I live among the dead and I have never felt so alive. My brother brought a mother lode of old family photos, childhood memories and vintage landmarks over to my house. The night he brought the pictures to me I wept; I was so overwhelmed by seeing my past life in photos that all those moments flooded back to me. I was a child again and so much promise and possibility lay ahead of me. Oh, if I'd only known then... I am happier than I have ever been in my life today, don't get me wrong, yet I know I could have done more with the gifts God gave to me and I certainly could have been better to my family. Now I can only look at their faces frozen in time on little square pieces of photographic paper. I miss them all and even the ones I don't know make me wonder what it was like for them coming to America from Italy - afraid, poor, and unable to speak English. They must have sought out other Italians after being herded through Ellis Island like cattle, with their pride ripped from their hearts and shame on their faces as strangers changed their names because they were "too hard to pronounce." They were here now - America, the promised land!We have a picture of great-grandmother and her family taken in the late 1800s, a lithograph. An old Italian soldier stands in the back row. I'm afraid we will never know his name or story now. The woman on the bottom left is my great-aunt. She looks eerily exactly like my mother, as if reincarnation were true. Many birthdays and Christmases are photographed - all those special occasions that warranted the expense of a picture; not like with today's digital camera that allows you to photograph every moment in your life, significant or not. In our family, money was precious and they paid dearly to capture their loved ones on film.
"A sinister cabal of superior writers."