Out of a dark and stormy night, South Fayette’s mystery girl

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She wears a striped sundress, a bow in her hair, cradling a baby doll.

She could be 10. Maybe 12. Impossible to know for sure.

Who is she? Where did she come from? And how did she come to rest in Jim Harris’ pastoral backyard in south Fayette County Thursday morning?

The answers may lie in the resiliency of a black-and-white photograph, the staying power of an ink stamp, and the fury of an intense thunderstorm that skirted the area Wednesday night.

In the photo, the girl is leaning on a concrete wall. Two dated sedans and a rather unique tree are in the background.

It’s the back of the photo that yields solid clues, stamped into the print.

“Lollar’s. Birmingham. Aug. 14, 1941” — the stamp of a long-gone portrait photography studio.

Could the unbridled violence of that storm have ripped this photo from a home in Alabama, hundreds of miles away, and spirited it across many counties and a state line into Harris’ backyard?

Why did it land mere feet from Harris’ fern garden, instead of in the many rolling trees that are the calling card of rural Fayette County?

Coincidence, perhaps. Or maybe it was whisked into the storm that spawned a tornado that plowed into Spalding County a few miles away in the windy blackness of an April night.

But if indeed this young lady flew here all the way from Alabama, it must’ve been a wild ride.

The print is partially bent and tattered, but still quite intact. Unlike the storm, it survived the test of time.

Can the mystery be solved so the young lady is reunited with her family?

If you can identify the girl in this photograph, please email me at jmunford@thecitizen.com.