To the editor:
Everyone loves a mystery! Well, I’ve got one for you. Who are these women? What’s their story?
How did this photo of them end up in the thrift shop?
I picked up this picture at the Miles Memorial Hospital League thrift shop in Damariscotta. (The thrift shop is a local treasure trove of all types of items, and it does tremendous good for the community.) At first it was just a nice old photograph of some ladies from a bygone era. But the more I looked, the more it seemed to be something more. Strange, really. Well, maybe intriguing and interesting and somehow oddly captivating is more like it.
Most intriguing and interesting, of course, are the women. They are young and old; dressed in their housecoats and their finery. They appear rich and not-so-rich. Are they sisters or cousins with Mom or Grandma (or maybe not)? Who knows?
And there’s more: The lady on the left is striking. She looks like Eleanor Roosevelt: the hat, the fur, and the beautiful necklace. The lady on the far right is almost her equal. They are bookends to the women in the middle. The ladies in the middle are dressed in almost identical costumes; they are older and they are hatless. Are they mother and eldest sister? Did they have a nice visit and this is the end before the younger sisters drive back to the city? And just as they’re ready to go they had their picture taken in front of a fine automobile?
The car appears to be an early 1930s Buick (maybe a model 40). It has two doors, a double bumper, and a fine hood ornament. It looks as though the finely dressed city folk have come to visit the more modestly dressed country folk in their fine automobile. The car seems to date the photo to the early 1930s. The Depression is just getting going. Franklin Roosevelt and World War II are coming … soon.
The photo is oddly colorized. The women, the sky, the pine trees, and the roof of the building (but not the side) are colorized … the car and the rest of the photo are left in original black and white.
Lastly, who took the photograph? Did the camera belong to one of the women? If the photograph was taken in 1930, they are all gone now. Who were they and how did they end up in the Miles Memorial thrift shop? As with so many old photographs, the mystery remains. The photo now sits on my desk. I’ve become very fond of the ladies, whoever they are. So if you know the backstory, I’d love to find out more about them.
Oh, and happy hunting at the thrift shop!