Archive for July, 2012

Sad Eyes Peer Back


To him that over-cometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Revelation 2:7 KJV


My grandmother was from a family of Methodist ministers and kept the faith even in times of turmoil and confusion in her life. When she was six months old, her young mother died nursing the sick during an epidemic. My great-grandfather took the train back to Ohio and left my grandmother and her sister with his in-laws.

Mary Mabel (L) and Jessie Poulson

Letters in my possession reflect a lonely child imploring her father to write and visit more. He didn’t. He relocated to Pennsylvania and remarried. His new wife and he had a second family. He never returned for the girls.

Her maternal grandparents raised her and her sister, Grace, in an extended family on their farm in Ohio. Sad eyes peer back from photos taken during her childhood. What was she thinking? Did she feel abandoned? Did she wonder why her father didn’t love her?

She never judged him. She never withheld her love as punishment for his lack of attention. Her love was boundless. As a true Christian would, she was there for him when he died at age ninety-three. God said honor your mother and father. She never questioned our Lord’s word.

When I started doing the family genealogy fifteen years ago, I made it a goal to find the names of all the twenty-two people in the photograph with my grandmother. She is about eight or ten years old so I knew it was taken at her grandparents in Ohio.

It took me about ten years of research to determine everyone’s name. It’s funny how you build a relationship with people you have never met. Suddenly, you feel you know them. You know their likes and dislikes. Although, it’s more likely your perceptions are wrong. Still, through my research I found that my great-great-grandfather bred Percheron draft horses. In the photo he is showing the animal for the photographer as if he were competing in the Ohio State Fair. If pride be a sin, this man is brimming over with transgressions. What I, his grand-daughter, choose to see is a man with unrelenting love for both men and animals. Grandpa Neptune was a man who provided food and shelter to four generations of his family, including his mother-in-law. He was a true man of God.

How many times do we get pictures back and never make a note of the date or who is in the picture for future reference. Okay, scrap bookers do. Anyone else?

Pictures as we know them date back to the Civil War. The wet plate process required a rolling dark room of chemicals to dry glass plate negatives. In 1885 George Eastman developed a wet plate film at the same time American and European companies invented lighter weight, less cumbersome cameras. Eastman introduced the world to film on rolls to make photography available to everyone.

Vintage print: A positive image that has been developed by the photographer from the original negative at the time the picture is taken.

Non-vintage print: A print made at a later date from the negative. Reprints can usually be identified.

Original prints may start at just a few dollars depending on the subject and period of the photo. Civil War period photos start higher as the time period and historical value are factors. The terms “antique” and “vintage” means you are going to pay more for the item. Frames can also add to the value of the piece. A bubble glass frame may have kept the encased photo from being damaged and helped determine age, but please be aware that bubble glass frames can also be reproductions.


Let me be a blessing in the lives of others. My transgressions were forgiven. I am loved. May I lead others to Your Grace. Thank you for providing us with those people in our life who model the principles of a true Christian. May I walk in their footsteps and exhibit those principles in each day of my life.


Trivia: George Eastman and his mother made up the word Kodak for his simple roll film cameras. They used an anagram set. George Eastman was creating his own publicity and decided the name should be short, pronounceable, and not associated with anything else but his product. Kodak caught on with the public, so he added it permanently to the company name.



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