Photo Corners

A   S C R A P B O O K   O F   S O L U T I O N S   F O R   T H E   P H O T O G R A P H E R

Enhancing the enjoyment of taking pictures with news that matters, features that entertain and images that delight. Published frequently.

Friday Slide Show: A Valentine Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

13 February 2015

One of the pleasures of photography is that it makes it possible to share rare treasures. Everybody in the family can have grandmother's wedding ring if you take a picture of it. Or, as we're doing today, share in an old love story.

Flip back the calendar almost 100 years. The P.F. Volland Co. published a few charmingly illustrated books of verse. And our grandfather thought one of them might demonstrate his feelings for the girl he had fall in love with.

He lived in San Francisco, arriving as a child just a few days before the great fire and earthquake of 1906. She lived across the bay in Concord and had been mesmerized as a girl by the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition on Treasure Island in 1915. City boy, country girl.

There was no Bay Bridge then. To get to Concord, you had to take a ferry and catch a train. No short trip.

But the telephone had been invented, fortunately, and our grandfather would place a call to Concord to strum the latest sheet music on his banjo to his girl. She would tell us grandchildren many years later that she just put the handset on the shelf and went about her business until he was done. We never believed her.

During their courtship he bought three Volland books. Our grandmother kept them all of her life, tied together by a double pink ribbon. Like any kid, we learned how to slip them from their knots to peek at them.

Their titles were:

  • The Value of a Smile (1920) by Wilbur D. Nesbit
  • Just You (1920) by Elizabeth Gorgon, inscribed
  • Hello (1915) by James W. Foley, inscribed

Inside, our grandfather wrote a little note to his girlfriend on two of the volumes. You'll see them in his elegant handwriting in the slide show.

It's hard to say which volume came first but we suspect they were given in just that order. The first, just as a token without an inscription. The second a little bolder, its cover well worn (no doubt from grandmother's sisters showing off the pencil inscription to each other). And the third in which the inscription is inked.

But we weren't there so we don't know.

We shot these in Manual mode because we used a Flashpoint 180 monolight without a reflector (bare-bulbish) to cast a hard light with a little bounce to it.

And we did surprisingly little work on them in Lightroom 5. Just a little Clarity (the usual "little" dose seems to be about 40 for us) to sharpen things up and that was it except for a few crop adjustments on the covers.

They married in the 1920s, a grand affair at Saints Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco's North Beach with a reception at Fior d'Italia. They had two perfect children, a girl and a boy. He became a pharmacist and a scratch golfer. And she worked for the Red Cross as a keypunch operator.

They had nine grandchildren, whom they loved to bits, and moved to Santa Rosa which kept him close to golf and gave her the sunshine she prized for her garden and a bit of the country she loved as a girl. Today they rest under a shade tree, still together but "in God's care," as the inscription -- a final one -- says on their tombstone.

Every love story is different. But none of them ever ends.

BackBack to Photo Corners