Here are two photos from my Grandpa’s collection. Since Grandpa’s photos are almost always of family members, it’s rare to find one with people that I can’t identify. But these two photos are a complete mystery to me.
The photos show a bunch of young people, some of them in baseball uniforms, and one of the photos is labeled “after the game”. So clearly it’s a group of young friends gathering after a baseball game, or maybe celebrating a victory.
Here’s the first photo. (Click on the photo to see a larger version).
And here’s the second photo, showing some of the same people, but with labels that look like surnames. (Again, click on photo for a larger version).
I really love these photos, and maybe more because they are such a mystery to me. As usual with these older photos, I love just staring into the faces of the people in the photo and imagining what it would be like to have been there on that day, talking to everybody, getting to know them.
What’s great is that this isn’t your standard old photo, with everybody in the photo stiffly posed and unsmiling. The young people in the photo look happy, almost flushed with the excitement of the day. Every face tells a different story: pride, determination, “coolness”, or just plain happiness.
I especially like the couple who appear in the center of the first photo:
These two have wonderful faces. We’re looking back in time 80 years or more, but with the energy and excitement in the couple’s faces, we can easily imagine them as young friends of ours.
I also like the doubly-stacked, jauntily tilted straw hats. The silliness hints at the sort of day that everyone was having–just being crazy, goofing around, having fun.
There are other faces that are equally fascinating, like the guy and two girls in the front row:
(I’m half convinced that the girl on the left is my grandmother, but I’ve asked other family members to confirm this).
24 Mar 2009: An Uncle confirmed that this is not my Grandmother–so the mystery continues.
There is something in the faces of these three that also tells a story. We might imagine the young man as romantically interested in the girl at the left, or the girl on the right as also a close friend of both of them. The body language might be telling us a lot. The man has his hand lazily draped over the girl’s shoulder, drawing close to her. The girl on the right, in turn, drapes her arm around the man’s shoulder and holds his elbow with her other hand. The image makes me really curious to know who these three were and to understand their connection with each other.
Here’s another face from the past that I love–wearing what looks like catcher’s gear:
What a great face! The boy appears younger than the other players and clearly seems proud to be a part of the team.
A quick google search turns up a web page depicting what looks like exactly the catcher’s outfit that the boy is wearing:
The second photo also has some wonderful faces to stare into. Note the two girls in the center of the photo, one of them wearing the catcher’s mitt:
If you look at the large version of the photo, you can also make out “Same gang” written on the face of the photo.
I did a little searching on the name “C. W. Fenners”, but didn’t turn anything up. My guess is that this is some local business that sponsored the team. The next step might be to go browse through the St. Paul, MN city directories from the mid-1920s and see if I can’t find a business with that name. The other avenue to pursue might be to do some searching on the listed surnames to see if I could verify whether all of these people lived in a particular part of town.
In the end, maybe these sorts of photos are the most interesting–the ones that tell us a story, but which contain stories that elude us.