fifties, looking as athletic as ever—spending time at the original McClellan property of his wife’s ancestors. The farm is now abandoned, and I believe it is no longer owned by anyone in the family, but these pictures capture a bit about what the place once was.
My mother used to remember the farm hands getting up impossibly early (well, in the eyes of an urban dweller of the twenty-first century) to fish for their breakfast in the lake—a lake, once entirely surrounded by the McClellan property, which now actually bears the former owner’s name.
By 1949, my grandfather could take a row boat out there, on that lake, just as the farm hands had done for probably the last one hundred years.
Now, however, though the place is still there and the name recalls the memories, it is a place long abandoned by those who once benefitted from its bounty.