An envisioning . . . . 1976 on a winter afternoon outside Munich . . . .

Oh to be there.

Box after box of papers from Aunt Anneliese’s house. Ten gone through but a lot more left. Kept everything or else they sent it all to her. How it always is. One person liking old family stuff and everyone else sending it along.

So many carte de visites they must have kept every photographer in Nordhausen in business. Half with names on the back and the other half left for someone to guess.

Some names remembered and others not. Family trees pulled out and checked. Half of what’s left, anyway. Hard. So very dressed up with that estate they had owned forever.

But one halfway down the stack. Katerina, it says. A cousin she must have been. All boys they were. But no. Something whispering along. A story about a daughter who married an opera singer and was disowned. Married down and that they could not forgive.

But there. All dressed up with her dog and doll with a matching coat like Mother used to make every time she made anyone a dress. Warm wool with swansdown fluff, it must be, with itchy wool stockings and a big hair bow.

Not mattering in the end. . . .no .  .  . . .the war over, the Russians getting that part and the everything gone  . . . . .the opera singer having ended up rich but not anyone to be asked for help . . .so angry they were that one gets to see them never . . . .up for funerals and that’s it . . . . .no, all gone it is, and it’s never coming back.

Photograph of a little girl with her doll and her dog. 19th c.
Photograph of a little girl with her doll and her dog. 19th c. Adolpf Kubarek, photographer. via

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