I don't know when I'd have ever found this photo.

I live in the area in California that was recently ravaged by fires. I did not lose my home, but I know some of those that did. It was two weeks of monitoring news nonstop waiting to find where the evacuation lines had been redrawn. Hospitals were closed, phone lines were down, cell phone coverage was spotty, and trying to contact doctors for my ailing father was impossible for days. Panic began to set in as I tried to gather family documents and photos for the possible evacuation and at the same time wondered where to go for the medical care my father so desperately needed.

I remember taking a shoebox out of a closet and looking inside to find photos I didn't remember. There was no time to ponder the contents, just get them in the car, and move on to the next box and files. Over the next few weeks I kept thinking about this box and the photo of my grandmother that was on the top of the pile. I think the box had probably been put in the closet over thirty years ago.

Finally, with some calm returning to life, about a week ago I decided to look through the box. I was dumbfounded by some of what I found. This woman is my great-grandmother and I never knew I had this photo. In fact, I didn't think I had any photos of this woman. She died giving birth to her second daughter, my grandmother's sister. My grandmother was too young to remember her mother and I'd always assumed there were no pictures of her. I've looked online hoping through genealogy searches that I'd find some distant relative that might have a photo of her. Nope, nothing. I've never even found her obituary. She just seemed to be an elusive spirit I would never see. So it was a great and pleasant shock to find not one but three photos of her from childhood to near when she died.

So, if it hadn't been for the fire I might not have found my great-grandmother for many more years. Her life was not filled with joy and it was cut short causing my grandmother even more grief in her life. But now a hole in my heart is a little smaller knowing Sara will no longer be forgotten.

This is my first time back with Sepia Saturday in months. My life as a twenty-four hour a day caregiver has forced me to put most things on the back burner. I will try my best to make the rounds in the coming days and look forward to reading the other Sepia posts. 

This photo is not within the theme, but it is for me a grand photo taken with a camera even more important than the one in the Sepia theme photo.

And though I found something joyful because of the fires, I will never forget the thousands left homeless who lost everything. The scar on the land will eventually disappear, but the emotional scars will be here for decades.


A BICYCLE in Summer

As a kid summer wouldn't have been the same without a bicycle. Summer meant freedom from school. Each morning meant freedom to have an adventure.

A ride up the road to the pear orchards to where the new houses were being built, pilfering wayward nails from the building site, back home to work on the tree house.

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Or maybe it was a ride into town to check out what was new at the toy store and a stop at the deli for a sandwich.

Maybe just a ride up to the school grounds to see if anyone was hanging around the basketball courts.

Riding with friends. No helmets. No handbrakes. Just bandaids on our knees covering up the scratches that had just been sprayed with Bactine. Apparently Bactine is still made, but I haven't seen any in decades. I'd like to smell it again. It's one of those smells from childhood that I sort of miss.

This is my submission for Sepia Saturday and a wish that all fellow Sepians remember the good times a bicycle gave them.


The Cavalry FAN DANCER

With leave being weeks away, the guys were getting anxious for a little entertainment. Henry said he'd seen a fan dancer in the big city and thought he could recreate it. The guys weren't convinced, but here's Henry out looking for his costume.



The Writing's ON THE WALL

My submission for Sepia Saturday are amateur portraits of women. I'm especially drawn to shots of woman with textured backgrounds. That's as deep as I'll get this week other than to say many women go through life feeling invisible. It doesn't get any better as they get older. You can imagine these women fading into their backgrounds.

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Just your average Cavalry fleamarket. Old trucks, boxes of Jello, and items you won't find anyplace else. Open only on Saturday. Best hour 14:50.

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The PACKAGE from Home

A pack of gum? A love letter folded up like origami? What has these two fellows so fascinated and the third working as the lookout? My mind runs in all sorts of directions.

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This photo is from the Louise Bigelow Schnabel album, same as the last post with the goat.