Stage of the budding relationship

Essay's Score: C

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While cleaning out her attic in Florida, my ninety-five-year-old great-grandmother surprised me with a previously unseen photograph. The picture featured a studio portrait of herself taken about a year before she got married to my great-grandfather. I was captivated by the image of my great-grandmother as a young twenty-year-old girl, and the accompanying narrative only increased my curiosity. Despite slight differences in our facial shapes, I couldn’t help but notice the striking resemblance between the woman in the picture and myself. What stood out were our identical hair characteristics – her silky brown locks gracefully cascading around her face bore an uncanny resemblance to mine.

The small, straight nose and wide grin with down-curving “smile lines” seen in my own snapshots are the same as my great-grandmother’s. Her closed mouth holds a slight smile on her full lips. The most striking feature in the photo is her eyes, which are identical to my own large, dark brown ones. Thin brows, plucked into lines like two pencil strokes, highlight her fine, luminous eyes.

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I have examined the attire and accessories shown in the picture with great attention. Despite being taken seventy-five years ago, my great-grandmother is adorned in a blouse and skirt that could effortlessly pass as fashionable in today’s era. The blouse, crafted from thick satin in a delicate shade of ivory, gleams as it catches the light in its pleats and crevices. It features a folded cowl collar that can be turned down and intricate hand-sewn smocking adorning the shoulders and just below the collar. The smocking, composed of petite gathers of fabric, appears to have been meticulously done by hand. On the other hand, the skirt enveloping my great-grandmother’s lower legs is sleek and constructed from either lightweight wool or flannel fabric.

My great-grandmother is wearing silver drop earrings that are approximately two inches long and shaped like a shield. She also has a matching bracelet on her left wrist, but unfortunately, we cannot find it despite searching through the attic for hours. On her left hand’s third finger, she wears a ring with a large, square-cut stone. The story behind the image is just as intriguing to me as the young woman portrayed in it. Great-Grandmother, who worked as a file clerk and made twenty-five dollars a week, decided to gift her boyfriend (who later became my great-grandfather) a picture to sell.

She bought the skirt and blouse at a fancy department store downtown, spending nearly two weeks’ salary. She borrowed the earrings and bracelet from her older sister, Dorothy. The ring on her finger was a present from another young man she was currently seeing. Great-Grandmother used part of her salary to pay for the hand-tinted print in old-fashioned shades of brown and tan from the portrait photographer. Right before giving the picture to my great-grandfather, she hastily wrote “Sincerely, Beatrice” at the bottom left corner.

Studying this picture evokes various reactions within me. I contemplate the efforts my great-grandmother put forth to impress my great-grandfather in their early stages of courtship. The sight of the ring brings amusement, as it was likely worn to incite jealousy. I find joy in observing the serious and formal inscription my great-grandmother chose during this time of blossoming romance. Occasionally, a combination of delight and sorrow overwhelms me when gazing upon this timeless moment from the distant past. It encapsulates both beauty and love, while also serving as a reflection on my personal history.

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Stage of the budding relationship. (2018, May 03). Retrieved from

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