Do you have photos like these?
When I was young, my family was very fond of having large get-togethers where we all shared potluck meals and grilled hotdogs and hamburgers. I love a good potluck and I blame it on my upbringing. Where else will you get sweet and sour baked beans, onion casserole, and Jell-o salad on the same plate?
Invariably, at these parties, we would have a very large group picture. And just as invariably, those pictures ended up in an envelope full of all of the developed photos from that film roll (remember those?) and be stored in a box. That box would later be discovered by me and not know who most of the people are in the pictures!
It’s sad on some levels. Who are these people? What role did they play in the lives of my family? Who were they that they got invited to the party? I can identify the major players, me and my parents, my aunt, and her family, my grandparents, some of the really close friends of the family. But then there are the others. The fringe folk as it were. Those who came and went. They were in our lives for a short time. Who were they? I may never find out. My aunt may know some of them. But some of their identities are lost to the ages.
If you have living family members that can identify those in the photos, be asking them now. Make notes on the back or in some way that they don’t get lost from the photo. But for many of these people, it’s too late. For those, I look at these party photos and remember when we were all together. I don’t just mean prior to COVID-19, but also because many of the people in the photos have died. And miss many of them terribly.
When you are a kid you don’t appreciate what you have in your family and family friends. Then when you get old enough to appreciate them, they are gone or going. As I get older and as more of my older family members pass on, I deeply wish that I had paid more attention, that I appreciated more. Mostly, I wish I could turn back the clock and chat with my grandparents again. Ask them the really important questions. (I always think “what would grandma or grandpa think about this?”) Be at one of those potlucks again.
I hope you can answer “who are these people?” with your photos.
2 thoughts on “Box Adventures: Who Are These People?”
Don’t give up. I have had some luck by taking those photos to family gatherings and asking for help with the unknown faces. My older brothers met some relatives before I was born, and my younger siblings met some after I went away to college. They even vacationed with retired ones in Florida, or stayed with them while Mom was in the hospital with me. Not to mention the ones that my cousins have identified…. Sometimes they have also identified the room or the background.
I’m not giving up. But the facts are, all of the oldest generations are gone in my family. I literally have four first cousins. We live all across the US and so are not having family gatherings like we did when I was young. The people who would know these people are no longer with us, for the most part.