The Gene Pool, paternal side.
I've been scanning and trying to clean up and repair a bunch of old family photos in the past few weeks.
It's slow going on the ones that need a lot of work. I'm a pretty patient man, and make a good drone and can sit for hours doing tedious work, but some of these try even my sanity.
When working on photos of people, I try to remove dust specks and blemishes to the photos on people's faces and clothes. After that, if I have any patience left I will try to clean up the other parts of the photos as best I can.
In the end, I'm just trying to make them as presentable as my sanity allows and to archive them for the future.
This first one is one of my Dad that I scanned and just really liked a lot. It was in really good shape and I like his expression.
This next one is of my Aunt Gayle when she was a little girl sitting with Sainted Mother on the edge of a natural spring. The water below them is perfectly clear and drinkable, I would suspect even today.
The place is just called Camp Swan by everyone in the area because it was a site for a camp of the Civilian Conservation Corps during the great depression. I'm sure this natural spring was the deciding factor in the location of the camp, and the concrete walls Mama and Aunt Gayle are sitting on date from the depression era and was constructed by the men who lived here.
This next one is of my Dad's mother, Eunice Williamson, on the right in the photo. The back of the photo simply had 'Dixie and Eunice' written there. We have no idea now who Dixie was, but this is the only photo I've seen of my paternal grandmother in her early teens. I estimate her age to be about 13-15 years old here, and that puts the photo having been taken sometime in the late 1920s. This photo was a mess, lots of stuff to try to clean up and repair, plus it's a little blurry which I can do nothing to fix.
This next photo is my Dad's father, my Papaw Masters. His full name is Malone Roswell Masters. He married the girl on the right in the above photo, though he was 61 years old when this photo was taken. This is pretty much how I remember him; sitting in the shade in a chair and smiling. All of our family pretty much got along with one another really well, but WE ALL loved Papaw Masters like crazy. He was a good, good man and someone we all looked up to. The only time I every personally saw my father cry was a couple of days after Papaw Masters, his dad, died.
This next photo is one that pleased me to no end to find. It's of my Papaw Masters's mother, Lee Anna Masters. She died in 1961, almost exactly a year before I was born. She and my grandfather above lived very hard lives. She conceived and bore my Dad's dad out of wedlock, and raised him on her own in a time and place where things were hard enough without being a bastard and being called that at every turn by the people in the area. It's amazing to me that people can withstand the poverty of the depression and being looked down upon by many of the locals and become fine people who were salt of the earth, dependable people their whole lives. They never had a spare dollar in their lives but they were good, humble people who always lent a hand to those in need. They always called her Miss Lee Anna. Miss Lee Anna is on my short list of people I wish I could have met and gotten to know.
I worked on this last photo, cleaning up scratches and tears until I just got sick of working on it. You can still see big scratches in it, but they're out of the way of the people. This is another of Lee Anna Masters, my paternal great grandmother. That's my Dad's younger brother, Alden, sitting in the background with his feet propped up. In the original photo, Miss Lee Anna was in the shade and you could barely see her. I brightened up the photo quite a bit so that you can at least see her pretty decent here. That's the beauty of digital scans; you can improve some photos over having the original in your hand.
I am a blessed man to have come from such good people. I sure miss them.
Someone a while back mentioned to me that they had a lot of old family photos that have no names or anything on them. It finally hit me last night, after a year and a half of doing this type of scanning, to simply put the names and places (if known) and dates on the front of the photos as I work on them. I have no idea why it took me so long to think of that. At least someone in the future will have at least a little info, if only a name, on the photos I save. Now I have a ton of photos I've worked on in the past to go back and add names and stuff.
I'll try to work on some of my mother's side next and put a few on here.
I've started putting photos up on my photography blog, John's Daily Digital Images, more regularly now if you care to go over and see some new photos of the real Florida.