I mentioned this photo album in an earlier post. It's strange, not because of the content, but because of the context. Though the pages are all in the album, most of the photos are not. Occasionally there are a few complete pages, all photos in place. Most of the time it's pages with photo corners and captions, no photos at all. But the captions tell a story, though I'm not really sure what it is.

We'll start with this, the front of the generic looking photo album.

Inside the front cover handwritten in white ink it says:
Chas. E. Thomas
Route #1
Bristow, Ky.
Then on the very first page we get these two shots with captions.

(Remember you can click on any image to see it larger.)

This is Charles with his wife . Okay, that's fine. Charles and his wife liked this bridge. Charles liked his wife. And I'm thinking, because of other captions in the album, Charles helped to build this bridge. All fine and dandy. And then we get to the next recto page and we have this:

So oops! the same photo twice. It could happen. But the very next page? He didn't remember it on page 1? That's okay, there's no pattern here. It's a simple mistake. He loved his wife Juanita. He was her second husband. But he loved his little Kentucky wife and couldn't get enough of her so no big deal. He repeated a photo. Won't do it again.

Not so fast. On page 5 we get these lovely shots of Juanita.

And then on page 7 we get...well you can see for yourself.

So it's getting harder to give Charles the benefit of the doubt, though you might be inclined that way. I'm about to convince you to come over to my side. I give you page 7.

We always have to remember when looking at other people's albums that they don't need to make sense to us. We only hope they made sense to the album owner. In this case? Well I sure haven't a clue.

More photos to come from this album, but for now this is my Sepia Saturday submission.


  1. Quite an interesting story here. I loved the way you presented it. My mom's album has a lot of pages but many photos missing. I guess they just fell out and never put back. I love your quote about they are not for us, but for the owner. Great post.

  2. Forget the guy. Forget the girl. Doesn't it seem a bit odd? The bridge, I mean. You could obviously walk out on it (like they've both demonstrated), but I don't think I'd drive a bike, car or a tricycle onto it.

  3. This album also once contained pages with money from Germany, Belgium, and France, all removed. Photos of the second wife are also removed. So someone went through and removed everything that was of value to them and tossed the rest of this aside. Makes it all a bit bittersweet.

    As to the bridge, it was under construction. I did find one caption that says "I worked on this bridge" and another one that says "Built in 1948-49-50" so when these shots were taken, '49, it was under construction.

  4. it is strange. i like the way her hair is blowing up on the last couple of repeat photos. sort of distinguishes them from the rest.

  5. Whew! I was just so relieved not to see pictures of wife #1 on bridge, followed by pictures of wife #2 on bridge...and then wife #3 and #4. I would have been worried.

    The other things that strikes me is that the pictures are labeled "Charles and first wife", so presumably they were put in the album after he was married to wife #2. I wonder how she felt about looking at all of those duplicates!

  6. By 1951 Charles was onto his next wife, Hattie. Quite a few captions for Hattie, but no photos. There is a photo of wife #1, Juanita, with her first husband in 1939.

    It is a very strange album. And Charles seems to have known a lot of ladies.

  7. Christine H. - too funny!

    The more I look at these photos and read the captions, the more curious I become. Some observations:

    - Sometimes he is Chas, sometimes Charles
    - Sometimes she is Juanita Thomas, sometimes Juanita, sometimes just Wife
    - The handwriting for the first couple of photos is different than the rest
    - So Juanita is Chas' 1st wife but he is her 2nd husband?
    - As for the repeating photos, I can only think that he must have ordered double prints and didn't want them to go to waste.

    I look forward to seeing more from the album!

  8. This is very intriguing and you've done an excellent job of presenting it. I find myself wondering, too. Perhaps Charles liked some of the photos so much he couldn't help repeating them. It's all rather quirky and mysterious.

  9. I'm not as old as Charles but I'm old enough to remember when we took 6 photos of the same thing hoping 1 of them would come out. When 5 of them turned out decent, they all went into the album! No strangeness here. He just couldn't part with all the good ones.

    But there is strangeness in a photo album that includes 1st wife and 2nd wife - at least it seems strange to me!

    Wouldn't it be great if a relative of Charles found your post?!

  10. What a find! My imagination is running wild with all the possibilities! I can't wait to see more from this toss-aside treasure!

  11. No they don't have to make sense, but perhaps they do tell us something about the people who put the albums together. Heaven knows what someone looking at some of my albums 50 years in the future might think (or perhaps they will just look at my blogs - even worse)

  12. Oh Alan, yes. Isn't that a frightening thought that even if we delete our blogs cached versions might live on for quite awhile. Something to think about.

  13. "and his first wife"?...
    how many did he had???
    so he didn't want to waste a print?
    so what?!?
    if he was happy,
    that's all that matters!!
    (but it is a bit odd indeed...)