A Closer Look

I’m always confounded whenever I run across these tiny photos from the past.    They couldn’t have been of much use in the memory keeping department. This one is barely an inch and a half across, and other than a guy on a blanket and some people standing around, it is hard to tell what is going on.

Thanks to modern technology I was able to enlarge the photo to where we can see a bit more of the story.  The casual dress and the presence of the two coolers on the right made me think this is a picnic either getting started, or just breaking up.  Other than that, though, we have to just imagine.  Where is this mysterious sand bank?  Is a third man taking the photo?

In life, as in old clothes and vintage photographs, the more one looks, the more one sees.

I recently found a book at my fancy used book store, the Goodwill Outlet Center.  Actually, I find lots of books there, but this one was a bit different for me.  It was written by a local woman and was based on her blog.  The blog is about living a mindful life, a topic that seems to be really in favor right now, especially since so many people are spending more time being electronically “connected” and less time being connected to those around them.

To my surprise, I really liked the book.  The short chapters all had a bit of a lesson, complete with real life examples told with a sense of humor.  There was lots of great advice on how one can live his or her own life, without letting the negativity of the world determine life’s decisions.  It was fun reading, so I decided to check out the blog.  And because she is local, I played with the idea of contacting her to see if she wanted to get together for coffee or a drink.

As often happens to a blog after the writer publishes a book, this one was somewhat neglected.  But reading down several entries I was shocked by an entry.  The writer had gotten into a Facebook war with another person who was questioning the writer’s methods of child-rearing.  So how did this other person know so much about the writer’s child-rearing?  Because she has plastered it all over Facebook and Instagram.  I don’t see that it is my job to judge, but I can see why someone might comment that her methods are a bit unorthodox.  This is, after all, the Internet, and once it is posted, it pretty much becomes fair game.

But after going back and forth with this other person, the writer then put the entire transcript of the battle on her blog.  Her actions were pretty much the exact opposite of the advice in her book!  It seemed to be an odd course to take for a person who makes her living doing life-coaching and selling self-help books about dealing with unpleasant people.

Anyone who has a presence on the internet conceals and reveals things.  Sometimes it is the very nature of communicating by the written word that sets up what is revealed.  For example, I recently met another VFG member, and she told me she was surprised that I have a Southern accent.  This is not something I’ve intentionally concealed, as I think I actually use quite a few “Southernisms” in my writing.

It’s interesting to meet people you’ve known only online.  You get to see a whole new side of a person you think you know and you realize just how nice it is to have made a friend because you were able to connect through a common interest online, in my case, vintage clothing and fashion history.

I think I’ve learned my lesson.  From now on I’m sticking with my vintage and fashion friends.


Filed under Viewpoint

8 responses to “A Closer Look

  1. True, too true. I used to participate in a email group of people who were due to give birth in one particular month; they were from all over the globe and were mostly tech folks. There was oversharing. It was interesting. I did meet two of them over the years, one of whom I was pretty sure was catfishing the group: whose life could be that full of misery? Turns out, yes, it can. And yes, a group of strangers on the internet can be wonderful and supportive AND terrible and vindictive all at the same time.

    I do appreciate how social media can bring disparate folks together on a topic (sewing machines, football, Les Paul guitars) and make them see how connected they can be. Sadly, the obverse is also true.

    I would like to side with the angels. And I am very glad that I have one actual friend in the real physical world who is totally unlike me except that she and I have children that turned 19 this month. And that we are both willing to look past the religion and the politics to celebrate that.


  2. Ruth

    I’m an Okie, living in Washington state. You should hear people when my “Southern” voice comes out! I get pegged as a dumb ol’ woman by some and others like it. Oddly enough, this particular area (Grand Coulee) has a large number of people from other states who came to work on the dam and stayed. I hear quite a few say, “Oh, my momma or poppa’s from there or my whoever lived/is living down there.” Really cracks me up sometimes. Your voice has no accent on the internet however many “Southern-isms” you might use. I think people tend to skim over that without realizing what you are really saying.


    • It is unfortunate, but true, that people will judge you based on your accent. Most Southerners have gotten really good at code-switching. I always taught my students, 80% of whom spoke with an Appalachian accent, that if and when they went out into the world beyond our small town, that they would be judged on their speech. It was to their benefit to use correct grammar, that way if their speech was made fun of, it was because the laughers were ignorant, not them.


      • Ruth

        My two great-aunts on my dad’s side, very proper “church ladies” (even pastor was scared of them), were the kind that you watched your p’s and q’s around them. We used proper English and table manners at their house. Nothing like a maiden-lady aunt to scare kids into behaving! When I got older I loved them for teaching me to act like I had some, though. Everybody else let us talk like little wild animals.


  3. Ruth

    Meant to ask how the weather is down your way? We’ve had a foot, more or less since Thanksgiving, mostly melted since we’ve been getting some rain. Don’t know if we’ll get more.


  4. I’ve inherited a few tiny photos, though not quite that small. I guess any preserved memory was better than none!


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