On a recent Christmas trip, I learned of these images – slides stored in a garden shed in the Florida humidity, slides from my mother-in-law’s work with the USO in Europe after WWII. I brought several boxes back home to scan. I thought she might enjoy reliving her youth. Besides, I was curious. My mother-in-law has multiple ailments, and moves with difficulty from room to room in her small condo. What kind of woman might she have been back then, on an adventure in the world?
I found that she traveled as a tourist and took lots of pictures of landscapes mostly unchanged to this day. But the slides that show the old cars in front of the Moulin Rouge and her mother all decked in a lavender suit and hat at a lakeside restaurant in Garmish — those are the images that shine a light on her past; I can spend hours looking at those.
Perhaps I can show her the pictures on our next visit and get her to tell her stories. And maybe I’ll see a shimmer of that young woman, and know that she is not lost, but just needs a little coaxing to make herself known again.