When I entered the room, Doc was staring so intently at an old photograph that she didn’t even notice that I was there. Finally she looked up and seeing me, she smiled and motioned for me to come closer. She slowly lowered the photo where I could see it and there looking back at me was an older gentleman and a dog. “That man” she said, “is my great-grandfather and it is the first time I have ever seen a picture of him as he died long before I was born.”
As she turned over the photo there was writing on the back that said, ” This is a photograph of Robert Jr. The dog is Joe and belonged to his son.” “My grandfathers dog,” Doc said, ‘he spoke about him many times.”
Photographs capture a moment in time, but never tell the whole story. Generations later as Doc and I study this photograph we are left with many more questions than answers and begin to formulate our own stories. It is interesting to ponder why on this particular day, Robert Jr. decide to go to Stillwagen and Gowins Artistic Photography studio with his son’s dog for a professional photograph.
Sadly, all of Doc’s relatives that may be able to answer the questions she has are now gone. It’s too bad because I have come to understand by listening to so many people’s stories that the histories of past generations effect who we are today. I believe that is true for all living things.
It’s nice to think about how Doc’s family has always loved dogs so much that they include them in their photos. Now I know why she has me take so many pictures with her, it must be in the genes.