This picture of my paternal
grandparents, Max and Sophie, was probably taken around 1900; or perhaps a
little later, judging by the clothing they're wearing. They both look to be in
their sixties although work was surely so hard that they aged fast, and may have
been in their late fifties. It may have been the first time they had their
picture taken, given their slight air of curiosity, even bemusement, with the
occasion. But that look is overridden by a much more powerful one, that of
confrontational directness. They seem to be almost challenging the photographer.
They are enormously self-confident, borne up out of what they have achieved.
These are shared looks, both expressing in their faces the same strong beliefs
in themselves and, by implication, in each other. And in that reading one can
also say that love is being expressed. They do not seem tall, but are both
stocky; and one suspects that grandfather is very muscular. They have likely
dressed for the occasion, both in their Sunday finery. It is very somber, dark
clothing, touched up by a pin for her and what seems some sort of cravat for
him. Their faces are both rugged, and despite their directness years of toil and
troubles are there to be read. There is a short stone wall to the left of the
picture, and just beyond the wall another stone structure, which may have been
their oven for baking bread. Wood is stacked behind them and to the right, which
would seem to point to the picture taken in the fall. The ground is uneven, dirt
and stone. Directly behind them is the yard and barn - Hof und Scheune - constructed of stone, wood, and, insofar as I can make, a thatched roof. All seems in order, tidy, the most visible sign of a life that was demanding but ordered; and surely sufficient for what they expected of it.
Max and Sophie Metzger in Krautheim