A Stranger's Story

I was blessed with some vintage photos today.

My cousin manages a housing community near Brooksville. Recently, a man in the community died. He had no family or friends. He had outlived everyone. She cared for him his last couple of years and kept some of his things when he passed - which included a box of pictures. Today while visiting, she said she didn't know what to do with them and she offered them to me. Of course, I said YES!

You might as well have handed me $100.

I don't know the people in these pictures. I just know their names.
Forest Smith and Vivian Smith.
Each one of these images had a message written on the back, written by Vivian.
These seem to be parting gifts to the man she would soon call her ex-husband.
It's really interesting to me, her choice of words to end a season.
Even more so, the fact that he kept them all for 68 years until he died at 98.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.


ForestSmith 5.jpg

"So you think on the other fellows side
The grass is always greener,
The air a little cleaner
That's where you belong?
So you think on the other fellows side
The sun is shining brighter
The loads a little lighter?
Well, brother, you're wrong.
You won't believe me, but it's true
That he's the one who envies you.
Though ev'ry where you look
The skys the same shade of blue.
So you think the other fellow has it easy
But don't take it hard
Because the grass is just as green
In your own backyard."


"There's nothing left for me
of days that used to be.
I live in memories
Among my souvenirs.
A cedar chest that's new
A photograph or two
I see a rose from you
Among my souvenirs.
A few more tokens rest
Within my cedar chest
And though they do their best
to give me consolation
I count them all apart
and as the tear drops start
I'm happy knowing you are setting
Among my souvenirs."

ForestSmith 4.jpg

"In speaking of a persons faults,
pray don't forget your own;
Remember those with homes of glass
should seldom throw a stone.
If we have nothing else to do
but talk of those who sin,
'Tis better we commence at home,
and from that point begin.'
We have no right to judge a man
until he's fairly tried;
Should we not like his company,
we know the world is wide.
Some may have faults - and who hasn't?
The old as well as young;
Perhaps we may for ought we know
have fifty to their one.
Then let us all, when we begin,
to slander friend or foe,
think of the harm one word may do,
to those we little know.
Remember curses sometimes like
our chickens "roost at home"
Don't speak of others' faults
Until we have none of our own."

ForestSmith 3.jpg

"There's been a change in the weather
There's been a change in the sea
So from now on, there'll be a change in ME.
My walk will be different
My talk and my NAME
Nothin' about me is goin' to be the same.
I'm going to change my way of livin'
If that ain't enough
Then I'll change the way
I strut my stuff
'Cause nobody wants you when you're old and grey.
That's why I had my name changed today.

July 15, 1950."

ForestSmith 2.jpg

"So ends romance,
I'm all packed and gone.
Take care of yourself
Try and forget!

We're out of touch now
It's no use to fret.
Don't drink quite so much
Try and forget!

Who cares whose right now
Since our dreams are on the shelf?
Don't fall in love for spite now,
You'll only hurt yourself.

Don't mind the gossip,
They talked when we met.
Just be yourself
Try and forget.

July 14, 1950"

ForestSmith 1.jpg

"Just couldn't leave this one out. I only hope your next wife will have you 3 good meals a day. There's one thing you can also say about me I was a good house keeper in every way. You never went hungry or broke as long as I had a cent. And your clothes were kept clean and fixed. Do you suppose she'll buy you a car, clothes, pay rent, buy eats and do like I did when we were married? I don't feel guilty of one thing. I was 100% a wife. All I can say I was good till the very last minute. The very best to you.

Always your friend."