I did not feel like going for a run yesterday afternoon. I forced myself to run around the neighborhood, because I knew at the end of the loop I’d feel more energetic and accomplished after a lazy sunday.
Toward the end of my exercise effort, on my normal route I decided to switch sides of the street for no particular reason. This sidewalk has several abandoned lots and is uneven, and though I know these two things I decided to cross over. After just a few paces I saw a little flash of white on the ground, as I was under the railroad track. I almost kept running — dismissing the paper as trash but then I saw the little face. I stopped and bent down to get a better look. On the ground, barely off the sidewalk in a patch of wet grass, covered with a little dirt were these six photographs.
I stuffed the photos in my pocket after drying them off and rushed home, excited to inspect the snapshot mysteries.
When I was in graduate school I used to drive out to Whitings Old Paper and buy photographs like these for projects. My thesis was on memory and narrative
so I always found it fascinating to purchase these old photos and study them — trying to imagine their origin.
Since buying old photos that have nothing to do with my family is the activity of hoarder, I’ve stopped in the past few years.
But finding these images validates me keeping them, they sought me out, I did not seek them.
So far the only little things I’ve figured out about these images is that many of them are from Germany, specifically this town.
I’m not certain that all the images were taken there put I believe they were printed in this town because on the back of several of the photos you can
see this lovely, worn stamp.
I’m sure I’ll never know whom these little torn edge photos belong to, but I’ll cherish them.
It’s such a gift to see the world of a stranger in tangible form. I’d have never found such a mystery sitting at my computer.
So, I’ll probably go for a run this afternoon.