I like that I have my Dad's blue eyes, my Grandmother's middle name, and my Great-Grandmother's love of photography. I like how each of these things connect me with my family members before me.
My Great-Grandmother Anna lived a very simple life. For many years (long before I was even born) she lived with no electricity and no indoor plumbing. Even though times changed, she really didn't. By the time I was a little kid visiting her with my family, she had electricity. She had plumbing in the kitchen, but still used an outhouse. Of course, as a small child I thought it was very interesting and exciting to use the outhouse, but wondered how she could live without a TV or radio! Even though her way of living was different from what I was used to, the thing I remember the most about my Great-Grandmother was her huge box of sepia toned photos and her old wooden stereoscope. Oh how I loved that stereoscope!
Below is some information I found about stereoscopes here:
"Stereoscopes, also known as stereo viewers, were one of America's most popular forms of entertainment in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The first patented stereoscope was invented by Sir Charles Wheatstone in 1838. Wheatstone had experimented with simple stereoscopic drawings in 1832, several years before photography was invented. Later, the two principles were combined to form the stereoscope.
A stereoscope is composed of two pictures mounted next to each other, and a set of lenses to view the pictures through. Each picture is taken from a slightly different viewpoint that corresponds closely to the spacing of the eyes. The left picture represents what the left eye would see, and likewise for the right picture. When observing photos through a special viewer, the pair of two-dimensional pictures merge together into a single three-dimensional photograph."
Those old photographs captivated me. I loved their sepia color. I loved the feel of the thick, hard "postcards" they were printed on. I loved their "old" smell. And it was nothing less than pure magic to me that I could put the photo into the stereoscope and see one 3-D photo in front of my eyes!
As I look back now, I imagine that my Great-Grandmother felt the same kind of wonder that I did. A very simple woman, living a very simple life, but seeing the world through those photos. Seeing something "magic" each time she raised the stereoscope to her eyes - seeing places she'd never even dreamed of.
My Great-Grandmother has been gone a long time now, and I sometimes wonder where those photos and stereoscope ended up. Oh how I wish I had them. I find myself looking for some whenever I'm in an antique shop, but still have had no luck finding any.
I like to think that my love of photography started way back then with those photos and that stereoscope. I like that I am connected with my Great-Grandmother through our mutual love of those photos. And sometimes I wonder if a future member of my family will share my love of photography and remember me in the same way.
What do you share with one of your ancestors? Do you have a special love of something that they loved too? Please share with us, either here in the comment section, or on our Facebook page. We'd love to read all of your stories.
Don't forget that this month's theme is JOY. Put a smile on everyone's faces by posting your photos depicting joy in our flickr group and on Instagram.