I picked her up in an online auction, took her in like an orphan, even though she was someone’s daughter, and was probably someone’s mother.

Looking at her now, it seems to me she would have made the perfect wife or, even better, lover.

She meant something to someone, back then. When she was someone’s secretary, when she was someone’s boss. But who was she now? She was someone’s photographic memory loss.

Since I cannot solve the mystery of who she was, this is my invented history of the photograph I came across:

She was at ease in front of a typewriter, as she was in front of a camera. This is her, pictured in The Examiner, under the headline SECRETARY MAKES GOOD.


It was the story of how she typed for glory on an old Underwood.

By day, she worked in the office of the Press Association, where she typed up memoranda and took dictation. By night, she was a writer of a different type and penned romantic fiction.

You can still find her books, if you look for them, on the bookshelves at your local thrift. Flick through the yellowed pages in those phonebooks of the dead and she’s likely to be listed.

Do not let it go to your head that you wrote a book. Fifty years from now, believe me, no-one will give a fuck. Even if, right now, you think it means something to someone.