DECLARATIONS: THE HIDDEN STORIES OF PRINTED PHOTOS (MS. Vivian)

It wasn't planned, you can barely even see us (let alone recognize us) but I am so grateful to have a photo of my husband's and my first date together. In celebration of my own anniversary, I thought it would be appropriate to share Ms. Vivian's photo with you of one of her first dates with her husband. 

After exchanging pleasantries, I looked around the room; it was clear to me what photo must be her favorite. 

Classic black and white, this photo looked like something out of an advertisement. Two fresh faced, beaming young adults so naturally beautiful and passing their joyful smiles right back to whomever was their audience. There wasn't any indication of the scene, though they were clearly at the beach. I wondered if it were a quiet getaway or if the gang from Beach Blanket Bingo were in the background. Whatever was going on, I wanted to be there. 

Ms. Vivian, resident of Crofton Care and Rehabilitation Center, holding a photo of her husband and her during one of their first dates.

Ms. Vivian, resident of Crofton Care and Rehabilitation Center, holding a photo of her husband and her during one of their first dates.

When I expressed how much I loved this picture, she sort of laughed and said, "Really?" as though she couldn't have understood why. I told her I wished my husband and I had one just like it and asked if it was one of her favorites; she sort of shrugged. "My children went through some of my stuff, found it and kept it. Stored it away with other family things and when they went through it again, they liked it so much they framed it. They made a copy and told me to put it out."

I had to laugh, mainly because I could see having the same conversation with my own family. 

"There must be some importance to this photograph. What was going on at the time?''

“My husband had just come back from WWII, a Marine, and it was one of our first dates that we went to – the beach. That’s why he doesn’t have a shirt on. He was only 18 when he went into the Marines to fight in the South Pacific and I was just graduating high school (I didn’t know him before). That was the only action he was in, not quite 2 years.

My sister and he were on the same college campus and one Sunday morning when we all got out of church, she introduced me to him. This photo would have been taken amongst the first 5 dates. I don’t think [our date] was that much different; he would pick me up, we would go to Virginia Beach. I’m not a swimmer but he is. I imagine he just took me home and I probably asked when we could go out again. I don't know what we were laughing at but probably my sister because I still have this picture."

I loved that she was confident enough to ask for another date and have to think her then suitor must have thought the same. 

I asked her, "If that isn't your favorite photo of the two of you, what is?"

She pointed to a more formal picture of the two of them, clearly a little later in their marriage. "I would have to say this one. I'm not sure why or what we were doing. But we were together."

Ms. Vivian and her husband, later in their marriage.

Ms. Vivian and her husband, later in their marriage.