In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Snapshot Stories.”
I am far removed, physically that is, from all my old family albums…. including those I inherited from my mother of photos of us as a family when I was little. However, when I read this daily prompt one particular photo came to mind immediately. Although I have not seen it for many years, the image is clear in my mind and the emotional impact it had on me is also close at hand.
It is a black and white photograph from the early 50’s. The setting is a park, in Montreal to be specific, but it could be anywhere as no street signs are visible in the photo. the background is a grassy knoll separated by metal fencing; the type that has pointed fleur-de-lis shaped tops that may discourage the climbing of it by anyone hopeful to gaining access to the other side. An old fashioned pram or you might know it as a baby carriage sits on a paved walkway on this side of the fence. The photograph takes shape with various shades of gray which indicates a sunless day, and a baby sleeps in the pram. The baby cannot be seen but glimpses of baby blankets emerge from around the edge. There are no other people in the photo, only a lone carriage with the baby that no one can see.
I do not remember what age I was when I finally understood the material in this picture, but my mother informed me that it was a photograph of myself asleep in the pram. It intrigued me greatly, and I remember fixating on it as a small child and shedding tears over the fact that this poor baby was abandoned. It did not matter how many times I looked at it, the same sadness overtook me each and every time. I gazed at this poor baby alone in a desolate park left and rejected. Tears and flooded my eyes by this image and the knowledge that the baby (me) was left by it’s mother and unwanted…
Only years later when I was a bit older did I come to realize that regardless of how alone that carriage appeared in the park setting, someone had to be there to hold the camera and snap the picture.
The depth of feeling and the sensitivity of children is profound, and I am reminded of this when re-experience the impact that this photo had on me.