Wednesday, October 12, 2011
I did a lot of digging around in old things when I was in Pulaski at the end of the summer, and there are a number of unsolved mysteries I have yet to unravel. One particularly fertile place for excavations is in Great Great Uncle Richard's trunk, which serves most of the time as a tablecloth draping stand in the back room at the Brick House. It's full of all the special things he saved from his time out in Leadville, Colorado designing mining works and making friends.
I realized, as I was sneezing through the mildew and the dust and the remains of century-old weevils, that what I really wanted were not the facts. I want to get past the facts to the juicy stories, the ones that don't make it into family bibles and the letters home. Who, for instance, is this person, whose woolen long-john clad likeness shows up in the photo archive in the top tray of the trunk (just inches away, I might add, from all the photos of his dear old sis back home in Pulaski)?
Those fancy ladies out in Leadville, Colorado were a frisky lot, posing in their underwear -- but you have to admit, it is cold out there. A lady can't be too careful of her health.
I am also hot on the trail of this raven-haired beauty:
Her face shows up on several warped pieces of cardstock in the collection, and her signature appears on the bottom of a heartsick letter, written after a weekend rendez-vous that had to come to an end.
Is this the same person, in a later photo?
The interesting part of the story is the part that gets erased (as when Great Grandma Mahaffy burned the half-literate letters that went with the photos at the top of this post "Deer Hart, Wen yew gonna come and see mee?"), or the part that was never committed to writing in the first place. Communicating with the other side takes a little imagination.