It’s very strange, not having any photographs of myself from when I was growing up.  My mother is in possession of all the family pictures, and I haven’t seen them in what must be 25 years or more.

In my early teens, I discovered photography.  I adored taking pictures with my Kodak Instamatic X-15.  It had a “Magicube” (ooooh!) and if you know what that is, you’re as old as I am.  I took scads of pictures, all black and white, and I remember keeping them in an album.  I don’t have it anymore.

So, no pictures.  And, as I’ve mentioned before, I have very few memories.  We all know the power of a photograph to tell a story, or to prompt a flood of memory.  One feels a bit adrift with neither.

A while back, I happened to come across one photograph that I’ve managed to keep with me for almost forty years.  I took it in my early teens while watching the draft horse pull at the state fair.  I’m so happy that I never glued it into that album.

I don’t know who these people are, but in a way, this old couple has become part of my family, part of my story.  They look kind, don’t you think?

old couple 1

All photographs copyright Zen Doe

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21 Comments on “One Photograph

  1. It is a great photo. I remember the magicubes well enough to know you burned your fingers when replacing a spent one, if you didn’t wait for it to cool!

  2. That photo in itself encompasses a lot of time within it. The age of the kind couple when you were in your teens and now after 40 years, the piece of paper with the photograph has aged too. Like the picture tells a story of two different worlds. Great you shared it. 🙂

  3. There was a bent old man who lived down the road. My son passed him on the way to school every morning at 6:45. He would be picking up Tabebuia flowers that had fallen on the sidewalk in the night, and my son would help him for a few minutes. Not a word was exchanged in those two years that this went on. One day my son realized he wasn’t there anymore. He told me, “Mama, I feel kind of bad, like I knew him. . . he only recognized my school trousers, he had never been able to straighten up and see my face. One day when I was in jeans and picked up flowers for him he was surprised, like wondering who could I be. . .”

    It’s strange how people become a part of our lives imperceptibly, but I’m glad that happens too. . . In fact I feel the same about people like you whose blogs I like.

    • What a beautiful story, Shyamala. Thank you for telling it. And yes, it’s strange and wonderful how people become part of our lives in tiny ways that really do make a difference. Hugs to you.

  4. How sad you lost your album…..for me pictures taken and lost leave a space which isn’t there for memories where no photos were taken 🙂 when I was younger I wanted to capture everything we did as a family on film….as though I could hang onto it in some way…..probably because no one else in my family really took photos….now it’s more feelings and emotions of spaces which I shoot 🙂 and yes I remember Magicubes…never had one though!

    • There really is something almost magical about photos, isn’t there? Even when we don’t know the people or places in a photograph, a story is trying to tell itself.

    • Gosh, we’re dating ourselves! The camera I mentioned came out in 1971. 🙂
      And yes, the memories are way more vivid. Photos are the next best thing.

  5. I love that picture! They look good people. I wonder what they are looking at and how did they get where they are?( I mean there mode of transportation) When I see something like this my mind runs wild! Oh yes , I remember the magic cube very well.

    • Well, I do know that they are watching the draft horses (in the dirt arena to the right of the pic). To me, both their faces are just marvelous. I always feel that if I could just squint a little harder, their stories would swirl into view.

  6. Windhorse, I resonate deeply with your post. I lacked pictures from my childhood for most of my life. My mother is the keeper of such things still. I was able to get one picture of myself as a toddler out of my little sister during a brief lapse within a lifetime of estrangement. I keep it posted on my facebook page. If something did not come with me in that small box when I left home 40 years ago, I don’t have it. Perhaps we are sisters? Magicubes? My big sister had one of those cameras. Keep writing, Sis. Alice

    • Thank you for telling me this, Alice. I’m not sure it’s possible to “get” this post if you haven’t had this experience. I posted it anyway, hoping that the photo was interesting enough to hold its own. Sisters? Could be! 😉

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