Thursday, July 30, 2015

nature of love


This picture is an oldie. It isn't from my stash of photos, shifting endlessly in a drawer. It wasn't taken out of my mother's black paged albums either, nor my grandmother's shoe box of photos. I doubt that it belonged to my great grandmother either although it is a picture of her uncle. Photography was expensive then and I imagine that the picture was given to her parents. It's a photo of William John Haddock, and would have been a very elegant and appreciated gift to give a brother and his wife.
Doesn't my great, great, great Uncle look distinguished? Isn't his hair amazing?
He looks very sober but he was a judge and that is a very serious business.
This photo makes me ponder the fate of old family pictures.
It has been spared the Great Cull that is inevitable as the baton of life passes from generation to generation.
It has somehow managed to survive the turning of two centuries, two world wars, and a yawning gulf of time that has made dear Uncle William a complete stranger.
But he was my great, great, grandfather Robert's big brother.
He was a teenager when the Haddock's made their voyage across the Atlantic to begin anew.
The Civil War was waiting in the wings.
Both brothers fought and survived those perilous times.
I am certain that Robert loved his brother William.
And that Robert's daughter Minerva loved him as well.
Minerva had something in common with her Uncle.
She left all and moved to a new country.
Beginning anew.
Minerva and Rufus C. Ray.
My great grandparents.
Letters and postcards traveled back and forth between Alberta and Iowa.
The tie remained for a time.
My own mother never met or even spoke of this man and yet I feel something so familiar as I look at his portrait.
More than a hundred years have rolled along.
Can love be passed down?
Or the memory of love?
I think it can.
It's in the nature of love.

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