Gone But Not Forgotten

I can stare at this photo for hours.

A few years ago, I had it blown up and hung in the waiting area of our law office. And whenever I passed by it, I stopped and wondered. Who are they? What was the occasion that led to the photo? What ever happened to this family?

The building behind them in the photo has been near and dear to my heart from the moment I laid eyes on her. Built in the 1880s, if only these walls could talk!

During the years, people will stop into the office to share their memories of the old house or the families who lived here, but no one seems to know anything about the ladies and small child in the photo.

The past two months, I’ve been restoring my little diamond in the rough with the help of my friend and designer, Kendra Lester Ray. When we first found the building 14 years ago and moved the law office into it, we tried to honor her past but didn’t necessarily have the time to bring her back to her Victorian bones

And during the years, we have painted and patched to the point where I looked around one day and realized it was time to give our lady a facelift. So with the help of Kendra and my work family, who have given Kendra a run for her money with their own design ideas, we have brought her back to life.

Painters, contractors and cabinetmakers have worked late into the night so we could carry on the business of law during the day. My office family has put down their pens and paper many a day to move furniture, sweep floors and haul things off to Goodwill. Poor Kendra, I’m not sure she realized when I asked for her help that I meant I needed it done tomorrow!

During the week the office is a busy, busy place with work and clients. Saturdays, however, are quiet, but for a ringing phone that goes to voicemail. It’s the day I go up to the office to regroup and when I do, I now find this photo rehung in the newly redesigned conference room.

I still stop and wonder as I stare at the black and white photo — I wonder what the house looked like when this family lived here? I wonder if they’d like what we’ve done to her? I wonder if they were happy here?

During the years, I’ve learned bits and pieces about the various families who, for more than a century, called this building home. It’s been fascinating and wonderful to hear their stories and share in the memories of those who remember those gone but not forgotten.

I still don’t know who the ladies and the little boy are, but my hunch is they were happy here. And, for what its worth, we remember them all the time.

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