Adventure Drama Suspense

I know that face. Between the three of us we will find out who our cousin is. Stories have a way of becoming a thing of the past, something forgotten by chance or by choice. Photographs, however, don’t lie.

I was tasked to go through a huge bundle of random papers and photos and notes from eons ago. It was our grandfather’s box of family treasures, which morphed into my uncle’s hand-me-down collection of stuff. When my sister’s and I were young we didn’t know anything about our grandfather; his school life, work life and life in general. He was just an old man to us. He was grampa, nothing more. I mean he was 75 when I was born. So, to listen to him talk about anything that didn’t have anything to do with us was really not of any interest. I mean we were kids. It was our young, no nonsense life, with no interest in anyone or anything other than what we were doing; games in the neighborhood with friends or not really friends just neighbors, to mingle with at school, after school and then after homework. That’s when the fun really began.

The years went by and our grammy and grampa had passed on. Everything was pretty much left to the last son, or our Uncle Jack. He kept the family home and that in itself was a treasure. Nothing or mostly everything was where his mother and father kept things; pictures on the wall, the furniture in place, knickknacks everywhere. And now he was suddenly gone. We were thrown for a loop, as his health was okay, but inevitably age took him from us. This became a turn of events that none of us expected but thrown into full force. The wishes he left in his will was to disperse his funds to many worthy causes, who got what and where his money was to go. Going over so much that was kept in the family archives drove us crazy. The other part was the contents of the house. This kind of stuff was not going to be thrown away. It was kept for a reason and handed down to be treasured. I guess that was the thought. Yet our mother was not a keeper of stuff. To her you just hold on to something for a while, then it became junk, to be dumped or sold by the side of the road or at her famous Snoopy Yard Sale. I guess it was a good thing that her brother, our Uncle Jack, did not let her have anything that he knew was important to the family knowing that his sister would soon just toss it all away like it was nothing.

And now it was all up to us. The three of us sisters, were left to tackle the impossible, or the thing that we all signed up for, yet until that day comes, it really is not understood what the importance of a will is. My sisters and I each decided we had to take what we wanted throughout the house as it was just things that was not part of the bigger picture. It was daunting. We made a schedule for the next month so we could all be at the house at the same time. It was a lot to get a grip on. Uncle Jack's wishes, as to where his money would be dispersed, was one thing. The other huge task was the contents of the house. This was generations of so much of our family treasures, heirlooms or to others, just junk. How do you decide what stays and what goes?

I arrived early one afternoon as I knew my sisters would be coming by later as per our calendar date. I went upstairs passing the portraits for the umpteenth time, the paintings done by my grandfather, and went into their art/ work room. It held the same mementos; my grandfather’s drawing table, the wide desk from my uncle’s college days, book cases of the classics and closets of tailored suits from the 40’s and 50’s. I was always enraptured by the clothing they kept; the stylish hats of my grandmother, her fur coats, and lovely wraps. It was as if she had stepped out for the day. They were still on the old fashioned coat racks.

Today, I needed to get to a box that was in one of the closets. These were journals and photos from our uncle’s time spent in the Korean Conflict. He kept all of it put away and never talked about it with any of us. His time spent during this war conflict was not enough for us to really understand in his involvement. It wasn’t until High School when we kind of got the gist of the country’s involvement in Korea right after World war 11. We were young kids when he returned from active duty. He went to live in Washington, DC so his visits were always homecomings. He stayed single, living on his own, all his life. To us he was a nice, friendly Uncle Jack.

I contemplated my task at hand. It was a lovely fall day. The house was quiet except for the ticking banjo clock that had been in the house for a hundred years. Then, I took the box out from inside the closet shelf and put it on the wide desk. As I lifted the top, the contents shifted. I opted to remove everything and attempt to organize it proper order; photographs, personal letters, notes, and official documents. This box held more than I thought. It was packed. I was so engaged in this level of history with every piece I handled. It was eye candy to me. Here in front of me was a sense of time and place that was beyond reasoning. The notes from his buddies were as if they were getting together just next week. Their time in the conflict was up and they were meeting to celebrate each other coming home in one piece. I could only wonder if they did get together. Where was home for each?

As I sorted the letters, a photograph slipped through my hand. It was only one of its kind; slight sepia toned image of a lovely young lady. She had on a military uniform. I couldn’t exactly tell which service branch, but I thought it was Army, given the same style of my uncle’s uniform that we saved. I turned it over and began to read the beautiful handwriting.

I gasped with shock. It was a surprise of a lifetime.

“Dear Jack, You are the love of my life! When this horrible war time ceases to be in our lives, I want us to be together- forever. We were meant to be, you and me. And now with our child on the way, it’s giving me hope that soon we will be a family. I want us to live in peace and have a future where we live with joy in our lives every day. I can’t wait to see you! Our August 3rd baby will be here soon! All my love, Katherine.

I heard my sisters come in and called them to come up. They were talking and laughing about something. Then they saw the look on my face. I handed them the picture and just said, “Now what do we do?” 

July 24, 2021 03:33

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Ali Anthony Bell
23:32 Jul 29, 2021

Hi Debbie, Ali here for the critique circle. Very descriptive work, you have a way with words. Meanwhile, the prompt was to start the story with someone discovering something written on the back of a photograph, whereas you've finished the story with it. In fact, this leaves the reader hungry for the real story, the one you haven't told.


Debbie Curtin
19:32 Aug 05, 2021

You're right. It was an hour before the deadline when I realized I hadn't started with the prompt. So I added just a quick sentence to the beginning of the story.


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