The Taylorsville Post is our local newspaper.
You know the ones right?
Fascinating news about who graduated, who won first place in the annual bake sale.
Some recipes, garden tips and a shitload of ads from your local stores.
The kind of newspaper that you glance at when you’re bored, and you can’t think of anything else to do.
The Taylorsville Post was published weekly since 1835,
and Joe and I figured that throughout those 153 years,
a lot must have been published about the Taylors… including pictures.
I stepped into the Taylorsville Post’s office.
A young girl was at the front desk and I told her I was a student at A.T.C.
and was writing a paper about the history of photography in Taylorsville,
and asked her if it would be possible to go through their archives.
She had no clue if they even had an archive, but she did called the chief photographer, Ruben.
Ruben was thrilled that I was writing a paper about photography.
“Now let’s see if we can help you out.
What are you looking for?”
I told him that I was trying to locate the very first published pictures of Taylorsville.
Maybe I could write something about the people on those pictures.
You know, what had happened to them etc.
“It’s a great start,” he smiled and took me downstairs to the archives.
I expected tons of old newspapers but there weren’t any.
There were a bunch of computers however,
and Ruben told me that they had scanned every copy and stored it on hard drives.
“So you’re looking for the Post from 1888?”
I nodded, “I’m not sure which one, is that a problem?”
“Nah,” Ruben grinned and patted the monitor.
“We have this baby to do the work.”
He sat down behind the monitor, began typing and pulled up the first Taylorsville Post from 1888.
“Wow,” I sighed. I was truly impressed and realized that this was a huge moment.
It felt like I was stepping back in time and that gave me a strange feeling.
Ruben quickly went through all editions of 1888, until he came to number 44.
“Bingo,” he smiled and showed me the screen.
Taylorsville Post, Thursday November 1st 1888.
“Holy crap,” I mumbled staring at a huge picture on the front page.
“There you have it, the very first picture published in the Post.” Ruben said.
“Who are those people?” I asked.
He had turned the monitor back so fast that I didn't have a chance to read.
The picture showed a bunch of people, posing in front of a gazebo.
All in all there might have been 10 people on that picture, including some women.
Ruben’s eyes flashed over the screen.
“Not sure…” he mumbled.
“I don’t recognize the names, accept for Taylor.”
My heart skipped a thousand beats.
Did he say Taylor?
Damn, this was going to be great.
“Yeah, see that woman in the middle?” He said as he pointed her out.
I nodded and tried to stay cool.
“That’s Ethel Taylor… according to the caption.”
I felt like screaming, but controlled myself.
“Cool,” I said.
“So are you sure that this is the first picture that has ever been published?”
Ruben nodded, “totally positive.”
“Is there a way I could copy this,
so that I can include it in my paper?”
Ruben now grinned.
“I’m gonna do something even better.”
He hit on a few key’s and the printer in the corner began spitting out papers.
“I’m gonna give you a copy of the whole newspaper.”
After I had promised Ruben that I would come back more often,
and I was sure that I would, I rushed home.
I took the stack of pictures that Joe had given me and spread them on the table.
There were just too many pictures for one person to deal with, so we decided to split them.
I took the copied newspaper and began comparing randomly.
After a few minutes I was cluttered.
Little piles of pictures were lying in front of me, and I already had forgotten why I stacked them.
Was this the pile with pictures of who I thought was Ethel?
Or was this the pile with the I’m not sure pictures?
I needed a system.
I swapped all pictures together again and started from scratch.
First I took a bunch of manila folders and laid them in front of me.
On a label I wrote the names of the Taylor women,
together with the years that they were born and the year that they died.
Lydia Taylor 1823-1897
Ethel Taylor 1843-1900
Rose Taylor 1861-1936
I thought about this for a few minutes, then I bend over the folders again and added their age in 1888.
That would hopefully give me enough to work with for now.
Lydia Taylor 1823-1897 65
Ethel Taylor 1843-1900 45
Rose Taylor 1861-1936 27
I went through the pictures, one by one, and compared them with the newspaper picture.
If they didn't match, I tried to estimate their age and laid them, upside down, on the right folder.
If this all didn't work, I laid them on an unlabeled folder.
After 20 pictures or so I finally had a match.
Can you believe the excitement I felt?
“YES!” I screamed and bumped my fist in the air.
Here she was Ethel Taylor,
the same woman as the picture in the Taylorsville Post.
I studied the two pictures carefully.
The nose, the smile, the contour of her face, her hair, even her eyes,
it all matched perfectly.
I sat back in my chair and stared at Ethel’s picture.
It was a posed picture.
Ethel was sitting behind a table and had just rolled some dice.
It wasn't sexual or pornographic, although it was highly erotic.
She wore some white silky scarf thing around her shoulders,
and showed a big part of one of her breast.
The erotic thing about it was that you actually didn't see anything.
No full breast, no nipple, no bra, nothing.
You just saw the curves, a cleavage and some skin.
But it was the illusion that made it erotic.
I almost could see her nipple poking through the lace.
I almost could see the other breast.
Ethel was quite attractive.
Not a beauty queen type, but there was something mysterious about her.
It was a smile I recognized.
It was the same smile that Sophia sometimes had.
The smile that said;
Yes that’s right, I look innocent and very decent, but deep down inside I am a total slut.
After a few minutes staring at Ethel, I laid the picture down.
So now I knew for sure that some of the pictures were Taylor women.
Should I call Joe?
It was too late to call him,
but tomorrow I would take the evidence and stop by his house after school.
He would be delighted to see that we were finally getting somewhere.
I took Ethel’s diary and began to search it for entries around October 1888.
Slowly I was sucked into Ethel’s world, and into the nineteenth century.
I kept in reading until my alarm clock went off, telling me that I had been up all night.
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