I found another picture. And I changed my mind. I don’t think it’s a picture of a mother; I think she’s a grandmother.
Remember the mystery family whose photograph I found the other day? The one with the label on the back—helpfully listing each child’s name and age…but never mentioning their surname?
I need to revisit that photo. And compare it with another one.
On the photo I posted on Sunday, I mentioned that the names listed were for siblings Peggy, Ricky and Brad. Naturally, I had presumed that the two adults in the picture with these children were their own parents.
Now that I look back on that scene, it has me wondering. Would the dad of a seven year old have such a pronounced receding hairline? Granted, I went to college with a guy who started going bald when he was nineteen, but I think that’s unusual.
And the woman? Maybe I’m letting the hairstyles of the fifties fool me into thinking this was just a young mom with an old-fashioned hairdo. Maybe the case really was one of a grandmother with a then-currently-fashionable fifties style.
Context is everything. If I’m looking at a 1950s photo, I need to approach viewing it with 1950s eyes.
Taking a look at her appearance in this individual portrait, I suddenly don’t think “young mom.” I start sliding towards “proud Grandma.” Of course, I don’t know the history of hair coloring (even though I’m old enough to remember the tag line “Only her hairdresser knows for sure"). Then again, this is a black and white photograph, so maybe even the photography can fill in the blanks when it comes to hair color.
I once again wonder who this woman is. Although the photographs I’ve received—all jumbled into one box—were actually from two families, I tend to feel that this one might have come from Bill Bean’s collection, rather than his sister Leona’s. My tendency is to think this might be a relation of Bill’s first wife, Ellen—whom I’ve not yet introduced to you.
The difficulty in forging any link to Ellen’s family is that I know virtually nothing about her except her name, and what she looked like in family photos. I never met her. I don’t even know what her maiden name was. And I’m sure not having any luck finding such rudimentary facts in all the usual research places.
So Ellen will have to remain a mystery person, even though I’ll be posting some pictures that include her in the next few days.
And as long as Bill’s Ellen remains a mystery to me, this other woman—whether mom or grandma—will have to remain anonymous, too.
And you know how I just can’t abide mysteries…