On Tuesday morning I stopped in to see Mom. Today is her birthday and she will be 81 years old. She is going with her friend to the US for a day of shopping, so I won't see her. I wanted to spend a little time with her and we had some business to do and she wanted my help.
Just before I left Mom's, she was showing me the quilts that she had made for the babies of the family for Christmas and the presents she had bought for her granddaughters. We stepped into her bedroom and I saw something that I hadn't seen in years. I exclaimed how I loved it and she told me to take it home.
Apparently this photo of my great-great grandparents, Jim and Elizabeth, has been in the basement since Mom moved for the farm. Mom found it the other day and decided it needed some TLC. She brought it upstairs, dusted it off and wondered what in the world she'd ever do with it. To me it is a real family treasure. The frame is damaged but I told her that I would touch it up with a bit of paint or dye and hang it over my antique wash stand in the computer room.
When I brought the photograph into the house, hubby asked if that was my grandfather, who passed away at the age of 93 in 1998 - on hubby's birthday no less. I told him no, it was my grandfather's grandparents. He commented on how Grandpa Jim looked so much like my grandfather.
I have heard stories of Great-Great Grandpa Jim all of my life. He was a veterinarian, but doctored as many people as he did animals. He delivered many babies in his life and faced such things as smallpox, scarlet fever, polio, cholera and the black plague, which hit this area in the early 1920s. What a time for him to be a doctor. I'm sure there were times when he was bone-tired from keeping watch over humans as well as animals. He drove his horse and buggy to the homes of his patients through rain, hail, wind, sleet and snow. Well, he drove the horse and sleigh in the winter. What doctor would do that today?
I never knew Dr. Jim. He died before I was born, as did his wife, Elizabeth. The couple had seven children. They were Nettie, Nell, Jennie, Dave, James, Hugh and William. Of all of those children, I only ever knew one and that was Uncle Hugh. He was very old when I was young and died about the time I was 4 years old. I can't remember much about him, but do remember that he stayed at my grandparents for a time.
I am very interested in family history and this old photo has piqued my interest in genealogy even more. What about Grandma Elizabeth? What kind of a life did she live, taking care of the house without any modern conveniences and raising seven children? How did she feel about Dr. Jim being called out to care for sick humans and animals all times of the day and night? What about all of the times that Dr. Jim was away for a few days performing his duties as a physician and veterinarian? How did she cope? If only this antique photograph could talk. What a story it would tell.
Unfortunately, the antique frame, which is the original, is damaged. Here is where I'd like your opinion. I want to touch the frame up with paint or dye, as previously stated. Hubby wants me to leave it as is. He says that it will lose its originality if I do that and he thinks that would devalue it. Of course I never plan to sell it, so I can't see where it would make a difference. Please leave your opinion in the comment area. Should I touch up the frame or leave it in its orignal frame with the damage?
Have a pleasant day and enjoy the sights, sounds and fragrances of the season. ~Blessings, Mary~