A Beautiful Place

Sometimes the best surprises are right where you thought you already looked. For instance, I have looked through the boxes of family picture from my paternal family several times, but every time, I seem to find something new.

Recently, this photo brought me a little surprise.


When my dad was young, his family lived in Puerto Rico for about four years. His dad was stationed there with the U.S. Air Force. While living there, his grandma (Eleanor), aunt, and three cousins came for a visit. In the photo above, taken outside the apartment my grandparents rented, Eleanor stands with my dad, uncle, and aunt.

I love Eleanor’s hat and how her posture reminds me of my grandma. I love my aunt’s closed eyes and pretty dress. I love my uncle’s hands on his waist and his scowl. I love seeing the similarities between my dad and my son.

But the little surprise came as I turned the photo over.


Eleanor writes: Taken [in] Pueto [sic] Rico as I was visiting my daughter + family at A.F. Base San Juan, 1954[.] The country is beautiful[.] They hope to go back again[.] I flew down. Eleanor

(My grandma wrote the names at the top later.)

I love how much can be gleaned from these four short sentences. First, the photo is dated, so I know about how old everyone is and how long they had been in Puerto Rico. Second, Eleanor found PR beautiful and probably enjoyed her visit. Next, you can see that my dad’s family enjoyed being in PR since they want to go back. Lastly, the note about her flying down implies that being on an airplane was a novel or unique experience for her. I wonder if she had ever flown in an airplane before*.

It’s also fun to see her handwriting. It seems like a little connection to her and this trip she took.

*Update: after posting this, my dad’s cousin confirmed that it was indeed Eleanor’s first flight.