I first saw this photo several years ago when doing some ancestry research on my husband’s family. It is a photo of his grandmother and two of her sisters – the Salvesen sisters. The photo is faded with age and unfortunately someone has cut off the fourth sister. As far as my husband remembers it has always looked like this. I found the photo intriguing and used it to write an opening chapter as part of my second Open University course a couple of years ago. My aunt asked me the other day how my "Salvesen" story was going. I had to admit it wasn’t, but having looked again at this photo, I’m going to revisit it with the hope of developing it further so watch this space! Here is the opening paragraph:
The old woman struggles to sit up and, with a shaking hand, she reaches for the picture. Her gnarled hand claws thin air and frustrated she tries again. She pulls the solid silver frame towards her, the edge scraping along the surface of the bedside table, like fingernails down a blackboard. Three sepia faces stared back at her. The right-hand side of the picture is tattered where it has been cut and, along this jagged line, the wispy remains of a fourth person can just be seen, like a shadow or ghost. The women are beautiful, but that was a long time ago.