Michael Cole
Social Constructs and Systems
Ms. Henry
February 19, 2065

Assignment #4 – Family History

I started this project several weeks ago with the help of my mother and aunt, who helped me research a mystery in our family’s past that I was interested in. I have come to believe that my great-grandmother, Susan Roberts Burrows, was a ghost. I will tell you why in this paper.

There are no photographs of Susan Burrows. I have spent hours researching in every database available to me, and I have spoken with every relative I can find who might have known something about her. I can find the information of her birth, where she attended school, when she married, when she had her children, and when she died. But there are no photographs of her, and I was unable to either speak to or read about anyone who could verify that they had seen either a photograph or other representational image of her, or could even describe what Susan Burrows looked like.

This would not be unusual had she lived in times prior to the invention of the camera. Many people lived and died with no record of their looks then. But Susan lived in a time when cameras were inexpensive and popular, and used in great frequency by families and institutions. In fact, there are many photographs of Susan’s husband, Tom Burrows, and their children, Ashley, Nate, and Maya, at holidays and vacations and family get-togethers. I could not find a single one of Susan over her lifespan of 87 years. Not any from her birth or childhood, her wedding or anything. Her high school yearbook has her name, but only a blank gray box where her face should have been.

I have in front of me spread on a table 108 photographs of Susan’s mother, father, two brothers, aunt and uncles and cousins, her husband and children, their children, and their children. I will as best I am able, fashion an image of Susan from this, how I think she looked from those she was related to.

Susan Burrows was a woman of average height and weight, about 5’5” tall and 145 pounds. She had light brown hair that would become wavy if cut short. She had blue eyes that tilted up at the outer corners, and a long straight nose. She had an oval face with cheeks that would become bright pink in the sun or the cold. She had freckles on her arms and face. She had a full mouth and slightly crooked teeth. She had dark brown eyebrows that had a slight arch. She had a round chin, somewhat pointy ears, and may have worn glasses.

Nothing exists to tell me why there are no pictures of her, or why the only information I can find on her are basic statistics, common to all people. There are no family stories about her, no links to her hobbies or interests or work. Was she very shy, unaccomplished, ugly? Was she too busy to stop to have her picture taken? Did she not ever travel, drive, have an identification card? Did no one want to freeze time and keep any of her?

Susan Roberts Burrows is a ghost, known now to no one.