Looking for things to throw away to relieve the crowding, after pulling things aside and getting deeper into the dark, damp, cinder blocked room like an Egyptologist, I opened dusty, brown, cardboard boxes with faded writing from magic markers past; boxes unmoved and untouched for 39 years. I was stunned to find a treasure of letters and photographs; some over 100 years old. It was apparent that these boxes came with my grandmother on my mother’s side (Matilda Loepp) from Sioux City, Iowa when she moved in with us in 1980; and they simply stayed there after she passed away in 1982, unchecked and forgotten. I realized that I was, at that moment, the only person who knew of the existence of these pictures; that my mother at 85 years of age and her sister at 88 years of age were the last two people who could solve the mystery of these photos, taken half a century to more than a century ago; I realized that Fate on behalf of the Loepps past, had bestowed on me the family duty of recovering these life stories and passing them on. “…our grandmother in Iowa, Mrs. Loepp, had kept this simple Christmas card with her for the rest of her life from 1964 to 1982. As my parent’s house was her final residence, there were some boxes with her belongings stored in the basement. Only this year did I find this box and discover the things she saved and valued.”
Eric Hodgkins was raised in Fairfax City, Virginia. He obtained his English Writing Degree from George Mason University. He worked in IT with the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. State Department for 13 years where he worked on foreign language courses and embassy-training courses. Eric taught English as a Foreign Language (EFL) for seven years in Asia; one year in Korea and six years in Japan where he did some writing work for the Assistant to the Governor of Tokyo. He learned survival Korean and could converse pretty well in Japanese. He is currently living back in Fairfax City, Virginia where several of his stories take place.