I have two primary folders. One for my paternal relations. One for my maternal relations. I’m actually pretty lucky that I don’t have any cross-overs. Yet. I haven’t touched either folder set in a long time. Last night, I found my maternal side folder and went flipping through the pictures. What I saw in one picture had me laughing. Wait until you see this.
I have a lot of old pictures with faces and no names. The usual problem. There’s one that I found in a stash of pictures that had been there for so long, no one alive knew who any of them were. To anyone’s guess, the only thing that could be surmised is that the picture is 1905-1930 and was taken in West Virginia.
I’ve looked at this picture maybe a dozen times or more. After much deliberation, it was determined that there was 1 man in the whole group who could be identified. My great-grandfather, Marshall Waitman Drake of Roane County, West Virginia.
It took some time, but that was all we could do. That is, until last night. As I was looking at the picture, once again wondering who the other men were, something caught my eye.
One of the things I do is identify pictures of unknown people, places, and things. I look at everything. Clothes. Hats. Shoes. Surroundings. The details tell the story. Sometimes there are a lot of details to pick through. Sometimes there isn’t. In all the times I’ve looked at this picture, and always in passing, I’ve never really studied it. I know what my great-grandfather’s brothers look like, so I’m sure its none of them. But there, among the rocks, was something. An object. Hope began to rise within me. Thoughts fluttered about in excitement. Could it be? Is this a name plate I see? Does it say who and when? What mine? Oh, what does it say!
In a flash of time the picture was front and center on my monitor. I zoomed in on the point of interest. Because I was using my older, and still reliable, XP, I had to wait in-between each draw. Was this 1200dpi scan worth it? Could I solve the mystery of who these men were?
With each redraw, I patiently sit and wait. Seconds tick away into a minute. Then another minute. Do you know how many thoughts you can have in a minute?
Finally, the picture comes into clear view. I can read the words!
(scroll down for the reveal!)
I always knew those old-timers had a sense of humor.
They got me. They got me real good.