Wednesday, April 6, 2011
the almost strangers
I suppose I should stop here and introduce you to my current working assumption and constant companion: I (at this point in time, anyway) would be deeply thrown off course if I were to learn that the people depicted here were not, in fact, Dorothy and Fred S----- or that this photo of them was not taken on the day they got married, sometime in 1948. With time and throughout the process of sifting through and closely attending to still more boxed materials, I may well find that these assumptions/identities are wrong. Should that be the case, I have little doubt that this story (my attitude about it as well as my way of telling it) will take new, different and unexpected turns. But for now, I am struck (as I said to start) by the enormous potential of these almost- or not-quite-strangers. I'd be lying if I said it wouldn't matter much to me (as box-owner, researcher, questioner, sifter, blogger, or simply as a curious being) if these people were kind, compelling, compassionate or funny. Of course, I want and even hope that they will be all that. I hope that they will have admirable qualities and I hope that I will feel sad when I'm reminded that I'll not have any opportunity to meet them. This is what I mean by being struck by their great, at-the-moment, potential.
And so part of me thinks about what it would mean to stop here. And if that would even be doable. To only know this much. To put the six boxes down in my storage area and leave them there, thereby suggesting to whomever might someday find these boxes among my other stuff that my life was necessarily, integrally, or maybe even genetically/biologically connected to theirs.
As soon as I got the boxes home, I looked briefly at one of what I assume are Dorothy's ten trip diaries and I was taken aback by how much I didn't like her handwriting. It was really tough to read (exhausting, really) and some of the things she wrote or noted or mentioned gave me pause (much more on this, on these trip diaries later). Other things I could relate to, other things made me laugh, and still other things (i.e., mentions of specific places, events, people) made me eager to explore other of the items contained in these six boxes. Was there much (any?) overlap between the trip diaries and the 35 scrapbooks and photo albums in the boxes?
So I won't stop here, this I know. Even if it means risking or otherwise diminishing my sense of the incredible potential of these not-quite-strangers. That said, I end with a plea: Please, please, please, don't let the items in these boxes suggest that Dorothy and/or Fred (assuming those are the folks depicted above) were horrible or unkind people.