This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: On Tuesday morning, while plugging away at the week's work, I stopped for a moment to surf a bit for story ideas. I hadn't been to the Foundry's site in a while, so I headed over.
When I saw a portrait of a woman aboard a boat, life vest firmly in place, all the other work I was planning to do got shoved aside. I clicked again, and here were these bright, almost dreamy photos from the 1950s that made me feel like I was back in Overland, in my grandparents' tiny living room, watching my Grandfather click through their travel slides.
I called Chicago photographer Jeff Phillips, the man behind “Lost and Found: The Search for Harry and Edna,” almost immediately and caught him on his drive from Chicago to St. Louis. My reaction was really common, he told me. Everyone connected with Harry and Edna.
Jeff told me about how the exhibit really began when he bought 1,100 old Kodachrome slides at the St. Charles Antique Mall. He set out trying to discover who these people were and to tell their story again.
And he succeeded. He found them.
I asked Phillips if he knew the living relatives and where they were, and he said, yes, one is named Carol Felzien.
Wait, I said, Carol Felzien of the St. Charles Convention and Visitor's Bureau?
So I e-mailed Carol to set up a time to talk. She's been a frequent source over the years.
"When he said your name I nearly fell out of my chair," I wrote her.
We spoke on Wednesday.
Usually when I write a story, feature stories in particular, I ask myself -- what is this story really about? My goal is to get it down to one word. This morning, I asked myself that question about Harry and Edna.
What is this story really about?
Images, I typed out. The fleeting nature of things now, how we're remembered.