Minnehaha Campfire girls (photo by Sammy Fischer and taken from the Eccles-Lesher Memorial Library collection - link to the full collection appears below)
Have you ever stumbled across a stash or record of old photos and thought that it looked like those people lived in another world? Awhile ago, I set up a gallery for a collection of glass slides for a CD-ROM for the library at which my sister works. The collection is a fascinating set of photos taken by a man named Sammy Fischer who took the pictures around 1919 (this is one of the years written on one of the pictures).
The world shown in those pictures seems to little resemble the one we live in today. There are horse races on the fair grounds and old cars. There's a "water plant" which is little more than a rickety-looking water tower. Buildings all look inelegant and utilitarian. All of them are a bit shoddy-looking, but this was the norm of the day. There are people dressed in football, band, military, and scout uniforms that betray the times. I also noticed that few people are smiling in many of the group pictures and I wonder what that says about the zeitgeist they lived in. If you have some time, you might want to browse the pictures. They're both fascinating and haunting.
I have a lot of these sorts of old family photos but, unfortunately, many of them are damaged or of poor quality.
Time passes for us all and we change as does the world around us. Recently, I was looking through a collection of my own family photos and I was profoundly struck by how our family pictures now appear to have been taken from another age. The picture above is my sister on a pony (my mother crouches behind the pony because she doesn't want her picture taken). The picture also shows the fact that there was a gas pump at the corner of our front lawn at that time. There was never a gas station there, but at some point in time, one could have a gas pump on their property, it seems.
It's sort of freaky to look back on these pictures and know that someone else will view them as being from "another age". I'm old enough to have grown up in a time which was markedly different from the world we now live in. You can see it in the way our house was built, the way our toys looked, and the fact that poor kids had ponies. This sort of freaks me out. I wish I could say I can be philosophical about it, but I really can't. It's not so much that I feel old (though I always do and have since my late teens), but more that the pace of change in the world gives me a sense of it hurtling forward purposelessly at breakneck speed and I'm really ready for it to slow down now (pretty please?).