The Mystery of Uncle Charles  -(circa 1910)

Sometime around 1910, a young man posed jauntily for a postcard photograph.

There is no indication of the studio that made the photograph or that printed it on postcards.

On the reverse, a neat inscription reads, “My Brother”.

Beneath it, in another hand, an additional notation was made, “Charles, Mom’s brother”.

This suggests that Mother was the keeper of the picture of her brother.

It also suggests that Mother had only one brother.

At a later time, perhaps after Mother’s death, one of Mother’s children added the name of “Charles”.

To me, this suggests that the child was not acquainted with the uncle.

If Uncle Charles was a presence in the child’s life, one would expect to see “Uncle Charles” or some other indication of familiarity.

Given all the hazards of life in the early 20th century – disease, war, accidental injury- it may be that the photograph was a memorial to a young man who had died.

Family members were also separated by great physical distances; many young men ventured far afield in search of work, treasure, or adventure.

One hopes that the young man in the suit, showing a sly smile, and a confident air, enjoyed a prosperous and successful life in the 20th century.


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