Images Salvaged from the Fire

Satchel great-grandfather arrived with
Satchel great-grandfather arrived with

A family uprooted is placed into a very precarious situation.  They are surrounded by a foreign culture and within two or three generations they could lose their roots.  However, if there is a tangible object from the “old country” that is passed on to future generations the likelihood of this happening is greatly reduced.             When my great-grandfather arrived on American shores his only possession was a satchel in which were many photos of the family.  I see a lot of faces that despite having never seen or spoken to in person, are very familiar.  How? you may ask.  There are people in these photos who look just like members of my family today.  Though they were born over one hundred years ago they are yet so familiar.  This is the paradox all people face when they encounter their ancestors.  On the one hand there is the impenetrable wall time raises between the two parties.  On the other, they are the most familiar faces we know.             There is one in particular that happens to speak to me.  It contains around thirteen people (including my great-grandparents), smiling around a table at a family gathering.  To me it has the same effect as the familiar faces to people in our family today.  This photo could easily have been my family in 2017 at one of our own family gatherings.  Despite the time that has traversed since this photo has been taken and despite the many horrors that happened to all the people in the photo, they all live on in me and my family today.

Year: 1949

– David Fodiman

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant