They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but for this beautiful vintage wedding photo found abandoned in a Texas garage, this picture’s tale is still a mystery.
Emmy Ordonez said her uncle found the large photo while cleaning the garage on a property the family rents in Dallas.
"My uncle was digging through the back shed garage. When he was cleaning it out, the owners told him, 'Take out the junk,'" Ordonez, 29, told ABC News. "He said there were broken antiques, broken furniture, bags with paper that had turned to mush, and they found the picture in the corner of the garage. It was the only thing that was intact, which was amazing because, wow, it looks great for being there."
Her uncle brought the photo to Ordonez’s attention in hopes she could help find its rightful owner. They posted a picture of the stunning black and white bride and groom to their Lakewood neighborhood’s Facebook page where it generated lots of buzz, but no real leads.
Their only clue? The photographer’s name and penciled inscription in the corner of the cardboard frame: "Portrait by Valeche" and "Valeche, NY."
"We Googled it and it says it’s from New York," she said. "You can see it clear as day like it’s a brand new picture."
An article from The Brooklyn Daily Eagle on June 9, 1926, reported that F. Valeche was known for portrait photography.
"Brooklyn has its makers of photographic supplies, and its commercial photographers, as well as photographers engaged in portrait work," it reads, describing Valeche as "the latter."
"We’ve had this picture for a year already. My uncle has been bugging about it, I’ve been worried about it," said Ordonez. "If it was us, we would want it back. Everyone who has lived in that house previously are deceased. That’s what we found. But maybe they weren’t named on the lease."
Ordonez said her family contacted the property owner when they first made the discovery to see if he had any answers but he didn’t seem to have any connection to it or personal interest in it.
Ordonez’s grandmother lives next door to the rented property and has been there for "years and years and years" and didn't know who the people in the picture were either.
"She’s worked most of her life as a waitress, so she was hardly home and, back then, she said it was a neighborhood that was more of a retirement area where older people lived," Ordonez explained. "As years went by, it’s become more of a Hispanic community."
The bride’s floor-length satin gown, lily bouquet and beaming smile and the groom’s strapping military uniform, which they believe is an army uniform from World War II, haunt Ordonez and her family who would love to know who the newlyweds are and learn about their love story.
"It seems like they lived a good life," she said. "To spend that kind of money for that kind of dress, I was like, ‘Wow.’ We noticed, as well, he has a little pinky ring. We think he looks kind of Italian."
They have a soft spot for the mysterious military couple, since Ordonez’s husband is retired military as well. The pristine old photo brings them joy.
"It’s something immaculate. It’s amazing," said Ordonez. "Something you would only see in the movies. It’s in great condition and you can tell it had to mean something special to someone."