The two photos I'm sharing in today's post are of my great-grandparents, El and Bill Munce. I am very fortunate to have hundreds of candid photos like this of them, their families, their outings, their lives, and their silliness.
These two particular photos are part of the early part of an antique album that is in the loving care of my aunt. The album spans the entire 16 years of their marriage (their marriage ended prematurely due to El's tragic death after the birth of their youngest son).
The photos were taken around 1910 here on the rolling hillsides of the San Francisco Bay Area with my great-grandparents' simple little portable camera of the time (hence the slight blur in the photo of El). If the photos were in color, the hills would probably be a lovely green because that's when the wildflowers that Bill and El were out hunting and picking would have been in bloom--probably sometime around March.
Bill was a lover of gardening, grafting, planting, growing, and roses. I love this photo of him with an armload of wildflowers. This is my kind of man. The photo of El with the armful of flowers seems expected, but not the one of Bill. It's literally a snapshot in time--a special moment between two young honeymooners captured in perpetuity. I can imagine them out as a couple traipsing these hills I love so much. I can imagine their excitement at taking the snapshots and then their anxious anticipation for when they would get the photos developed so they could relive the moment.
I'm glad they captured this moment. Somehow it gives me a sense of who I am. I feel a connection to them, to these hills, to the flowers. It all helps me feel grounded, rooted. My heart swells with a gratitude for the legacy they have left--a legacy of loving nature and gardens that has been passed down through their daughter to her daughter to me.
I garden in almost the same climate as my great-grandfather gardened in only a half-hour drive away from where he gardened. When I am out in my garden tending my fruit trees, pruning my roses, or tying up my climbing vegetables, I feel him near. I've seen so many photos of his garden, I know it is much like my own.
Thank you, Grandad, for being the man that you were. Thank you for loving all the things that I love, especially the roses. Thank you, Grandma El, for loving the flowers and for loving nature so much that you hiked the hills and valleys in those dresses you had to wear. And thank you, both, for loving each other as deeply as you did.
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