Brother August

by Kayla Trail

Recently, I’ve begun collecting old photographs. Trips to antique stores or fairs turn into hours of ruffling through bins and boxes of black and white photos. I like to imagine that I am collecting their stories along with their images.

Sometimes they have captions scrawled on the back in a cursive’d hand.

Sometimes they are in mats, long removed from their frames.

But each and every time I pick through these forgotten fragments of so many different lives, I can’t help but be sad. Our lives are so fleeting that it takes no time at all for our mementos and memories to become obsolete and meaningless. Who were these people? I want to know about their relationships, triumphs, struggles and pain.


This picture I recently acquired and is my favorite so far. There is a message written on the back which reads:

Brother August in World – War 1914-1918 

One can assume this was written before a “one” was required on that title. But I can’t help but wonder which one was Brother August? Which side were they fighting for? Where was this taken? Did they ever make it back home alive? This are all questions I want to ask this picture but I know I will just have to settle for their silent, stoic stares in reply.