“A picture is worth a thousand words.” How many times have we all heard this said?
Years ago I emailed Ruthie a segment of a journal I had compiled for my grandsons. I only did so because Johnny Riggs was mentioned and I hoped it would find its way to him. Almost as an afterthought, I attached a labeled photo of my Southboro Elem. class of 1952. The picture had first been posted by another classmate (I believe Patsy Stephens) over a year before. I treasure my copy and I’m sure all of the others in the picture that are still alive do also, but let me ask a question…
Will anybody treasure this photo 30 years from now?
Because someone has gone to the trouble to put names with the faces, one of my great-grandchildren may say, “look there’s Pop’s dad, he kind of looks like Herb”. If there were no names attached, the picture would be worthless and end up back in the box and eventually relegated to the trash heap or, at best, pinned on the wall at Cracker Barrel. To illustrate just what I’m trying to get across; I have a second photo, 3 years older, that was sent to me by still another classmate. Annette Vines is married to an ex-business associate of mine and lives in Ormond Beach. She didn’t graduate with us but she’s the angelic little thing seated on the ground – far right – in the picture of Mrs. William’s 3rd grade 1948-49 class at Southboro Elem. I recognize some of my classmates but not all, maybe you’d like to give it a try and fill in the blanks?
4th row, standing on chairs __ ? __, Lake Lytal*, __?__, Eddie Shoemaker, Jimmy Powell, Doug Stainthorpe, Billy Wilkinson 3rd row standing __ ? __, __?__, __?__, __ ? __, __?__, __?__ 2nd row seated Johnny Wilcher, Johnny Riggs, Bill Stevens, Bobby Sutton, __ ? __, __?__, __?__ 1st row on the ground __?__, Susan Schmitt, Patsy Stephens, Jane Smith, Annette Vines
* name confirmed, thank you!
My sister stopped by yesterday with two boxes of stuff she had separated out for me from family items retrieved after my father passed away. My mother had preceded him. My father was an avid picture taker and had photos from as far back as the early 1930’s. Most of the shots include family members and friends that I recognize but I’m sure my children will not. The same can be said for other photos depicting locations, homes, events and etc. Along with these were portraits, wedding pictures, landscape shots, team photos, graduation pictures, and even tintypes – many dating back well into the 19th century. Along with all of these hundreds of photographs was one letter. It was from my mother to my aunt Mary in South Carolina. I won’t bore you with details but the letter was dated April 18, 1943 and, in my mother’s handwriting (an art form our great-grandchildren will have no concept of), told of her opportunity to travel by automobile from Oklahoma to visit her parents in Louisville, KY despite the wartime gas rationing.
There weren’t more than a few hundred words in my mother’s letter but, as I sit here today, every syllable she wrote is worth more to me than all of those pictures of strangers. No! A picture is not worth a thousand words if a thousand pictures without, at least, a single word can be worthless!
Put it in writing my friends. Put it in writing not just to label photographs but put it in writing to tell future generations who you were, what you thought, and why you wanted them to know … they will appreciate it.
an illustrative postscript on the lighter side:
On the back of this tintype from the 1800’s are the words you see above … “Maud Tharp, sister of Amanda Tharp”. Amanda Tharp was my maternal grandmother so that means we are looking at a baby picture of Jim Powell’s grand-aunt. (Is that exciting or what?)
profile: definition ....
meaning: 1. a short description of someone's life, work, character, and information about the person's interests and beliefs.
meaning: 2. an outline of that same person's face as it is seen when someone is looking at them from the side. If you see someone in profile, you only see them from one side.
From these two definitions I can only conclude one thing: profiles as such and offered by job seekers, politicians, and aspiring writers, risk falling into very obvious categorical traps ..... they will be hopelessly self-edifying and boldly "two faced"!
To avoid these pitfalls I intend to state an illusion and immediately counter it with the fact. If the latter is too candid or disturbing, just disregard it! This will allow me to come off (in your estimation) as the fine upstanding, clean cut, like-minded, and adventurous elderly gentleman you were hoping for.
Illusion: I'm an accomplished "sailor" and have spent over 50 years routinely putting out to sea, first under canvas and in my latter years with only the diesel iron wind at my back.
Fact: In all of my voyages I've never spent more than eight or nine full nights underway and that was only because, over open water, Walker's Cay was too far from Palm City or Havana from Key West. In reality, as the sun begins to set I'm usually tucked into some snug little cove, the hook set, and an icy drink in my hand. I'm not an accomplished sailor, I'm a fantastic "anchorer"!
Illusion: I'm a semi-talented "writer" that creates interesting characters in situations and settings that, sometimes, move a story along.
Fact: In most cases, I am the "character" and I've already lived the story. Then all I need to do is figure out how to just pretend I'm sitting in some sleazy dive in the Keys after a few beers and start to tell my story to ........ (only problem is: .......... is it “i” before “e” except at sea?)
Illusion: Because I am openly conservative and speak with a Southern drawl, I'm looked upon as a right-wing good-ole-boy that picnics under Confederate monuments, lives and breathes Fox News, drives a gun-racked Ford 150, and wears his "Make America Great Again" hat to bed every night.
Fact: I'm very discouraged with what is going on in Washington in general and at the White House in particular. I supported its current occupant and, seeing what options are shaping up on the horizon, I may be forced to continue doing so but he(and we) could do so much better. Do I have to surrender my judgment and intellect to remain a Republican?
I won't dwell on the President's Smoot-Hawley like policies on trade and tariffs ... time and the markets will be the final arbiters and greed on my part forces me to hope for the best. Needless to say, I endorse his impact on the Judicial Branch of Government and I could care less what next week's "horndog rumor" and accompanying hush-money payoff have in store .... I'll leave that to his poor wife and "Morning Joe"! But I do have one pet peeve: we don't need a $5,000,000,000.00 wall to keep out Guatemalans and their Central American neighbors. They only constitute the latest installment in 4 centuries of migration to our shores and may be the hardest working bunch yet assembled. The hardships they are fleeing are not unlike the pogroms against Jews in the Middle East or the 19th century Irish potato famine. The seemingly demeaning statement of: "how would the roof ever get patched or the grass cut without them?" or a variation thereof has been directed at virtually every American's fore-bearers. Unless you stepped ashore on Plymouth Rock or the swampy landing at Jamestown, there was always somebody "better than you" waiting to curse your arrival ……… or put you in chains.
On the flip side of all of this, and without inserting its own Illusion, we don't need porn starlets and their attorneys being featured on Sunday morning talk shows answering pointed questions from wax haired "contributors" about our Presidents libido! What we do desperately need is a media culture that will demand the resurrection and employment of an old concept ...... news REPORTING! On my home cable TV hookup; Fox News is on channel 44 and MSNBC resides on 42. The Guide tells me that the channel between them ...43 ... is dedicated to financial news but that can't be true. The call letters may be CNBC but, judging from the disparity in the adjacent editorializing, it must be Star Wars! ..... the distance between the adjoining galaxies is so "far, far, away"?
Over the past few months I've become a reluctant, almost incarcerated, soccer fan. The game is played, not with a pitch .... but on one, lasts an hour and a half, and often ends with a score of nil-nil. I endure all this because my sole source of, even remotely, unbiased television news and happenings in the good old USA can be found only on the British Broadcasting Corp ..... go Cardiff City!
View all posts by atthecampusshop
2 thoughts on “may I have a word?…”
Amen. I have so many wonderful pictures my mother kept of her and my father’s ancestors. I have no idea who most of them are because there are no WORDS on the back of them to tell me. In some cases there is a date, or an “Uncle Ted,” but what was he like? Isn’t there something about Uncle Ted that was worth noting? I have a few of my mother’s letters, a couple of my dad’s and a recipe that my mother cared to write out for me that I treasure. Even if you think you aren’t a “good” writer, write a note to future generations and say hello there, I wish I had known you. Here are a few of my favorite things.
Jimmy, I look forward to everything you write. There are old memories to cherish. Keep writing for all of us….Patsy Stephens Brown