photograph showcase, updates

Photograph Showcase: Grandpa Costello & His Guitar, aka Photo Heaven ❤️

COSTELLO, John playing his guitar, November 1960
John Costello, November 1960. Photo courtesy of Barbara Costello.

In May of this year, I shared my joy at finding 7 seconds of video of my great grandfather, John Costello.  In that post I shared that I have exactly 5 photos of my great grandfather.

Guess what?

That is not the case any longer!!


{Insert major genealogy happy dancing & celebrating right here.}


In July, my sister visited our grandaunt Barbara.  Barbara is the widow of Dan Costello.  Dan is the son of our great grandfather, John Costello.

Aunt Barbara sent my sister home with a lovely chalk drawing created by John’s wife, that I shared last week.  She also sent her home with a small, but very precious, bundle of photographs for me to scan and return.

This photo of Grandpa Costello was among them.  My heart is bursting with joy to see Grandpa Costello in – what I am guessing is his living room? – playing his guitar.  He didn’t like having his picture taken, so each photo is extra special.  Here he is, as a 67 year old man, still playing his guitar.  Be still my heart.



Have you been blessed to have photos shared with you, photos you weren’t expecting to ever see?



ps – Thank you!! for all of the input and advice about my letter collection.  I really appreciate each of your comments, emails, and poll answers.  Between all of you and some conversations with family, I think I have made a tentative plan.  I think.  The part I know for sure is that I will not be sharing the letters here.  My goal is to be ready to begin sharing them with family in January.

As a side note, my sister talked me through every possible way of sharing, all of the issues to consider – both for those who are deceased and those who are living, plus the time required for each avenue.  In all of that discussing, she helped me have an interesting and very valuable a-ha moment.  There are letters missing.  I know this for sure.  There are also letters that have been edited by scissors or permanent marker – by Grandma.  That leads us to believe that she definitely destroyed many letters, leaving no trace, and that the ones that remain that were marked “destroy”, were either too special to her to destroy or she changed her mind about their fate.  We can’t know for certain, but it has impacted our position on how to handle those letters.  One thing all of this has caused me to reflect upon, is what my own wishes are for my personal items like journals and letters.  Hopefully I can make my wishes clear so one day my granddaughter will know exactly what I would have wanted her to do.



24 thoughts on “Photograph Showcase: Grandpa Costello & His Guitar, aka Photo Heaven ❤️”

  1. I look forward to seeing the other photos. And I am glad you’ve come to some peace about the letters. Great and sweet photo of your grandfather!

  2. I’ve been a bit emotionally absent from WP and missed your post about the letters. I’m glad you have resolution. I have a few letters my mum has given me which are very personal and powerful. The writer in me wants to publish them, but I know in my heart that is not the right thing to do at this time. We have to have these discussions and ruminations to stop our intellectual researchers brains running away with our humanity.

    1. Yes, we really do. Another issue I regularly have is that I always have good intentions in my use of information, but not everyone is that way. So I constantly have to reevaluate how much and what I share to protect my loved ones and myself. I’m so glad that you have those treasures. Have you scanned and made some back-ups? I hope your son (or a grandchild) will value them as much as you do. <3 I hope everything is okay with you…

      1. I’ve been a bit lax with protecting such things. It’s always on my “when I have time” list, and always falls to the bottom when other things come up. At the moment, the boy-child is unwell and that’s taking a lot of my time and energy. And I thought it would get easier as they grew up! 🙂

  3. I feel the same way. I found my Mom’s journals after she passed on. They were intended to be a way for her to record memories and ideas for our family history project. I first thought about scanning them but then decided not to. Instead we review them and get ideas on how to best convey the information if it is something others will enjoy and learn from. Other details are too particular and wouldn’t be something everyone needs to know or would benefit from. I think maintaining control is very important.

    1. I agree! Especially with journals. I wish people would more frequently choose to write some sort of personal history (using their journals as guides if they choose) that is intended for public family consumption. I certainly wasn’t thinking about grandchildren and great grandchildren when I was a much younger journal writer. Which doesn’t necessarily mean that I would want them hidden, but maybe not scanned and shared. I suppose I need to read them and make my own plan.

      1. Yes, sit down and make a plan for what is publicly shared and what is for you & yours only. My Uncle and I realize that as our family history comes closer to the mid-late 20th century we begin to hit the times when mostly everyone is still alive. There are privacy concerns, permissions needed and many touchy things to consider in the case of people we have drifted apart from or not heard from.

        One way to treat this is to pick a theme for the public sharing that everyone can relate to. We are going to focus on our educations and teachers who were important along with the elder generation. Of course there will be wrinkles in the story, but this shouldn’t detract from the telling and the message. But when there are details too specific we will put those in end notes for private reading only. Some picky things about the neighborhood or city politics at that time are too too local for others and would detract from the focus which is how our teachers became a part of the family away from the family.

        1. I really need to do that. I’m feeling good about the fact that I’m thinking about it now instead of in 30 years. Hopefully it will give me lots of time to ruminate on it. 😉

  4. This post is very thought-provoking post. , I really like how you described “all of the issues to consider – both for those who are deceased and those who are living, plus the time required for each avenue.” I don’t have answers, but I’ve grappled with similar issues.

    1. Thank you Sheryl. It is so complicated to share our ancestor’s stories respectfully, especially the ones we know the most about. I just hope I can represent their lives well and in a way they would be proud of.

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