When you are the daughter of photographers, you have your picture taken a lot.
Like, a lot, a lot.
So when you are the great-granddaughter of photographers, you have seen a lot of photos of your Grandma.
Like, a lot, a lot.
So sometimes, the photos kind of blur together in your memory. And sometimes, bits of stories and treasures in those photos go unnoticed.
And then, every now and again, a detail pops out of a photo and smacks you in the face for the first time. The detail was always there, but it went completely unnoticed until one day, it didn’t.
I scanned this photo. A long time ago. But I scanned it. That means I looked at it at least three times. Once before I put it on the glass, once on my computer screen, and then again when I pulled it off the glass. But who knows how many other times I looked at it? I don’t.
But just last night when I was flipping through images to choose a photo to share, a detail in this photo jumped right out at me for the first time.
The pendant my Grandma is wearing didn’t belong to her. I don’t know if it ever did.
There have been three owners that I know of.
First – my great-grandmother, Hope Estelle Maffit. According to my mother, it was an anniversary gift given on the first anniversary of her marriage to my great-grandfather in 1931.
Second – my mother. I remember her wearing it a lot when I was growing up. Only ever on Sundays, but still, she wore it a lot. I frequently wore my mother’s jewelry but I don’t remember ever wearing this. I loved it, but I never wore it. Maybe I wasn’t allowed. I don’t remember.
Third – me. A surprise. Last year when I went for a visit, my mom gave it to me. I didn’t know what to say. I don’t think I ever told her how much I loved it. But of all the pieces of jewelry she owned, it was the one item I would have chosen for myself after she is gone.
Treasure doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about it.
But finding it in this photograph last night – there just aren’t words to explain how this photograph struck me.
Four generation of women.
One pendant. A gift to symbolize love. A love that is one-eighth of my story.
A treasure, to be sure.