Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Who are you?

I've talked about my grandmother's old suitcase. The one which held countless pictures and documents. The one which opened up the world to me as far as extended family members. In this same suitcase, there are still some unidentified photos. Two of these, yet to be identified pictures, haunt me with "Who were you?" "What did you do with your life?" and many more such questions.

Orvina E. Kebom looks directly at the camera. Her eyes twinkle with the promise of secrets yet to be told. Is she taking this picture for some young gentleman she plans to marry? Is she just posing for her parents- somehow I think not. 

I did find a woman who thought this might have been a picture of my great-uncle's girlfriend. He met her while serving in WWI...does the fashion indicate this timeline would be correct? If this is the girl- then she died of TB and he was forever crushed by her death. 
The memory of the woman who told me this tale is questionable. Her stories melded from one story into another. She picked up the next picture and said, "Oh there she is ..."

This ethereal young woman was then decided to be the one who died of TB. The only name on the portrait is "Jacks Tacoma"- which I can only assume is the name of the studio where this was taken in Tacoma, Washington. 

I've googled..I've searched...but Orvina E. Kebom and Mezzo Studios, Tacoma yielded nothing. I searched for Jacks Tacoma with no results. I've even tried Jacksa or Jacksh...nothing. 

So I look at the two photographs and wonder what ever became of these young women. One who looks so full of life; the other who looks like she is a wispy, spirit who has been accidentally captured by a camera. A spray of fern close to her bodice and a ring caught up in her hair, she waits for her sweet heart to join her. 

I wish I could have known Orvina. Somehow I think she would have been a fun person to get to know. We might have enjoyed some great adventures together. As for "Miss Wispy" she seems so fragile. I would still have liked to know her story though. I love hearing people's stories..some sadness mixed with happiness, woven together to make up their life. 

There will be no story today. Although I put these photos away, I will not stop asking about them. Hopefully one day I will find someone who knows Orvina E. Kebom's story or "Miss Wispy"'s story. Until then I carefully put the pictures away for safe keeping.


  1. beautiful.
    why dont you write a little novel or short story with the info from your old relatives and the rest supplied by your very fertile imagination ?

  2. Kochuthresiamma p.j.- Thanks for your comment- I've often thought these old photographs would make an excellent novel. I had some old postcards which I thought would make a great novel- and then someone else came up with the idea :)

  3. I was especially moved by this post. I went through the same process, after my mother passed away, looking at photos of her family. I also inherited photos from my father's cousin, who became the first supermodel in Paris, after the Russian Revolution. I would stare at these photos of people and places who were so dear to her that she carried the photos with her in exile, and wonder about their lives.

  4. Alexandra- I have been enjoying your blog...what an amazing woman you are. Do you have a blog post about your father's cousin- or the photos you are talking about- I would so love to read it. I do love investigating such things- and hearing of how others have also explored their family lines.

  5. Anjuli,
    I know you said 'there is no story today' but you've told a fine one here.

  6. I agree with Kerry. Great story, and brings out so many memories in all your readers. I have many, many, many old family photos. My two favorites are the one with my great-grandmother, who lived in Ohio, posing on the top of a double-decker bus in New York City around the turn of the century. The other is printed on a postcard--it is the son she no doubt went to visit, a prosperous lawyer throwing a dinner party at their home.
    Thanks for the memories, Anjuli

  7. Kerry - thank you!!

    Vera - I would so love to see the photo of your great-grandmother and the postcard of her son- they sound absolutely fascinating!!!

  8. Hai, Anjuli It's wonderful.You have done a great work.If you get any details info about it please post it to your blog.
    Thanks, I will visit your blog again so keep posting.

  9. Bob- thanks again for your comment. I would love to visit your blog if you could let me know where it is - I keep getting the graphics design page but no specific blog.

  10. There must be a real treasure in there.

  11. Haddock- Thanks for the comment- loved your blog and of course I'm following you now, I know I am going to enjoy every post!!

  12. I sort of get goosebumps whenever u write abt people from the past and their stories.
    Please do post when u get any leads on them...and kochuthresiamma p .j is right u knw, u have so much background material waiting to be used, just make the time and DO IT.

  13. Anjuli,

    Thanks for sharing. Pictures are very beautiful. The second picture almost seems like a painting and not a photograph but scanning and computre screening may be cheating me. Do you think the second is a painting and the name is the person made it?

    Hair style in both pictures are completely diffrent. It does not seem like pictures are from same era.

    Nice blog though.

  14. Reflections- if I get any more leads on these photos- I'll definitely post those. I think I have a suitcase full of material which would make great stories. Now if only my life were less busy so I had more time to write :)

    A- It is definitely a photo from a studio- as in the corner it states the name of the photo studio from the early 1900's. You are right though about the hairstyles being quite different.


Where do I begin?

(written on March 28th 2018) For someone with so many words...words that just tumble out even when they are not wanted...words that jump h...