“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


How things begin & the things that make people happy

Just a quick story.

See this image? See how the photos fell down in the frame when I hastily moved it the other day, because it really doesn't fit in the frame very well & I have to use blue painter's tape all rolled up to attach it & sometimes that just lets go? Well, never mind - I'll fix it when I have a spare moment. But right now the story is more important. This is how it all started for me here at this job. This is where I learned that photographs aren't really all that sacred - not on the outside at least - because they can be changed. This is where I also learned that photographs maybe are sacred inside because they hold moments for people.

This image is the retouched photo I keep here as a sample. It was done by hand, long, long, long before Photoshop reared its beautiful head. I mean, long ago. Back in the olden days. (And no, I don't miss retouching by hand.) Back when our business used to be way on the other side of town, back up behind other buildings, almost hidden - you practically had to have a map & a secret password to find us. We moved downtown 3 summers ago & it took a year to actually get everything unpacked & out where it belongs, and one day I came across this lovely sample in a box of other photos & put it out. And - I swear; this is true - the daughter of the woman in the photograph just happened to be walking by one day & just happened to look in & through all the window glare & everything, she saw her mother's picture, and it turned out they'd been looking for us. They'd lost the negative they'd received when they originally had this photo retouched, and they'd been trying to find us, needing more prints, but they couldn't remember our name. And here we were. All we had to do was scan the retouched image & print more. They were so happy.

I hadn't put the photo back up on display until a week or so ago. It was still back in the room with the scanner & I finally remembered to return it to the front room. And then this weekend, while I was huddled in my office reading blogs & working on other photos & thanking the powers that be that the hurricane hadn't really done much damage, I heard children's laughter & adults' voices outside & peeked around the corner to see a group of Ike evacuees on the sidewalk, peering inside. The kids were thrilled to see Lily, who was rolling about quite wantonly for their benefit, but the adults? They were pointing at & talking about this image. No, they didn't know the woman, but they were amazed at the photo's transformation. They were smiling - they were happy. I wanted to let them in, but by the time I found my keys they were gone.

And I've been thinking about that. Maybe it gave them a teeny, tiny, isty bitsy, little glimmer of - maybe? - hope. That things could be fixed. That if things were really a mess when they got back home, all was not lost. Oh, I know. How vain of me, you're thinking. But still, I think, maybe. They were just so happy to see it.


  1. What an amazing post. It's so full of magic that I'm even happier it's a true story. You bring out all the little details in life, happy and sad, and make them beautiful.

  2. I completely agree with tangobaby, you are amazing. I think you've found one of your many true callings...? Love ya darlin and thinkin of you and Mary and Maggie...

  3. You keep reminding me thru your posts that there is magic everywhere!
    Thank you

  4. Tango, Christy & Michelle - Y'all are so kind & it is much appreciated. Life really IS full of amazing moments & magic & synchronicity & serendipity & all that touchy-feely stuff!

    :) Debi

  5. Yes, we do have the power to affect and perhaps even change people's lives. Hopefully, in good ways.
    What parallel experiences for the adults and the children; both are of pleasure derived from different sources.
    In our day to day actions, it is hard to remember this gift that we are given and to use it wisely.

  6. Magic! Yes, this post is magic! And may I be so bold as to say, you always seem to find a way to touch me everytime I visit here...Yes, I know...how vain...:)


  7. Paula - Isn't it funny how different it must seem for the kids? I hear them play & they seem to just be having a ball. I hope they ARE.

    Celeste - Thank you so much! It means a lot.

    :) Debi

  8. Not only are you good with words, but the stories you weave with your words leave me spellbound. This story is incredible! No such thing as coincidence...I really believe that. And the way you tied in the fixed images with the feeling of hope...you are amazing.

    I can't imagine retouching photos by hand...how do you do that? I don't know what I would do without photoshop!

  9. Oh! Dear Debi...
    I just left my comment and was JUST about to leave your blog when I noticed your little *peeking elsewhere* section on the left...what a wonderful thing to see my name there! Thank you so much for recognizing me, my dear friend. Makes me feel all fuzzy inside.

    Lots of love

  10. Hello,
    I came over from Maine via San's blog. I love this story. I bet this story did give them a glimmer of hope!

  11. Oh my, what a sweet story! I am in love with this post.

    To be able to touch up pics by hand, is truly a gift.

  12. Jaime - Well I just LOVE your stuff. You know that. More people should see it. And thank you for the compliments!! :)

    Christina - And thank YOU! Retouching by hand is just like painting, only scarier. And then you get used to it & you stop worrying. But now a pretty lost art. And NOW I'm feeling quite OLD! LOL!

    Meg - I am beginning to think the universe is trying to tell me something about Maine. First, Robert & Katie (my very closest neighbors) went to Maine for a week & Robert blogged all about it & they both think it was wonderful & then Michelle over at "Not Just a Housewife" blogged about Maine & talked about how wonderful it was & now here you are. Oh! And another friend emailed me & talked about wonderful friends from Maine- all of this just coincidentally. ?? I think Jaime's right - no such thing as coincidence. Thanks so much for stopping by & for the kind words. Now I am headed to your spot to read all about Maine.

    :) Debi


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