Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Starr Lineage


Family Album 1880s

Pictures were hard to come by

Back in the 1800s.

The first of those were tintypes.

Each was one of a kind.


Usually if you lived long enough

You might inherit your own likeness

as an infant; yourself already fading,

your mirror image sagging,

like memories of

your departed relatives.


Many rare pictures were kept by

their children, and

If someone died young, God knows

who got the photographs.

My mother had a baby picture

of Ethel, but not of her own mother.


You imagine your own collected

Heirlooms will be inherited by

your children’s children, but more

often than not they go to strangers.

A painting by my grandmother Ruth

is owned by Esther’s


I have few photographs of

my great grandparents ancestors;

Starrs or Bowers

before they were forty or beyond.


Pictures of their early homes were

taken as an afterthought

decades after moving away.


Any images I have of them

were taken by my mother

or Aunt Lillian, herself childless,

who ironically became

self-appointed family historian.

She wanted us all to remember.


After she died,

Lillian’s nephew Alfred auctioned

off her hand made rugs; and

sold her collection of old photos

to a stranger for the monetary

division of her estate, instead of

distributing her legacy

of family heritage among her heirs.



Writing is the Copyright of Ruth Zachary

No comments:

Post a Comment