The Gulf Coast was my break in the cycle of work, home, and community responsibilities. I always chose a room with a patio facing the water. The evening sound of lapping waves lulled me to sleep. I woke refreshed, eager for a morning walk in the crisp fall air. I inhaled the smell of the sea, felt the brush of the wind on my face, and tried to sidestep the debris washed up from high tide while I searched for unique seashells. On the nearly deserted fall weekends, I encountered a beach walker swinging a metal detector side to side across the white sand. Treasure hunters. Dreamers, hoping to find something valuable as a reward for their early morning trek.
When I returned to California after what seemed a lifetime in the South, there were no quiet moments on serene beaches. Overcrowded, the rocky shores were for the adventurous. That’s when I became a different type of treasure hunter.
I browsed flea markets and antique stores away from the beach crowds. My goal was not rare coins or other valuables. I rescued old photos with identifying information. My goal was not to collect or sell the photos but to search for descendants of the stray picture.
I still have one unclaimed photo on my bookshelf. Even my twin, a family researcher, could not unearth the history of the mysterious girl in the photo. She rests on a bookshelf surrounded by memorabilia. I’m tempted to donate this photo along with other mementos to a local thrift shop, but she is a reminder that somewhere, someone may be searching for this special treasure.
Are you a treasure hunter? A puzzle solver? Or maybe—top of my treasure list—maybe this is your ancestor. She stands outside, her feet on a rug hastily thrown over tall grass, as though the photographer wasted no time in setup. But perhaps this was a special event for her like a birthday or school graduation.
Faint penciled words at the top on gray cardstock are illegible except for something that resembles a price in the upper right corner. Identification handwriting on the center back looks like ink retraced over penciled words.
189_ [illegible year erasure/rewritten, possibly 1891 or 1892] – Aug 13
14 years old
Are you searching for this treasured photo of Goldie? If not, reblog to help her find her family. She is ready to come home.