green_dreams: Books, and coffee cup with "Happiness is a cup of coffee and a really good book" on the side. (coffee and a book)
[personal profile] green_dreams
We were over at John's parents' for dinner. His dad is an amateur genealogist[1], and he plugged my dad's name and birth date into the program he uses. (From what I have garnered, it is a loose cloud of information floating somewhere in the intern(et)her. You build your family tree there, other people build theirs, if the two of you happen to have a common point then the data which you've chosen to make public can overlap.)

Someone else had already created an entry for someone who could have been my dad--a couple of data points met--and it included a picture, so I got called over to take a look at it.

It was him.

It was weird.

It was taken in the mid-late 40s, I guess; the scan[2] is greyscale and not very big. You can make out four candles on the cake balanced on his knees (birthday picture, is the guess), but he's clearly way more than four. I looked at it for a second, and I couldn't say one way or the other if it was dad, and then there was this realization that I'd seen that expression on his face before, that exact expression, and I felt...

I want to say stunned, but that's really not right. It's too strong. Taken aback, maybe, and pleasantly surprised.

Part of it was understanding that someone else knew about him; someone I'd never had reason to imagine existed found a picture of him and figured out or was told who he was. Part of it was that he looked happy.

(Also I have now learnt my paternal grandmother's names, and picked up a smidgen of detail about the trip she took to come over from Italy.)

It was a pretty good early-Christmas dinner evening, all told.
[1] Do you get professional genealogists? I suppose you could, but somehow I suspect I'd default to thinking of them as historians.
[1] I had a moment of thinking "Am I sure it was a scan?" and then being slightly disconcerted to realize that yes, of course I am sure. Digital pictures were so not an option at that point, after all.
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