Lately I've been obsessed with sailors! I inherited a bunch of photos of sailors from the 40's that were in my great-aunt's scrapbook. I don't know who any of the men are, but most of them had a name next to the photo. They are small photos that look like they were taken in automatic photo booths. They were cut out crookedly and given as a memento of a soldier on leave. I love the antique metallic sheen on the surface of the photos. The scratches, fading and discoloration on the surface only seem to give them a richness and flavor of mystery. I imagine stories about each one and imagine what thier lives were like. Did they die in the war? Did they meet their true love in NY port? Maybe they had a family and a long, interesting life just as my great-uncle did. I'm not even sure if these were my Uncle's friends or friends of my Aunt. I'm guessing that they were taken near Brooklyn, since that's where my Aunt and Uncle lived.
The names give so much character to the photos and seem almost quaint today! Names like "Hartzel", "Baxter" and "Mac" make me feel like I'm living back in the swing era. I wonder if Leo was really as shy as he looks in the photo. Was Perry a lady's man? Did Ed give his sweetheart some candy and red roses before he boarded ship again?
What about Clude? His photo is so different from the others. It must have been taken in a studio; it is a pose full body shot with a painted background. He looks so wistful, I wonder what he was thinking about when the photo was taken.
I just finished putting them in a matchbox-style album and I feel happy knowing that they have a permanent home. It was so rewarding to work on something completely frivolous that just cried out for attention! For some reason I just *had* to do this project--those poor photos almost got thrown away by my mom's cousin, but I rescued them so they could be loved!