Volume II, No. 4, Summer 1975
Like a memory preserving time the early photographer captured a split second fragment of life. Through old pictures we see not only the rigid faces, but under the artificial poses we see reflected evidences of the people's attitudes and self-reliance. When several of these photographic fragments are studied more closely, they fit together forming a picture of family solidarity. One of the most important attitudes the photographs have preserved is the importance of the family unit whose strength and companionship supported the men, women and children as they worked and played. Most of the individual efforts were centered around the family whose influence radiated out to the fields, shops, stores and schools.
Complying with man's constant desire of being remembered, these photographic segments preserve the memory of a time when a man left more than his picture. He left a part of himself eternally etched on his land by what he built with his hands. His strong character and bright mind served him well. In one way his style of life seems simpler and less complicated in comparison to ours, but in other ways it was deeper and more self-reliant. Today's simple tasks were a challenge. Lacking stores at which to buy things ready-made, he constructed them with his own tools, molding his life with his hands. Having many daily challenges, he looked to his family as a source of relaxation, but they were also a motivation for succeeding.
To the wife and mother the family was also a source of joy and pleasure, yet in many ways it was her employer. She had a great deal of responsibility--the preparation of food, making of clothes and handling a growing household were only a few of her tasks. Working long and tiring hours her reward lay in the closeness of her family. Out of pride she stood beside her husband and out of devotion she served her family. As they grew the children played, learned and worked in the security of their family. They learned responsibility early along with respect and appreciation for their opportunities in life. As each family member fitted in his slot in creating the family unity, the photographic fragments also had their role in shaping our view of the past.
Appreciation for loan of old photos to:
Grace Manchester Johnson
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