Press Play to start audio

November 20, 2007


a bride with a long train
Karen Cline on her wedding day
Jim Wagner

The Value Of Pictures

The Value of Pictures

Karen and Mark Cline are now married, but 30 years ago they were teenagers in love. Karen was attending college and on a trip home she met Mark. She immediately dropped out of school, waited anxiously for her 18th birthday, and then they got married. They didn't have an elaborate wedding. Karen made the bouquet that she carried and she wore her sister's dress. They paid a deposit to the photographer, but when the time came, there wasn't enough money to pay for the prints. 

Over the years, Karen let go of the idea that she would ever see those photos again. All she had was one picture a friend took, and an inscribed napkin from the reception.

Jim Wagner was the photographer. Though he moved three times, the photo album stayed on his shelf. One day he decided to track Karen down.

The Gift And The Giver

In the late 1980s, Chrys Browne was stressed, burned out, and needed an escape. So she dropped everything and moved to Osaka, Japan. She relished living in a place that was so orderly and historic. And when she met Mrs. Gaya, a tea ceremony teacher who took Chrys under her wing, Chrys felt truly at home.

Every time Chrys returned to the U.S. to see her parents in West Virginia, Mr. and Mrs. Gaya sent her back with gorgeous and expensive gifts. So when her parents came to visit Japan, Chrys encouraged them to bring a really nice gift for the Gayas. The gift they brought was not the piece of art or pottery Chrys had envisioned - it was a "lump of coal" in the shape of a horse bought from a store on the interstate with the words "Born Free" written on the bottom. Chrys dreaded the moment her parents would present the Gayas with this tacky gift.

Tagged with
, and

You might also like…

Daily Story Update

Get daily updates and special announcements about The Story.

Produced by

WUNC North Carolina Public Radio 91.5 logo