The very first picture showed a string of pearls in a gift box.
The images which followed only made the case more interesting.
An unprocessed roll of film found inside a camera sold at Hippo Valley Mission Thrift Shop in Grayson came back from the lab this week with several clear images, launching an intense online effort to determine where the images were taken, and by whom.
Viewing the photos for the first time, it was immediately apparent there are no people in any of the images.
Following the picture of pearls in a silk-lined box was a series of photos of flowers and cards, as well as a pair of cakes which provided a name and a date to search for.
The birthday girl’s name was Pauline, and she was celebrating 80 years on this Earth.
Her gifts included fresh flowers, a string of pearls and, most likely, the Canon Sure Shot 105 Zoom camera which eventually found it’s way to the thrift shop on Main Street in downtown Grayson, along with more than a dozen rolls of 35mm Kodak and Fuji film.
One theory is, Pauline was given the camera and all that film as part of her birthday celebration, and that she snapped pictures of her beautiful flowers, and pearls, while checking the camera out after the party. A big hole in that hypothesis comes from the fact that only a couple of pieces of one cake had been cut.
Shared by several on social media, interior scenes offered taunting details (including family photos and telephone directories for Huntington, West Virginia) to online detectives.
Possibly taken in 1999 after the camera was purchased from K-Mart in Pikeville, Kentucky, Pauline’s identity has not been established at the time of this posting. If you recognize the time and place as part of your family’s history, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story and Photo Reproductions by TIM PRESTON