“A good photograph never belongs to the past; every time you look at it, it is with you, it is alive and it is in the present moment!” – Mehmet Murat ildan
Old photographs breathe life into the past. I love them because they’re essentially time travel. You can stand in the middle of Civil War carnage. You can escape to far-off lands. You can gaze into the eyes of ancestors who left the party long before you arrived.
My family is extremely, extremely blessed because we have a treasure trove of old images. My grandma was a magnet for the family’s visual biographies. Every time an aunt or great-aunt passed away, she inherited their albums. By the time she herself passed away in 2000, she had mountains of suitcases and scrapbooks loaded with memories of generations past.
If you’ve read my other blogs, you know I adore genealogy and history in general. I’m the gatekeeper of my family’s history. I cherish that role not only because I get to share pictures and tales with all of you, but also because it grants me the privilege of seeing the past through my ancestors’ eyes. When I study an old photo, I daydream about what was happening when the shutter snapped. Who took the photo? Is there a back story or an inside joke? Did these people ever think one of their descendants would be contemplating their random photo a hundred years later? Those snapshots speak a thousand words. They’re black and white, but they paint the past with such vivid color.
Some of my favorite “old pictures” are ones of my Grandpa Siver before I knew him… long before anyone ever called him “Grandpa Siver.” They help me understand the character I knew during the 14+ years we overlapped. I can flip through hundreds of visual memories of him and the same trends always emerge. More often than not, he’s grinning and he’s typically surrounded by family.
One other trend is why I’m writing this blog today: Grandpa was repeatedly pictured with animals. He loved all kinds of four-legged creatures. From a childhood sidekick named Bob to the Shetland ponies of his senior years, he was an animal’s best friend.
I scoured family albums for the most amusing animal photos. So with limited verbal interruption, I present to you “Floyd and His Fauna.”
Side note: For the sake of clarity, any time you see a photo of my grandpa with his brother Glenn, Grandpa is always the younger and smaller of the two.