I love old photos.
Especially when there’s a story behind them. But it’s sad when you have the photo, and you know there’s a story – but you have no clue what it is.
When I started college in September 2009, I found myself in the heart of Winnipeg’s Exchange District. The downtown Red River College Polytechnic campus – the Roblin Centre. It was surrounded by cool and chic shops to poke around during breaks. One was an awesome antique store called Antiques and Funk.
While sniffing out new arrivals, I found a stack of black and white wedding photos. A gorgeous bride in a park with her wedding party. Two-feet of photos in plastic sleeves. I sifted through the pile. A beautiful woman in a 1950s-style dress wearing a whimsical veil.
But when I checked the back of the photo, I was disappointed. No information. Not even a photographer’s stamp.
I didn’t want to leave her there, so I chose a photo where she’s flipping back her veil, playfully though she seems shy.
I asked the owner, “Do you have any information about this photo?” Think the picture equivalent of Antique Roadshow.
“No, we got it about two weeks ago or so, if that helps,” said the owner. “She’s beautiful. Maybe you can figure out the park? There aren’t too many parks in Winnipeg. That’s if … “
” … the photo was taken in Winnipeg,” I said, placing down my other purchase – a small, coral-marble turtle.
“Well, it’s a beautiful photo.”
That photo bugged me for two years until I packed up and moved to Edmonton. To my surprise, I found it last fall when I was going through my stash of wrapping paper.
Maybe there was a reason this woman, this beautiful bride, was left in an antique store. Maybe her children were cleaning out their mother’s closet and belongings, and the photos fell into a donation box that went to the antique store. It happens. Maybe the woman’s house was robbed. The first target were those wedding photos, and they were pawned to the antique shop! Solved!
Or maybe she didn’t have children, and she was a widow or divorced and no one wanted the photos after she died. And they were put in a garage sale by a neighbour and no one wanted them – and the neighbour sold them to the antique store.
That’s so sad.
Because she was someone’s wife. Someone’s daughter. She mattered. She had to have family. Friends. Someone knows the woman in the photo. The woman of grace, beauty, and elegance. With guarded joy and a laugh on her face.
Someone knows who this woman was.
And we have to find her.