Albert Sidney Morgan, ca 1968.
Sid Morgan was one of the most colorful personalities in my family, and the old home place, though it has been gone for more than 40 years, is still seared in my memory. This photo, photographer unknown, captures so much.
Most of the photos of Sid and his museum are in black and white. This one was probably taken just when color photography was becoming the dominant medium and it’s easy to imagine this image in black and white. In fact, with Photoshop I could strip the color down to a grey monotone and create a more retro photo that seems to be popular these days. But then I’d lose the red shirt and scarf, which I think brings the photo to life.
Check out all the details, starting with Sid himself. There’s almost a smile, at the very least, a glint in the eyes. Self confident, and though past his prime, still very much his own man.
The house, too, is past its prime. The paint long-since faded. Only a little red remains on the porch post. The floor boards have decayed. Dry and dusty. You can imagine standing near the edge and gently nudging the boards downward with your foot and controlling their spring back into place.
The window to the left seems so fragile, as if it could be broken by a stiff breeze. The curtains may be brand new, but the context of the picture tells you they are not.
So many rockers to choose from, perfect for a quiet Sunday afternoon, as Sid tells tales of his trips down the Mississippi, and the Hennis trucks whine down Route 35 in front of the site of the John Amos power plant.
To the right is the front door. My grandmother, Opal Clatworthy, watches from behind the screen, almost hidden. What is she thinking?
What is Sid thinking?
Where is everybody else?
This is how stories start.