I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.

Who Are These People?

It’s a small regret, not a turning point, and yet it bothers me.

Why didn’t anyone — me, for instance — sit down with my mother and identify the people in this album?

My father showed me the album one day this summer. “This is over a hundred years old,” he said, extending to me the small book with a floppy leather cover.  It was neatly tied on one side with what looks like raffia.  Did they have that back then?

I took it and began gently turning its pages. “Who are these people?” I asked my Dad.

“I’m not sure,” he said. “I think they’re your mother’s grandparents.”

Yes, one woman bore a striking resemblance to my aunt, but I knew it wasn’t her because of the dates in the album.

“I asked your mother if she could identify any of the people, but she couldn’t,” he continued.

Of course she couldn’t. She has Alzheimer’s. She doesn’t know my name, and hasn’t for over a year. My father, however, is either in denial about the whole thing or one of the most optimistic people ever.  He continues to ask her opinion of things, or for her to identify things, or simply for back-and-forth conversation that makes sense.  She is able to do none of these.

I had forgotten about the album until Deirdre brought it home last week.

“This is so cool!” she said excitedly. “It’s over a hundred years old!”

My father had sent it with her for me to scan and enlarge some of the pictures which I was happy to do.

Still, the question remains, who are these people?  There is no one left to identify them, though.

That I regret.


The first of many photos in a little handmade album.


Thanks to the Daily Prompt: Regrets, I’ve Had a Few


18 comments on “Who Are These People?

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  2. catterel
    September 6, 2013

    Oh such a shame. I also have some 19th century photos, and fortunately had the foresight to ask who the people are. My mother is currently going through old letter, cards and photos and telling me stories associated with them – I have to get it all written down, as when she’s gone nobody else will know who the peole and places are and what their significance is.

    • sarahlangdon
      September 6, 2013

      Yes, I wish I had done that too. I did go through scrapbooks with my father once and recorded everything he said. He had great stories to tell about his childhood in addition to identifying peopl.

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  17. Andy
    October 3, 2013

    I have loads of old family photographs. Some are identified, but others…..
    Why didn’t they write the names on the back?! Great photographs, but would be so much better if I could place them in the context of real lives.

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This entry was posted on September 6, 2013 by in Family conversation and tagged , , , , , , .

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