© 2020  Bill Murphy

The attached photograph was taken in the mid to late 1940s.  It was taken in my backyard on Evergreen, probably by my mother.  That’s me on the left: my cousin Terry Padgett in the center (about 3 years younger): and my cousin Pat Fairchild on the right (2 years older than me.)  I use this photo as an example to illustrate the following story.

This past Tuesday I made a mistake, and drove to my writer’s club meeting at 1:30, instead of the correct time of 6:30.  Oops!  So I decided to make the best of an ‘bad’ situation, and stopped by one of my nearby favorite local junk-tique stores. 

Once again, I didn’t find anything that I couldn’t live without, but I did walk and scan every aisle upstairs and down.  Just before leaving the store, I saw a small book on a table, a book that someone obviously, could live without.  The book measured about eight by twelve inches, and no more than a half inch thick.  PHOTOS in gold type was printed on the cover.  I couldn’t help but pick it up.

I looked at every page.

This was a photo album, a photographic record in black and white, of the warm and colorful life of a typical 1940s family.  Dress styles, hair styles, and automobiles gave away the dates of the photos.  I have no less than five similar albums among my family’s treasures.  And now this solitary book of family memories lay in a stranger’s hands, courtesy (or curse) of someone who could live without it.  It brought tears to my eyes.  I felt as though I was holding a sacred object, offered up as a sacrifice, on a sacrilegious altar. 

I came close to purchasing it, as if that purchase could/would right a wrong, and somehow restore this one-time treasure to it’s former valued status.  But as they say, life is life, what is, is… and nothing that I could do would bring joy, happiness, meaning and value back onto those smiling faces in the photographs.

Instead, I said a silent prayer for them, and walked away… as did the one who allowed this treasure to leave their hands.    

Call me a sentimental old fool… and I’ll answer.


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