Photo courtesy of Shorpy.com – Please click on this link to view it in all of it’s amazing detail.
Look close, these are the faces of your ancestors. Slavs, Poles, Micks, Croats, “Hunky’s”, Eye-ties, Krauts, and others. They have come here on a summer Sunday to escape the heat of the city. Spending a few hard earned coins on a cruise across the thickening river to an island in the middle of the stream. A tree lined place where pike still leap and strike at the flies, despite the rainbow colored eddies along the banks.
This was your past.
The hazy sky blurs with the silver sheen of the water on the horizon. Out here on the river the oppressive silence of the city is left behind, replaced by the cry of circling gulls, looking for scraps of food on the docks.
Your are the fruit of this vine. Look it in the eyes, and remember.
They have disappeared into yellowing photographs, and shadows in the mirror. Their memory fades as generations settle like silt on the bottom of the river. It would take an archeologist to raise their bones from the deep, and reconstruct their lives. Names and dates, tied together to build an image of the past. Skeleton facts, revealing little about the blood that beat so warmly within the bone cage.
The sounds of the steam whistle breaks through the silence. The ropes are loosed. The engine thrums through the planks of the deck. The gap between the dock begins to widen.
Take one last look into their eyes. Reach out and caress the lines of the faces. Someday they will be ours.