Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Life of Byron

I owe Carmi Cimicata a big thank you for the care package of vintage photos she mailed to me last week. Let me tell you, it acted just like catnip to my Leo senses—I think I actually meowed.
Anyway, in amongst the pictures Carmi sent me was this one of a baby with the face and posture of a grown up, and written on the back was “Byron Blackthorn Hawksridge 2nd, Aged 10 months.” Yes, I know it sounds like the name of a hero in a romance novel, and while Byron is actually the baby’s first name, I changed the other two to preserve his privacy. But his middle and last name are actually more interesting than the ones I chose for him.
The reason I want to protect his identity is because I decided to do a web search for him after talking to Mary. (Mary Ambrose—in case you don’t know it—has her private investigator’s license, a feat she accomplished while she was pregnant with her son Hayden).
Now where was I? Oh yes, so I did a search for Byron, and first found his namesake and grandfather who was born in 1835, hated his name Jedediah and changed it to Byron. To make a long story short, through an obituary, I eventually tracked down one of Byron II’s daughters in the U.S. and offered to send her the photo of her dad. She was thrilled to hear that there was a baby picture of him in existence. Between us, we figured out that the photo was probably taken in 1918 and sent to a Canadian relative by Byron’s mother in Maine. Naturally I’d like to know more about Byron (who was an engineer), but I didn’t want to seem pushy.

What was gratifying to me about this experience was not only to find out there was a real person behind one of the images I like to work with, but that I was also to be able to send Byron’s three daughters a precious memento of their dad. So thank you Carmi for this heart-warming experience. I couldn’t alter Byron’s image though. Somehow it didn’t seem right.

12 comments:

Godelieve said...

It's always great to see your blog show up in my reader. And what a great story you have here.

me again said...

Great story, great photograph. I'm with you 100% on not altering the image; this one is so special just the way it is. I'm sure the family members are ecstatic that it's surfaced, safe and sound.
==lennie==

Leslie Jane Moran said...

What an amazing story. Quite the investigation too. I love his little feet sticking out. It also makes me realize that boys did wear dresses in those days. There is one of my Dad like this and I sort of wondered about it. Same circa. Wonderful post. His family must be just SO excited.

Anonymous said...

How wonderful Susie-Q--I don't think many people would have taken the time and have the thoughtfulness to follow this story through. All inspired by one engaging photograph. Pam xo

Anonymous said...

You see! You can be a private investigator too!
Mary A.

Lisa PN said...

So amazing,
Thanks for sharing this, and how lucky for you. When i use photos in my work, i often feel a bit sad that there is no name, no nothing attached to them, and yet, it also gives me hope to give them a new life. So, this story is special. As are you! I hope to see you soon. l.

La Dolce Vita said...

Susan this is a great post! guess I will go back and look thru all my cabinet cards! alas, I do not have a PI to assist in the search! LOL!!

Irene said...

Well I could really do some selling after this, be sure your photo's have names and dates on them, so someone doesn't buy "an uncle" I have a real problem buying photos to play with, I love it when they are done, but just can't bring myself to buy them. But look how wonderful this all turned out. I knew there was a reason why I like the two of you (Carmi and Susan)(not just fo r your wonderful art) you are two caring ladies. Way to go!

Sandy Michelle said...

HOLY COW I can't believe you guys figured out who Byron was!!! That is just unbelievable!

Carmi said...

That is such great news! I just knew that you would do something with the pictures!

Ganga Fondan said...

What an amazing story this is. :)

indybev said...

Your heartwarming experience, makes a heartwarming story to share. Thank you for sharing it with us!