Wednesday, June 1, 2011
A Haunting Picture
Michael and I went to auction on Friday night, and we won a small book of post cards, many of them from the turn of the last century and the early 1900s.
There are approximately five photograph post cards in the larger collection. Included among these are several humorous images of children and one of a doughboy in front of a painted screen intended to simulate a garden setting.
However, it was this one, the one above that leaves me a little speechless when I look at it. I'll be using a scanned enlargement of the couple in an assemblage like this one.
This one breathes history and has this amazing atompshere about it that I can't yet put into words. There are stories in those faces, in the ticking of the man's military coat, in the stiffness of the fabric in the woman's dress, in the wedding ring on the man's thin finger, in the glasses the woman holds nearly out of sight. Her eyes are so dark they seem to hold off questions. There's a whole world of clues, including who he is. See, it's all on the back.
But I wonder....is this woman his mother or his wife? It's hard for me to tell. The letter is addressed to his mother....he uses 'I', not 'we' to indicate a wife. Still, there's a proprietary nature about the way he sits, hugging the woman on the chair arm, his chin down, his head tipped towards her. And yet, there's a kind of maternal pride in the woman's posture, a "this is my son" gravity. Funny, too, is that it's addressed hastily, but not stamped. Perhaps it was in an envelope with another letter? Or maybe it was never sent at all. What is the real story? Would I be disappointed if I found out?