Let me tell you, that trunk was one musty and rusty old mess. Many of the other things that had come back to me from Brazil were damaged by mold and mildew on the long journey. My husband opened it and told me it belonged to me, not to him. What a surprise! That trunk was filled to the top with pictures, some of them familiar, but many that I had never seen before. They were mostly pictures of my maternal grandparents and others on that side of the family, as well as pics of my parents through the years.
Seeing black and white proof of happy times with my brother and sister was absolutely transforming. There was a time when my mother was young and beautiful, there was a time when she held my brother and sister lovingly. There are no pictures of her holding me. Not one. I understood then why I felt the brunt of her illness more than my siblings ever did. She once told me I was an "accident" and I think the absence of us together shows the truth. That's really not a sad thing. It's confirmation. I did not cry. I did not feel sad. I felt validated. She was flawed, yes, but she did love some of the people in her life and for that I am happy.
I now have wonderful pictures confirming my memories of living in England during the early fifties. I saw the house where we lived--just as I remembered it. (And I was only three when we moved there!) I saw the horse and wagon that delivered the milk. I saw all the places we went after my father's tour of duty was over--Italy, Bavaria, Scotland. I love that old trunk of memories!
What has a picture done for you that changed everything? Do you have some? Do you understand?