Crew Captain, Oarsman
Dear H.A. Bolles,
Well, here you are on 20th March, 1923. A Tuesday, I believe. Eyes slitted against the bright sun, oar in your hand. Don't you look the picture of fine health and handsomeness! Maybe it's a coldish day, I mean it looks like you have a swimming costume of some sort on and rolled down, with a windcheater thrown on for warmth.
Henry, is that your name? Harold? Hank? (I think Henry suits you.) How old are you here Henry? 20, 21 maybe? I'd like to think you are still alive today, but you'd be well over 100 and so I guess it's unlikely.
I hope you had a long wonderful life Henry. Did you love well, and were well loved in return? Or were you a bit of a handsome cad, leaving a string of broken hearts (and maybe the unrequited love of a certain young doe eyed cox) in your wake? Were you moneyed and privileged, or hardworking and funded by scholarships and sheer hard graft? Drove a sharpish motor with a flapper alongside, all boyish figure, bobbed hair and rolled down stockings?
You have beautiful hands, which I guess the weather and the oars roughened up a bit over time. I like your hair too, and just looking at it makes me think about running my fingers through its lushness. Did you smell good Henry? Like liniment, or Bay Rum and Jamaican Limes maybe? Like soap, and sometimes like good clean sweat?
I hope you were a kind man. Beloved of your mates, and good to those around you. Strong and fair. Loving to your family. Maybe you had a family of your own? Did you leave your mark, in a big way or small? Is there a plaque somewhere with your name on it, or was your legacy written in smaller deeds and the respect and love of others?
One thing's for sure, I'll bet you were a pretty good rower. It's my guess that you cut a fine figure with those oars in your lovely hands.
[Pic via www.shorpy.com]