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