Each one of us has roots to which he belongs. Our heritage, despite our individuality, is our foundation and our sense of belonging to somewhere. Our legacy is often documented in photographs and handwritten letters unveiling small glimpses of our ancestors lives and their distinctive contemporary culture they created for future generations to build on. I only have to open my family photo album to remind me of my strength, perseverance and creativity. I came from a long line of successful folks who believed in God and community, fought wars and survived financial crisis. It was their guts and good nature that reserved my place on earth. So when I see old photographs and letters lying next to ice trays at estate sales I buy them. When I read letters or really look at a photo, I learn how each person who lived before me made a contribution to the well being of our country no matter how small. They built towns by hand, fought wars to keep us safe, invented mass transportation, survived illnesses then cured them, gave to the poor, fought for equality, and sacrificed for the good of their children and their neighbors. They lived quiet lives. All that is left of them are a few photos and some written letters. In my own way, I am honoring these forgotten folks by sharing the small stories of our descendants in  found photos, ephemera, and letters here in Discarded Legacies. 

 

Early American Farmers

Farmers prior to the dustbowl. Circa 1930

 

I had to begin this journal with images of folks tending their land and livestock. It was a way of life for most Americans before and during the depression. Most of the images are from the mid and southwest before the depression up to the dust bowl. I found them randomly at garage and estate sales. Most were unmarked but a few had lengthy descriptions written on the back. 

 

 

Aunt Margaret Schaff, Age 90 in Green Castle PA. 1920

Aunt Margaret Schaff, Age 90 in Green Castle PA. 1920

“Each moment is the fruit of forty thousand years. The minute-winning days, like flies, buzz home to death, and every moment is a window of all time.”  Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel

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