Favorite Finds: Ephemera.

Old photos are huge in our family. A discovered stash of long-forgotten snapshots is cause of huge celebration in our family, and we’ll spend hours poring over them, trying to identify every last person in each photo. We ooh and ah over the hints of the past each photos gives us — the wallpaper that used to be in the back bedroom of my Granny’s house, a dress my mom wore in 8th grade that she helped sew, a wooden toy that my grandpa made and gave to my aunts and uncles one Christmas, fifty years ago. All of these precious details would be lost were it not for the pictures, so they’re a valuable currency in my family.

Which is why it amazes me when I find fascinating family photos at thrift stores, estate sales, or yard sales. Who is getting rid of these, and why? I can’t help but rescue them.

Which is how I ended up with drawers full of other people’s family photos. I’ve scanned in some of my favorites to share with you.

This is Jack, Junie, and Joan, according to the back of the photos. Don’t you love Joan’s hair? Aren’t they all beautiful?

This is Bunny. Never trust a woman named Bunny. From the back of the photo: “Junie’s intended. Didn’t work out as she ran off and married a cowboy at her parent’s ranch — HF Bar.” Poor Junie. I hope he got over it quickly. She’s beautiful, but shallow. I’ll bet he found someone so much better.

This is from a series of three photos I have of these two little girls. I love them beyond reason. And what I wouldn’t give for the little tea set and tea cart. Have you ever seen anything so adorable?

So I’m curious about this one. Suddenly, they’re not using their little perfect table and chair set, and they’re in front of something that looks distinctly shack-like. Is that a play house, do you think? Where did the tea cart go? And is the little girl dressed up like a little boy to play house, or is that just what her outfit looked like? Check out the use of mom’s good crystal on the table. And the dog’s attention to the camera. I love these pictures so much.

This is Marjorie’s birthday party. I worry for the poor girl forced to stand outside the arm-clench of friendship, behind the front row. Damn those extra three inches of hers. I’ll be she had to stand in the back row of everything all through high school.

I’ve got this 5th grade picture from Walsh School and this 4th grade one of the same class:

The front row is almost the same group of boys — check out the two scamps on the far left. You can tell they were a handful. I have a habit of picking out people I worry about in these photos — like Little Ms. Taller-than-everyone-else at Marjorie’s birthday party. In this photo it’s the kid sitting second from the right. He looks so unhappy and see how the boys on either side of him are kind of leaning away from him? I’m afraid he was a poor boy who couldn’t shower every day or wash his clothes on a regular basis and everyone made fun of the way he smells. There’s something so resigned about his expression. Is that him in the far left of the 5th grade photo? Because if it is, he looks a whole lot happier. Let’s decide that it is.

Apparently there is a jail somewhere that takes children. Someone, please direct me to where this is. I have two regular offenders who could use some court-supervised time outs.

MHS Football Team, 1919. That’s right, boys, don’t crack a smile — intimidate the other teams from the yearbook.

This should have gone in my photobooth post but I had it mis-filed in the drawer. Do you think that’s his girlfriend, or his mom? She looks so much older than he is!

I think these photos would be so awesome to use in a writing class — you get a photo and write a story about the people in it. They really just make me feel so creative just looking at them.

March 1, 2012 - 10:17 pm

Katie LOVE THIS BLOG – just found it from the twin blog – there is an antique “shop” (really just a super old school house FILLED with the most amazing things,) that has album after album of photos – I will just sit there and flip through them (it’s what I do to stop myself from buying those pin-on hats – $40 each!)

March 4, 2012 - 8:38 am

Lara Jo Don’t think I didn’t notice how you cleverly left the name of this awesome antique mall out of your comment. SPILL! Sounds awesome.

June 14, 2012 - 3:09 pm

Shelley I am the SAME way! It always breaks my heart to find old family photos at estate/yard sales! I can’t imagine how there is no one who wants them! I love this post, those are some great photos!

June 15, 2012 - 7:33 am

Lara Jo Hey, thanks! And thanks for checking out the blog. The Junie pictures, in particular, get me…so much of a story told in two snapshots and a sentence written on the back of one of them.