I feel so lucky that my parent's home has sort of become the informal repository for a large measure of the family history archives. Paging through innumerable albums and digging through boxes of letters, greeting cards, documents, and assorted ephemera provides me with an endless amount of well-intentioned time wasting. It never fails that I brave their garage in order to find some useful tool and instead end up waist-deep in a genealogical avalanche of my own making - ours is less a family tree and more a family quicksand pit.
I find it all fascinating but take particular interest in the photos. It is wonderful to see pictures of one's grandparents as school children. It is hilarious to see one's parents as awkward teenagers. It is in equal measure interesting and unsettling to stumble across a picture of an unknown and distant relative only to realize that he is the genetic explanation for one's crooked teeth and nose. It is even more disturbing to discover a picture of one's great-great grandfather as he lie peacefully in his coffin with a spray of calla lilies trembling on the verge of their own demise.
|Hiya, Gramps! Not feeling too well, huh?|
|Even better than the photograph, is the fact that it was turned into a postcard - ostensibly |
as a souvenir for the mourning friends and family who were unable to attend the funeral.
Is it better or worse do you think, the obviousness of his condition in this photograph rather than the slightly earlier photos of the Victorian-era bodies lovingly propped up into startlingly-lifelike positions and situations? "Be damned cholera, this husband and wife loved to recite the works of Shakespeare by lamplight," they seem to say from beyond the grave. It is all so delightfully ghastly.
I never considered my family particularly macabre but we grew up with several reminders of death around the house, including this little gem.
This Victorian coffin plaque/casket plate continues to hang on the bath...er, restroom door.
I definitely come by my appreciation for the absurd honestly.
Do you have any family photos of this nature? Do they spook you or intrigue you? However you feel about post-mortem photos, we hope that you have a picture-perfect Halloween!