Tennessee Mountain Stories

Mystery Picture

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I have this picture of a lovely lady with her two children.  Based on her clothing I’m guessing she’s in her early twenties and the picture was probably made during the 1920’s.  Therefore she was born right around the turn of the 20th century.  I’m just sure that she’s some of my family because she looks an awful lot like one of Daddy’s first cousins.

I do not know her name.  No one seems to know her name.  I’ve asked the oldest members of my family.  I’ve asked those in the family who are most interested in genealogy.  I’ve asked pretty much anyone that would listen to my question.

She is a mystery.  And mysteries kind of drive me crazy.

Well this mystery is miniscule compared to other mysterious images for there are some that people have spent lifetimes studying.  Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is one of the most famous works of art in the world and no one knows her real name.  Did da Vinci refuse to divulge her name?  Did no one bother to ask him who it was?  Or is it possible that everyone that knew the artist knew exactly who that lady was and no one ever bothered to jot it down on the back?  Okay, maybe some of those questions seem a little absurd yet countless historians have spent untold hours researching and arguing and documenting who it could be.  Still she is a mystery.

Am I trying to inspire you to go right quick and label all of your pictures?  Sure, I’m always eager to inspire my readers.  I’m also simply inspired by some of these old pictures. 

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When I’m writing, I frequently look at pictures of an individual who has inspired a character. I ask myself what I can learn about the person – what does this picture add to the stories I’ve heard and the legend that survives them? Historically pictures were valuable possessions and therefore weren’t taken lightly.   Therefore, the book you chose to hold in a picture must mean something, the people you were with and the place you visited must all be relevant to your life.  I have a picture of my Great-great-great Grandmother who passed away in 1931; she’s holding a large book.  Since these were Christian people I assume it’s a Bible – where is that Bible now?  I’d love to see it.  I imagine if I used this character in a story I could easily incorporate her recording family information in that Bible and that she’d sit at the kitchen table with it open before her.

Do you think this mysterious young mother has a story to tell us?  Would you like to see her character in a future book?