Tuesday, December 19, 2006
A Life Well Lived
I found this photograph in a box of snapshots at a junk store near the corner of Doniphan and Artcraft in El Paso. I was drawn to it first by the strangely faded colors of the old print, as well as by the subject - an attractive, mature woman posed in front of a then-new '49 Mercury coupe. The photo had an over-all yellow tint; except for the bright finish on the car, the years had drained nearly all of the color from the rest of picture, including the figure and the background surroundings.
On the reverse side of the photo was a photo finisher's stamp:
KODACOLOR PRINT...Week of Dec. 19, 1949
Above the stamp, in a graceful hand, was an inscription revealing the place where the photograph was made, and the identity of the woman, Edwina Vogan. There is a slight disparity in the date assigned to the picture by the writer and the photo finisher's stamp. The affectionate rememberance and the date disparity suggests that the inscription was made after a considerable period of time past when the picture was snapped in front of the Mercury in Canutillo.
Since the picture was made locally, and given the rather unusual name, it seemed very likely that some additional information on the subject would not be hard to find. In fact, entering "Edwina Vogan" into the Google search engine quickly returned birth and death dates, along with the date and the place of burial:
Fort Bliss National Cemetery
Fort Bliss, El Paso County, Texas
Vogan, Edwina, b. 07/05/1911, d. 10/30/1988, US Army Air Corps, CPL, Res: Little Rock, AK, Plot: C 0 1851, bur. 11/02/1988
The very next entry was clearly her husband:
Vogan, Glenn A, b. 07/04/1910, d. 01/24/1981, US Army, TSGT, Res: El Paso, TX, Plot: C 0 1851, bur. 01/28/1981
A few screens further into the search results produced an obituary dated November 16, 1988; it was from the Winterset Madisonian, Winterset, Iowa.
So, Edwina Vogan had a long and productive life, including a career as an educator which was apparently what brought her to the El Paso area a half century ago. Her life spanned two World Wars and took her up to the beginning of the personal computer revolution. A decade past her death, the World Wide Web reassembled a portion of her family history and a link was enabled to a forgotten image from a sunny day long ago in Canutillo.