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When you get home, slip her name on a piece of paper, behind the photo…

Tuffy P writing tonight.. this is an image of my grandmother, Mary Jane when she was 17. It was taken in Toronto in the former Eaton’s department store on Yonge Street. Here’s the story of how I came to know this photo’s story 103 years after it was taken…

When my Dad passed, this photo of his mom, made it to our home. He had it in his bedroom in the latter years of his life. It’s in a special case. A daguerreotype case.

This past Thursday, Salah had a special tour planned at the Ryereson Image Centre in Toronto. The Howard and Carole Tanenbaum Photography Collection “True To The Eyes” was on. The show is wonderful. The catalogue is currently moving around the house with me. I am pouring through the images, and stories of how these plates came to be part of the Tanenbaum collection. As luck would have it, Carole Tanenbaum joined us at the start of the tour as we were looking at the daguerreotypes from their collection. I happened to say we had a daguerreotype at home, of my grandmother. Carole suggested that when I get home, to slip her name on a piece of paper behind the photo.

This morning, I went upstairs to our tree house, where this photo has been, and realized – it’s not a daguerreotype at all. Still remembering Carole’s suggestion to slide her name behind the photo, I carefully popped the copper foil from the case.

And there, beneath the photo, I discovered the daguerreotype you see above, a photo of my Great Grandmother – Eliza McTernan Keys – taken likely in the 1880’s.

And behind my Grandmother’s photo was the story of her photo written over 100 years ago…

None of this would have even happened had it not been for Carole’s suggestion – to slip her name on a piece of paper behind the photo last Thursday… thank you Carole!

Time travelling 139 years in Toronto with my ancestors. The power of photos is everlasting. Treasure your family photos – they will continue to convey their stories for others long after we are gone.

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