DECLARATIONS: THE HIDDEN STORIES OF PRINTED PHOTOS (GMA LIBBIS)

At the time of writing this, it's been several months since I considered this series wrapped up.  I am currently working on some future projects and had taken my annual break during the summer when I leave everything behind, let my creative mind reset, and bring my camera along only for 'emergencies' - like this one. 

It's an interesting time for me, as both my husband and I have sets of relatives downsizing and passing along family keepsakes. Of course, many of these include photographs, exposing us to roots we didn't know we had and stories that haven't been told for years.

While visiting my in laws this past summer, I was surrounded by photos and family, trying to piece together the best I could who was who and how I may have been told about them in previous conversations. 

On the table, I saw two portraits, one of a beautiful young woman and another of a handsome sailor, images taken well before this couple was known as 'Grandma Libbis' and 'Grandpa Pete'. Not only did the photos catch my eye but the handwriting on our young grandmother's photo, clearly to a gentleman she had fallen for - presumably, the man we know as Grandpa.

Grandma Libbis telling stories of her many suitors and how she finally met 'The One'.

Grandma Libbis telling stories of her many suitors and how she finally met 'The One'.

I had heard many stories through the years of the love they had for one another and what a strong couple they were (unfortunately, I had never met Grandpa Pete but I am assured I would have been equally in love with him). I realized I had never really heard how they had met, so I started asking questions.

'I had a sweetheart (Marley) from the time I was 10 until about 15.  He was  went away to Japan and that's when I met my husband. 

I fell in love with him the moment I saw him. He came in Momma's grocery store when I was back in the kitchen, because we was making fudge. Momma came came back in there and said, 'You've got to come in here and see this guy.' I told her, 'Momma, I've got three boyfriends already, I don't need another one.' So, anyway, when I went out there and saw him - he was something else. When would go out on a date, Mildred was 3 years younger than me, she would date his first cousin because Momma wouldn't let me go off Pete by myself so Mildred would come, too. What was so funny was when Marley came back from Japan me and Pete had gotten married. We had only told our house and the guests that were living with Momma and Daddy for awhile. Well, every time we'd go up there, Marley would be there with Mildred. Pete would say, 'Well, the only reason he's dating her is he wants you to be jealous.' laughs

Grandma Libbis holds her signed portrait and an image of her loved husband. 

Grandma Libbis holds her signed portrait and an image of her loved husband. 

'Did you actually send this to him? You sent this print to him, you had signed it, and you got it back?!'

tries to read

'It says 'I'll love you always, Elizabeth.'

Pauses. 

'I think I sent that to Marley.'

whole room laughs

'I never went without a boyfriend'