Over the years I have amassed a huge box of old black and white photos.
I have family scrapbooks
photos I've bought at antique shops
those I've found at estate sales
many that have apparently just attached themselves to me
in some magnetic and random fashion.
I love history and fashion
studying the way people lived a hundred or more years ago,
where did all these photos come from?
I have primarily photos of women and children.
There are hard faced, tough, prairie women
sweet, hopeful brides
careworn, weary mothers with eight or ten children gathered round them.
I have gun slinging gals
sets of sisters with starched pinafores.
There are curls
that some momma rolled up in rags the night before
and fussed over for hours
while a patient papa blacked his boots
and slicked down his hair, wishing his stiff collar was not choking him.
I've got a truckload of straight laced, prim and proper matrons,
posed in formal studio settings
with several generations of progeny staring somberly at the camera.
They wear their best clothing, tight, starched and uncomfortable.
There are families who've included their strutting chickens, huge hogs and favorite horse
in their photo
presumably to impress or reassure kinfolk back east that they had made it out west and were prospering just fine on the prairie.
There are women mountain climbing
a woman posing with her prize mule.
I'm not quite sure how I came by all these,
what I want to do with them,
I can't get rid of them.
There's something so poignant and appealing
about the history these photos hint at
I'm holding onto them
just for the pleasure
they might tell!