Sunday, July 7, 2013

History in My Hands


Faded image
frail piece of paper 
dreaming of
a long-gone day -
I'm holding
history 
in my hands

I'm scanning old photos this weekend, and came across this very fragile and worn photo of a horse and buggy that I suspect may be from the late 1800's. One can barely make out the wagon wheels, it is so worn. My maternal grandmother's father worked on laying tracks for  the first railroad to cross North America. Grandma said as a girl she could still walk along the rutted path the covered wagons had made across the land.

Then my great-grandparents worked  a homestead on the Prairie. On the back of this photo is written : "Load of birds to be shipped from homestead." I thought of the person who snapped the photo, of how hard life was in those times, but how simple and good. I thought of how my grandma cut an arresting figure, galloping her horse into town, and stopping with a flourish,   catching the eye of the new eligible young bank manager. "Who is that?" he asked, and our family saga began. "I was the first girl in the farm country who rode for pleasure," she would always say, with pride.

I was holding a piece of living history in my hands. It had traveled a very long way to reach me.

27 comments:

  1. It's nice to look at old photos and imagine or remember the lives of our recent ancestors. You come from an interesting and strong family background. No wonder you are you.

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  2. A fine story--photo, poem, and narrative together. Can you remember when you first heard the story and who told you?

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  3. smiles...do you remember the show dr. quinn, medicine woman? we are watching that again now as a family and talking to the boys about the challenges of early settlers and expansion-ers...what a cool bit of history to have and hold...of a life much different...

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  4. Sherry this is delightful how luck you are to have to this rich family history. I know to little about my grandparents despite my closesness to my grandmother.

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  5. Sherry, that is a treasure. Thank goodness you are preserving it digitally. It doesn't look like it will last all that long before it turns to dust. What a story that photo tells....and to think, in today's digital age, the future generations probably will not have such treasures. So little IS printed out.

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  6. Id love to have lived in that era. Where, like you said, things were simple and good. A great memory you shared here, and keep scanning all those photographs. It wont go rotten henceforth.

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  7. How cool was your Grandmother? What an amazing photo and what an amazing legacy! To describe it as history in your hands is just such a beautiful way.

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  8. What a treasure indeed Sherry ~ How lucky to have it on your hands and feel history pulse & come alive ~

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  9. It is wonderful to have this and know this about your Grandmother--a treasure indeed!

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  10. Great write, Sherry. To hold history in your hands . . . fading and yet still accessible.

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  11. What a gift to have a piece of your history.

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  12. This is so interesting, Sherry and truly history in your hands.

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  13. How very nice to make discoveries. If only there are still that many photos lying around! Thanks for sharing Sherry!

    Hank

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  14. I love this. I have been going through old photos of my dad, with my stepmom. It is painful; we both miss him so much.

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  15. Our ancestors did not have an easy run.It's good to be reminded of it sometimes.

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  16. I love looking at the old pictures.... have big books of them! Very nice!

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  17. Family history is a wonderful thing, Sherry. It tells us where we come from. If only we knew where we were going. :-)

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  18. Lovely expression of history mixed with nostalgia.
    Madeleine Begun Kane

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  19. The poem by itself has such an universal meaning, as photographs evoke memories and emotions. And your prose afterwards makes it personal and touching. Altogether lovely, Sherry :)

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  20. I periodically cull my files to look at old photos, they keep me in touch with who and where I come from. Your words touched off a lot of memories.

    Elizabeth
    http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/2013/07/06/evening-of-the-4th/

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  21. History in your hands, what a beautiful thought. Inspires me to scan some of mine. I recently found a sheaf of my mom's old night club ads, and that was so much fun, seeing her stage name, "Jan Long," in the paper!

    Wishing you luck and peace in your move... keep me posted! Love, Amy

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  22. My cousin who I haven't seen in over 30 yrs. sent me a photo of my grandparents when they were around 35, never saw any photos of them when they were young before. Looking into their faces, so many questions arise, so many stories I wish they could tell. Old photos are history we hold in our hands as your lovely poem describes. Wonderful write, Sherry.

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  23. I love, love old photos...thank you for sharing! I am always fascinated with the past! How fab is that photo, you shared!

    Yes, peace is coming to you bundled with salty air and the rhythm of the sea!

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  24. It is always such a nice feeling to go down the memory lane and remember the times you may not belong to but a part of you still feels as if lived.

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Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!