I know I've been absent for a while. I have a valid excuse. I can't wait to tell you what I have been working on! But you'll have to wait a little longer. Stay tuned...
Like many of you, the pandemic had sucked the life out of me. Ok, not life. but creativity, energy, motivation and opportunity. I was isolated in my bedroom with COVID when my dear husband popped his head in the bedroom two months ago to see if I was still alive. He told me that he had a work trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico coming up and asked if I would like to come. Suddenly I perked up. "Yes, yes." Not that Albuquerque was on my radar or bucket list. I don't think I had ever even Googled it. Where was Albuquerque anyway? (In the middle of the state of New Mexico, apparently). But in that moment, of stifling stuck-ness in Pennsylvania, it was my way OUT.
So, I got better, bounced back from COVID and many weeks later I was on a plane headed for the dessert and stunning mountains of New Mexico.
My husband Phil had meetings all day, and I had a beautiful hotel room, several books to read and nothing to do for a few days. (bliss)
Old Town is wonderful for shopping and ambience. Buildings made with Adobe bricks and terra-cotta stucco line winding streets. Stringed peppers sway in the dessert breeze and though the people I saw were masked, their eyes smiled at me as we passed.
Photo courtesy of jenonajetplane.com
One afternoon while exploring Old Town Albuquerque, I discovered an antique shop. A bell rang when I entered and a history-loving kindred spirit with gray hair and kind eyes greeted me. She asked if I needed any help and I gave my usual response, "No thanks, just browsing." I eyed china, hand woven tapestry and hand crafted silver and turquoise jewelry. I fingered fragile pages of old books. The door's bell rang again as Phil escaped to sit on a bench outside. He knows the drill. His wife is down the rabbit hole and it will be a while.
I figure it took me less than five minutes to spot them. A box filled to overflowing of Carte De Visite photographs.
Carte De Visites are photographs mounted on small cards.
These were "visiting cards" used in the 19th century.
Patented by the French photographer
Andre Adolphe Eugene Disdéri in 1854, they are easy
to spot. American Carte De Visites are usually
dated anywhere from the mid 1860s to early 20th century.
My heart leapt and I began flipping through them, one by one. I had a lovely lady in my hand for a while, but she had very limited clues and I was pretty sure I could never identify her so back into the box she went. Then I found one guy who looked serious and important and had a name and date on the back. Score! I kept going but saw Phil through the window. He had stood up and was pacing. Uh-oh. Better get a move on before he leaves me here in Albuquerque. (Would that be a bad thing? It was snowing back in PA at that moment.)
A stroke of genius convinced me to turn the box around and flip through the pictures from behind. Think of it like blind dating where you only get a name. Any that had writing, initials, a name or date written on it, I grabbed. I ended up purchasing three 19th century guys and my new friend checked me out, sliding the photographs into a small paper bag. I left as happy as could be with my precious parcel and ticket to another history detective adventure.
I admit, I was a little over confident as I left. How hard can it be I thought? I've done it before, I can do it again. Little did I know...
So, how many of these three guys do you think I can identify? One out of three? two? or is it a home run for all three?
To read my next post in this series, go here.