I've been to Edna's grave. She's buried in the Geisen family plot at Mother of God cemetery in Covington. She's with her mommy and daddy. And as I've stood at her grave, looking at her name, I've thought of the unbelievable sorrow that her parents (my great grandparents), siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. went through during her illness, death, and the years after.
How can I express how much I love having a photo of her? Of knowing what she looked like? For whatever reason, I "feel" that I have a responsibility to these peeps of mine. A responsibility to let others know who they were. To not allow them to be forgotten. I know it's not logical. But it has become a sometimes overwhelming feeling. I feel a responsibility to these family members to make sure that they live on.
That responsibility leads me to the fascination/obsession I have with my Geisen/Pistner family "Unknown" photos. Many in the photo album have no identification. Who are these people who my Geisens loved so much that they included them in the family album? I'm trying to narrow some of it down. Does a certain photo look like another photo of a "known" person? We have a photo of Lizzie Geisen (my great grandfather's sister). Does this other photo look like her? As soon as I saw it, I thought to myself, "That's Lizzie." But maybe I'm mistaken. They're obviously related, but is it the same person? I don't know. Will I ever know? Perhaps not. But I'll do my damndest to figure this out.
And who is this family? Where were they when this photo was taken? The "matriarch" was wearing black. Was she in mourning? The men look like Geisens (like my great grandfather, but I don't think he's either one of them).
These are many of my "Unknowns." But what is "known" about them is that they were loved by my family. They were all so precious to my Geisens and Pistners that they were included in the album. And that makes them very precious to me.