An old family album that was put together at least 100 years ago portrays my mother’s parents and grandparents in St. Albans, Vermont, when my mother was three or four years old. Most of the pictures are formal, even the ones where my grandmother was feeding the chickens. She wears a clean dress and her hair is neat and even the chickens seem to be polite and patient. With few exceptions the men all wear suits and everyone is poised and dignified, even when they are memorializing work on the farm!
I think this gentleman was my great grandfather, but I’m not sure. It seems that no one ever labeled the pictures because surely their names and history would be passed down through the family and would never be unknown. Sadly, though, many of their identities are uncertain and anyone who could name them is long gone. Because I am not sure who this man is, he may seem somewhat abstract, but I know he was very real.
Whoever he is, though, he is suited, groomed and dignified. Except that he is sitting on a child’s swing and might even be smiling, although it’s hard to tell what’s going on behind that beard! So my guess is that even in a black suit with a bushy, white beard, forever set in a black and white photograph, this gentleman was probably very colorful!
©Martha Hurwitz, 4/30/20