“The Eyes Have It”

by projectbuddy


Several very cold Sunday afternoons ago, I visited an antique shop. I had been in the used book shop next door which had no heat at all, so this was a place where I was glad to spend extra time browsing around. There were all kinds of items, all prices.

I found this framed photograph, and just as the tag said, “The eyes have it.” It was a very pleasant pose, and the photographer really had done a fine job. The eyes of the mother and son really did seem to tell a great deal about them individually and together.

The tag also said, “dated 1920.” When I turned over to the back of the frame, there was a pasted label identifying where it was purchased “Llewellyn Books” in “Marshall Mo.” and the date “12-23-20.” Also written in pencil was the number “75” and the name “Mrs. Nichols.”

Since my house was built in 1920, I think this photograph offers a wonderful glimpse into the past. I do wonder about the story behind the photograph. With the date December 23, 1920, I imagine that it was a Christmas gift, perhaps for Mr. Nichols to hang in his office.

It is an mystery how “Mrs. Nichols and Son” from Marshall, Missouri ended up in a small cluttered antique shop in Norfolk, Virginia. Perhaps there is a navy connection. They seem quite fine and still smiling their curious smiles in my humble Portsmouth home. The eyes really do have it.


These photographs were taken March 2014. Although I wouldn’t encourage anyone to go out and buy a pile of old photographs to decorate their home because it seems too “gimmicky” to me, there is something special in finding an old photograph or two like this one.