Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Finding Treasures from a Century Ago

by Kathy F.

While helping a family member move, I came into the possession of two photo albums. They almost were put in Goodwill. Oh no. Sorry, thriftshop hunters, these are staying with me.

At sea on the USS Princess Matoika
They don't look like much: faded, brittle pages that are coming loose from their binding. But the photos, those are little bits of gold.

They are from an unknown serviceman during World War I, and cover time spent on the USS Princess Matoika (a troop transport ship named for Pocahontas; you can read her story here), France, Holland, a Naval hospital, Hoboken, as well as photos from home. From a boxing match onboard the ship to shots of troops in the field to civilians in the different countries, each snapshot drew me in. That and the handwritten notes. Most are short, just a little bit about the photo. Then you'll see a "I love my mother and my brother..." scrawled on the side of a page that has been ripped out or otherwise lost to time.

Boxing on the USS Princess Matoika
I have only just begun the search to find out who took the photos, or at least made the albums. I did want to share some of it with you, and the world. I'm scanning the photos and putting them on Pinterest. I'll be adding more over time.

Finding these presents from the past, almost one hundred years in the past, it made me wonder what treasures we are leaving behind. Somehow I don't see anyone getting as excited over a flash drive as I was over the albums. Before I begin maudlin wailing over how we store our mementos, I'll leave you with a few more photos. Then I'll scan some more, and maybe print out some of the thousand family pictures I have on my own computer.

On leave in Hoboken "with the chickens" (yes, that is what the caption says on another photo of the same group)

"A French dinner"

Our serviceman's family?

A plane in France.

A street in Paris.
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