Sometimes it takes years to begin to sift through the treasure saved by a loved one. My grandfather was the final living grandparent. We lost him more than a dozen years ago but it wasn’t until early this year that my mother sorted through the photos and ephemera he collected in two Dutch Masters Special Blunts boxes.
She was hoping to find another, similar photo of a beloved photo of my great-grandmother Daisy standing next to a classic Cadillac that had become faded and washed out from too many days on the shelf in the bright Arizona sun. Could we find one in these boxes? What else would we find?
The boxes held all the photos and documents my grandparents thought were special but didn’t make it into an album or scrapbook. The pictures spanned their lifetimes from my grandfather at Rockaway Beach, New York as a teenager to them as a retired couple relaxing in Delray Beach, Florida. I found a grocery list handwritten by my grandmother and my grandfather’s Selective Service card from 1945.
Some of best photos are of them as a young couple with wide smiles and tailored clothes. They met at a tuberculosis sanatorium where my grandfather was a patient and my grandmother was a seamstress. It was several years before he was released and they could get married. Many of these photos come from that period of their lives.
We found a couple more photos of Daisy posing with her boss’ car and Mom was reminded of stories about friends and cousins as we sorted. She was able to identify many of the faces appearing in the photos and gave me a better idea of when they might have been taken. When we were finished I packed the photos up carefully in my carry-on bag and we made a plan to scan the photos and ephemera.