The next letter I will transcribe is something of a capper to a series of letters that have all mentioned photographs. Babe asks for photos of his family. His family, apparently, has asked repeatedly for Babe to send home photos of him. They have even made some sort of “threat” to go around Babe, possibly, and seek photos from other sources. It’s hard to tell.
But this next letter actually had some photographs in it — five of them.
Babe will describe each of them, and they all seem to be in a silly or humorous vein. The photographs didn’t survive along with the other letters, however. I don’t have them and as far as I know, nobody does.
In fact, the more I work through these letters, the more amazed I am that virtually no photographs of Babe exist beyond the one that appears on this page. I wrote long ago about how that photograph had gained something like iconic status in my mind, as it held a prominent position in my grandmother’s house all the years we would visit her.
In this day of instant photography, when everyone carries a camera phone and the silliest of life’s moments are cause for a gallery on Facebook, it’s hard to imagine a time when a photograph would be so precious.
But that photograph in the upper right side of this page is it. My mother inherited so many of the keepsakes from my grandmother when she died — things like these letters, his ribbons, badges and patches, for example — that if there were any other photographs of Babe, I would think I’d have known about them by now.
None of my mother’s family is left anymore. I have an aunt who was married to my Uncle Bob (known in these letters as “Bib“). I can consult her, but again, I’d have thought by now any other photos of Babe would have come to light. I also have some cousins — the children of my Uncle Vin — that I could consult. But I’m skeptical they’d have anything.