Junk Joint Photographs

My oldest cousins opened a retro resale shop in Houston in the eighties called Flashback. They refurbished an old house built in the forties and furnished it exactly as it would’ve looked back then.  They even had clothes in the closets, jewelry in the dressers in the bedrooms, and dishes in the kitchen.  Everything in it was for sale. 

They kept the old green glider that we’d played in at my grandparents’ out on the front porch of the house/shop, but you can bet it wasn’t for sale. 

It had belonged to our grandparents. 

Every time my cousins came to visit us, they wanted to go looking for treasures for their shop at our local junk joints.  

We’d make a whole day of it, and besides breathing a lot of dust that always made my nose run, I liked looking at all the old stuff.

It amazed me to find photographs in places like that.

I don’t have any idea who these people are. But how do pictures like these – of somebody’s family – end up in places like Goodwill?!

Framed photographs of couples.  Families.  Pictures of men in army uniforms from World War II. 

Pictures of people who were somebody’s family. 

Somebody’s daughter.  Or son.  Mother.  Father.  Grandparents. 

I always wondered how it could be that the picture ended up in a box at Goodwill where somebody will buy it only for the frame. 

It always made me sad. 

To think that nobody wanted those pictures.  To think that the photograph was somehow separated from the family it belonged to, as if nobody wanted it. 

As if no one ever knew and loved the life behind the picture. 

Makes me want to take those pictures home with me and put them on my wall, as if they were my family.  

As if to say, this person mattered. 

‘Cause I’ll just bet they did matter.  To somebody.

 

 

 

 

 

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Very nice post. As an appraiser I find the sadness of forgotten photos to be one of the hardest parts of my job.

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