Moments Within a Frame

Heaven gained this keeper of history. I spent some time working with him as volunteers…the few short hours that we spent together left a huge impact on me.  You know how sometimes you run across people who make you think…“If I could do and know half of what this person knows….I would…..”

I left the following on his obituary page for his family and friends.   I record it here, as well. Richard was a meeting on my path that I know wasn’t a fluke, he has been a part of my journey. 

https://www.barnettfamilyfh.com/obituary/richard-wellman

Richard Wellman

Richard Wayne Wellman

Richard and I worked together on the mounds of photos at the Jefferson County Historical Museum. As he and I sat side by side one afternoon with photographs scattered around us, he walked me through the process of cataloging the photographs. He showed me the files he had started many years ago and he and I worked at bringing them into more current software and filing. We discussed old ways and new ways and combined the two into a workable document. I loved the process of bringing his work into a place where he could see how easy it would be someday for others to look things up. His face lit up when I showed him (theoretically) how the system would work eventually. He knew and I knew that there was a lot of work ahead yet. He was an organizer of his own way and his system made sense to me. He seemed to understand my way as well.

Richard talked about the photos and the people in them as we worked through the numbering and labeling. I loved listening to the stories about the memories the photos would remind him of. We talked of buildings, marching bands and parades, farms, milk bottles and wagon wheels. He taught me how to really look at each photo and to know the person even though I had never met them or their family. While we sorted , part of our conversation one day was about whether or not the photo job would ever get done. He didn’t think it would in his lifetime. I reassured him that I would follow through with what he started. In his gentle way, he laughed and finally said, “One photo, one file at a time.”

One of the last times I talked to him was when he called me on the telephone. We talked about setting a time to get together again, but didn’t pinpoint a date on that day. He did encourage me by telling me that he had noticed how many photos were already put away in the file cabinet. I told him that I had put them in the folders, but the computer work still needed to be done. He laughed and reminded me, “One photo, one file at a time.” Richard told me he would add to the computer files he had already started when he had time. His eyes tired easily and had just settled into his new home and was getting things situated. I laughed and I said, “One box at a time.”

Richard was a kind, soft spoken man who left a part of himself with me in the few conversations we shared about photographs and families of Jefferson County. May each of you, his family members and closest friends feel the warm embrace of God’s love through each of the memories shared throughout this time. Even now, I feel him saying to each of us, “One photo, one file at a time.”

 

As I think about the promise I made to him, I wonder how on earth I will fulfill that promise in my lifetime. There are literally thousands of photos waiting.  I keep thinking I should recruit some history majors at the colleges nearby. 

You Aren’t Forgotten

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A boardwalk kiss sealed a love to endure

Two walked ahead holding a path secure

Too new to be taken away

From a life, a forever stay.

 

Seven years of longing and want for what was meant to be

Lonely nights and prayers for no one else to see.

A voice not forgotten or ever felt in taunt

Only a whisper that let her know, he heard her want.

 

Her words written, released a lonely fear

Knowing he lingered, waiting near.

Her hand held now by the one who knows

How her heart held on until the moment chose.

 

A boardwalk kiss sealed the love that endured

Two walk ahead together, love freed and insured.

 

There are people who come into your life and leave a mark that can never be taken away.  Katherine was a such a person.  The day she walked up to my door and presented me with a plate of brownies (14 years ago) and quickly left was a beginning of something that I had no idea would impact me the way it had.

Katherine has been gone nearly 7 years now.  I talked to her about an hour before she met her last day here on earth.  That day I walked into her house and saw her work badge and mail of the day laying on the table, knowing it would never be touched by her again was a day, I’ll not forget.  Of course, walking by that table without anyone touching it for over 6 months is a bigger mark yet.  On a day, when I finally took it upon myself to start closing up her house, I began to know her even better.

The photo is Katherine’s and Scott’s wedding day.  I wasn’t there for the wedding, but she told me about it many times.  Her love for Scott filled a room and overflowed when she talked about him.  Her grief for him, filled the entire world outside their home.  I didn’t ever get to know Scott.  He had passed away several years before I met Katherine.  He was in his 30’s and died of cancer. Their story was in their house, portrayed in so many ways.  They will not be forgotten.

Eternal Friend

Barbed wire friendship
mature hearts don’t understand

Secret mission
don’t dare travel into tainted land

Thunder rolls and storm approaches
kindred spirits, smile coaches

Herded like cattle, pushed and shoved
human hearts, yet unloved

Stripped and showered, no more pain
How could it be so insane?

Hand held to the end
barbed wire friendship

Eternal friend