Tuesday, December 27, 2016
A Lost Christmas Greeting
Inspired by a blogging friend who rescues "orphan" photos from antique stores in a quest to reunite them with current-day family members, my eyes were opened to the possibilities waiting to be found in the back bins of such local outlets near my home. One day, I went wandering. Admittedly, I had visions of finding lots of cartes de visite, exquisitely labeled with full names, dates and locations, making the genealogical sleuth's job effortless.
All I found was a cabinet card of a mustachioed dude from Kansas. And this Christmas album.
Apparently a Christmas gift, it did include names and vague references to locations. And it definitely included a date: Christmas of 1936.
Such a small volume it was: only five inches tall, and just under eight inches wide. Each page was just large enough to include only one—or sometimes two—photographs. What made it charming was the commentary added alongside each picture. The white-inked monologue told just enough of the family's story to draw me in—yet not enough to allow me to figure out just who these people were.
The book offered a tantalizing proposition. I, a total stranger to these people, could buy the album and follow the hints to piece together a picture of just who these people might have been. With that simple act, I became the new owner of a 1936 Christmas greeting album sent from Harry and Alice to an unknown someone whose eventual estate sale in northern California landed the lost message in my hands. And there began the process of determining just who Harry and Alice—and their accompanying family and friends—might have been.