Our first vendor, Tom K., moved into his booth about a week before we opened our antiques, arts and crafts shop. He had a lot of really neat items, some classic old, some fun and rustic, beautiful dishes and random odds and ends, including an old barn wood framed black and white photo of a family sitting outside in front of an 1800’s style log home.
From the time he hung it up it always seemed oddly familiar and I enjoyed looking at it every time I passed by. A few weeks later a couple of customers commented on it, how cool it was and we all wondered aloud who it might be and where and when it was taken. Even at that point none us took it down to see if there was anything written on the back.
A month had passed and my sister came to town to visit. As soon as she saw the photo she said it reminded her of one that hung in our grandparents living room above a green rocking chair. I agreed and told her how it had always seemed so familiar to me for some reason. Being the wise and curious person that she is, she took it down, turned it over and exclaimed loudly, “IT IS the photo that hung in grandma and grandpa’s living room!”
“The family of: Frank Jefferson Corser 5/2/1850 – 3/16/1923 and his wife, Frances Adelia Stimer, (Steiner) April 20, 1853 – 1938. Taken about 1891 – 93.
Reading left to right: Harley, Adelia with baby Nelson, Arthur, Ernest, Frank with Maude on his right and Blanch on end of line.”
Chills swept over me and we were both near tears. It had been a little over seven years since our grandmother had passed and six years since we had the estate sale in Lansing, Michigan.
The questions of where and when Tom got the photo flew through my head and the astounding synchronicity that he brought it here, to this very shop, when he had booths in two other shops in two other cities 10-20 miles away.
The overwhelming “meant to be” feelings were and have been just phenomenal ever since … beyond coincidence … beyond the mysteries of life.
The next day Tom came in to check on his booth and I barely let him in the door before I began babbling about our discovery. He was just as surprised and delighted with the synchronicity of it all. We talked about the timing of the estate sale, who had run it and where it was but he was fairly certain that he got the photo from an auction just two or three years before and definitely not in Lansing.
Since then I have been going through a 362-page genealogy document that my grandmother had helped to compile and have determined that Frank Jefferson Corser is our great-great grandfather. The photo was most likely taken in 1892 based on the information about “baby Nelson” who was born in November 1891 and looked to be under a year of age in the photo. However the exact location where the log home was, is still a mystery, as most of the children of that family were just listed as “born in Michigan.” So far I have found that Frank was born in Homer, Michigan and died in Springport, Michigan.
In the meantime I will continue to enjoy looking at the photo, now hanging in our living room and having fun digging through the mysteries of our family history.