Yesterday, I started going through my old paperwork in preparation of my move to Utah.
Within my paper files I found two items that had slipped between some of my papers -- an old collar tag from a dog of long ago and some primitive drawings made by my young granddaughter. These were nice finds and much beloved. I laid them aside to re-file later. Then I came upon an old school photo that had been missing for over twenty years. That photo is at the top of this post.
Someone's handwriting on the photo states, "Portland High", and a date of 1895 which I take to be the year the photo was taken. Following this information are a few seemingly afterthought words -- "burned later." This is all that is revealed about the old school.
Now I never went to this school but I did at one time live in the charming town of Portland, Michigan where the school was once located. And while there, in my spare time, I became an antique photo collector.
There was a flea market in small town Portland that always had groups of old photos for sale. You know the ones that are going for high prices now. Well, I used to pick them up for fifty cents up to the grand sum of maybe three dollars. It was fun to peruse through all the old pics and get a glimpse of the culture that was current, say in the mid to late 1800s -- dogs sitting on chairs, men in outdoor occupations, old store fronts, and circus performers from that bygone era. I even found a photo of the circus performers Tiny Tim and his wife with their signatures on the back of the cardboard backing. Little did I know that all of these photos would be so collectible in the future.
Then I moved from this charming town. Far away to the west coast area. I carried my collection with me.
After a few years I was in the throes of moving again. I cleaned out what I could live without and the photo collection was marked to sell. I sold them all to an antique dealer for what I paid for them.
Many years later I became somewhat remorseful that I had parted with all of them -- not for the money sake but for their subject matter of common folkways.
When I first found the above school photo in my papers yesterday, I smiled -- it was the only one left from all that I had collected while living in Portland. Now, putting aside remorse, it will serve as a reminder of the fun I once had collecting all those old photos of folks, animals and architecture of that long ago era.