The Gold Mine in the Closet

Boxes and boxes of photos.

That’s what Sugar has in a closet.  Many of them are labeled; some are not, but he knows who they are for the most part.

We’ve been sifting through these photos for about a week and a half, and I’m starting to recognize people, places, and things.  Nouns in black and white, they are.  Little sniplets of life, in a box or three, in a closet.

He drew out a select series of photos relating to Edisto Island, to start.  Sugar’s parents knew Chalmers and Faith Murray, and spent time living with them, both before and after Sugar was born.  He remembers bits and pieces, little snapshots of his own.

Some of the photos are loose, and some were attached by glue dots to the classic photo/scrapbook style pages of heavy, construction-paper-like stock, and some were enlarged to a 5×7 size.  Sugar thinks that his dad liked some of the smaller ones so much that he had them enlarged.

So I’ll start here and sort them out a bit as I go.

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The page above show shots of Edisto in 1947.  There’s a shot of the river, a former slave cabin, the dog Meechie, and a shot of an upstairs window.

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The next page, which you’ll see above, shows Sugar’s father washing dishes in a bucket, outside on the grass.  When they stayed with the Murrays, there was no electricity or running water in the house, on purpose.  The Murrays chose to live that way.  Also above you’ll see another shot of the river, a man driving an oxcart, and another shot of a tree that you saw on the very first page.

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I cropped this one out of the photo above. You can see in greater detail that there are tools in the back of the cart, and it doesn’t appear that this cart was used for hauling heavy loads.

The next page is striking.  It’s one large photo glued to the paper.  The photo can be clicked on to enlarge.  I see two people in front of the house, a clothesline in the back, perhaps an outhouse.  This is a classic style of slave cabin that was built on Edisto Island.

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Here’s Oxcart Man again, in greater detail, and also the tree by the river.

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I’ve cropped Oxcart Man out of the page above, and I think that’s a handsaw in the cart.  I’d be interested to know what you think.

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It must be springish here.  Nothing is growing is the field, and there’s no leftover greenery from crops.  The curtains have blown outside the windows.

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Next, here’s a little fun in the sun.  This was the summer before Sugar was born.  Here’s his father and mother in a boat in 1946.  We’re guessing this photo was made by Faith Murray.  When you see the other photos, you’ll see why we can guess who the photographer is of each photo.

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Sugar’s mother and Faith Murray at Edisto Island in 1946, most probably taken by Sugar’s father.  Note the glue dots from where the photos were once in an album.

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And to round out the trio of photos, here’s one of Sugar’s father and Faith Murray, most probably shot by Sugar’s mother.

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Here’s the house where Sugar and his family stayed when they visited the Murrays. Sugar says there’s an addition to the house on the left, but it’s hard to see here.

Here’s fun bit.  I wondered why someone took a photo of an upper-story window.  Sugar said there’s someone there, and he thinks it’s his mother.  I think it must be, too, and see where’s it’s handwritten that this was in 1947?  Sugar was born in late summer 1947, so I think  that his mother is pregnant here, but that’s just me talking.  I don’t know that for a fact, but if I had just delivered, I don’t think I’d be off for a vacation at the beach without running water and electricity.  You can click on this photo, or any of the photos, to enlarge, and wonder along with me.

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So you know after looking at all these photos, we’re planning a day trip to Edisto Island.  Today was our first best chance, but cold and windy?  We went to the grocery store instead, because we’re brave pioneers like that.

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2 Responses to “The Gold Mine in the Closet”

  1. currentdescendent Says:

    What treasures!

    Liked by 1 person

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