Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sepia Saturday -- "Pigeon-Toed"

This is my fourth Sepia Saturday post. Click on the link to see who else is "playing" this week!

* * * * *

I'm posting this Sepia Saturday entry even earlier than last week's -- in terms of it not yet being Saturday, I mean -- because this weekend is already shaping up to be hectic. Anyway, here goes...

A close-up of the oldest existing
photo of my mother , which I used
in last week's Sepia Saturday post,
cropped and re-printed here because...
well... because I like it. Sue me.

I've purposely done no computer "touch-up" work on any of the photos I've presented during these Sepia Saturday posts of mine. I've done nothing to smooth out creases, "fix" chipped-off corners, etc. Even if I were to do so, however, the following shot is one I couldn't even begin to restore. Surprisingly enough, the first time I ever saw it was at my mother's apartment, less than two years ago. Quite frankly, it's trashed... yet it's obvious why my mother saved it, preserved from further damage in a little Ziploc bag along with a piece of carboard to keep it from bending.

It's a picture of my mom's sister Josie, lovingly holding her fifteen-years-younger sibling, my mother Anita. (It's also one of the few early shots of my mom actually smiling, rather than grimacing due to -- I assume -- the era's annoying necessity of the photo's subject(s) having to stare into the blinding sun whenever photographs were taken!) What's left of the caption hand-written in ink on the lower border reads "Sisters" and "April." (Although a lot of these little notations have faded into illegibility over the years, I remain grateful to my mother and whoever else supplied these bits of written information on the various early family photos. It's helped me a lot in terms of names and dates, obviously.)

Going through literally hundreds of photos as I began this task of posting my family's history, I was frustrated at the missing lower right-hand corner of this photo, however. "April of what year?" I wondered. I estimated it as being between 1921 and 1923. But luck was with me. In with a separate group of photos, I found one of Aunt Josie, standing alone on the very same steps, in the very same outfit, plainly labeled "April, 1922." So my mom was four-and-a-half years old, making this the second-oldest photo of her that I have!

Another couple of early shots of my mom follow. I estimate her age in these two as being between ages five and seven. A picture of " 'Nita" with a younger child named Alvina -- a cousin, I believe(?) -- is first, and a playfully-posed shot with my mother's brother Eddie is second.

And last, but definitely not least, is the photo which inspired the title of today's post. My mom labelled it "Pigeon-Toed," due to her slightly unusual stance, and in it, she was about six years old.

More than once, when I was a child, my mother would tell me the two-part story this picture called to her mind.

Note the hairstyle, such as it was. That was the result of the day my mom mischievously ran amok with a pair of scissors. She cut her own hair (hence the uneven bangs in the snapshot). It was warm weather, so she "shortened" the sleeves of a winter coat. She also decided that the drapes in her home were too long, so... Well, you can guess the rest.

I really doubt she was able to sit at the end of that particular day...

Mom's "Pigeon-Toed" story didn't end there. On (presumably) another day, she was in Elm Park in Worcester, Massachusetts, feeling envious of the many other children who had toy boats to sail on the surface of the park's pond. Mom's family couldn't afford such minor luxuries, so she used one (or both) of her shoes, and her hat. (I have no way of confirming it at this late date, but I like to think it was the very hat she held in this photo, a photo taken with that body of water in the background... a "body of water" made ominous-looking in the context of this tale.)

The makeshift "boats" sank. And so did little Anita's hopes for a trouble-free day once she returned home, I suspect.

My mom was certainly never much of a trouble-maker at any time in her life. (She often told me that by the time she married my father shortly before she hit 23, the worst word she'd ever used in her life was "darn.") Nevertheless, kids will be kids, and she was no exception. Not to mention, it was always nice for me to hear the so-called "dirt" about my elders, as harmless as it may have been.

So, who'da thunk it? Even my mom wasn't perfect, not that I ever thought -- or wanted -- to believe otherwise. But she was still a doll.

Thanks for your time.


  1. fun and wonderful post silver. loved the pics as well. hope this finds you doing well...

  2. Wonderful stories about your mother - and wonderful pictures too. And you are so right about those little descriptions and dates people used to add to photographs - they are worth their weight in gold. Great Sepia Saturday stuff.

  3. What a lovely post, I so enjoyed the tales of what your mother got up to as a child. :)

  4. David, that's extremely nice.

    I may eventually join up to this group as I have lovely photos of my folks and family I'd like to share. I don't work my husband's scanner but I guess I can learn altho' it will require me hooking into it and now I'm starting to wonder if I'll do it at all.

    Brian Miller's 55 interests me as well. You write a poem in 55 words.

    Enough about me. What do YOU think about me?

  5. I probably won't get to see everybody else's Sepia Saturday posts until Saturday evening, but I'm looking forward to them!

    @California Girl: I did a Flash 55 story a couple of weeks ago, believe it or not! Yeah, me, Mr. Long-Winded me! I can't even keep my comments that brief, usually.

    [sits back and wonders how many people will count the words in this comment]

  6. I love the expression on your Mother's face in the first photo. And the sisterly love is so evident in the one with and Josie and her.

  7. The fact that your mother took so much trouble to preserve that photograph of Josie and herself, proves how valuable images become to us.

    I think this story, told loving in both words and images, is a wonderful tribute to the little girl who grew up to have you.

  8. Darn! You mean mom's aren't perfect?

    Well, she looks perfect in those photos. And that was some impressive detective work you did.

    I know what you mean about not photoshopping any of these pictures. The various imperfections only add to their character.

  9. Wonderful pictures! And your words bring the little girl to life!

  10. Hi Silver, great story and pics. I agree also, about not photoshopping those photos. I just came into a large group of family pictures yesterday due to an unexpected visit from a cousin. So sad how we get separated and how great to get together as adults. I used to put dates on all my photos and I have stacks and stacks of them. I don't want my children to ever forget their heritage. Blessings

  11. Great story about your mom. I'm sure she is sailing her boat now. Some cute pictures here of her.
    Happy SS Silver Fox!! :) The Bach

  12. Wonderful sotry and photos with scrunched up noses facing into the sun, so true to the times! I laughed out loud at your Mom's escapade with the scissors; seems she had quite a day of it! I did something similar but only got as far as my hair! I'll bet she felt it the rest of the day too!

    I have the same trials dating photos unless I find a matching one somewhere with dates noted.

  13. Well, she was resourceful and loved scissors! haha. The pictures are wonderful. That first one is priceless, I agree...even in it's condition....their love just shines through. I love these posts of full of info that they deserve a second read. :)

  14. Great pictures and I love the stories about your mom. I get a sense of her strength and humor from the pictures too.

  15. I have a sister (not Betsy, but a younger one) who's 11 years my junior, who came to mind when I saw the pic of your mother and your Aunt Josie. I was a sort of "junior mother" to her. Another lovely Sepia Saturday post, Mr. Fox.

  16. I simply love the photo of Aunt Josie cuddling your mom. It is beautiful, even or especially with its battered and obviously well-loved wear and tear.

  17. Enchanting post -- I love little girls who are full of curiosity and mischief. It seems like little girls think scissors are for hacking away at their hair. I know I did. My daughter did. Even my boys did, I think. But my daughter used to drive me nuts because she always cut her dolls' hair.

  18. this was wonderful!

    thank you for sharing your family stories.

    i'm heartbroken in that recently when i was at my folks and found an old photo album so many of the really old and priceless photos in it were scribbled on and thoroughly mother fessed up and said that she and her sibs had do it when they were young....

  19. I love finding out that our "grown ups" were once children and got into trouble! My dear grandmother, whom I only ever knew as a kind, church-going, cookie-baking, big-hug-giving woman got in trouble as a teenager for racing the horse and buggy home from church. Charming photos and anecdotes. I look forward to finding out more.

  20. Thanks for all your cool comments, folks. I'm at the very beginning of tracking down tons of family info, but it'll only show up here on Saturdays if it relates to my direct lineage, with occasional chapters on specific relatives.

    I'm going to start going through everyone else's SS posts now, and hopefully will have them all done by tomorrow night!

  21. funny stories Fox - and she was a doll! despite that hysterical hair cut.

  22. You have so much love for your mother.
    I am humbled by your tribute to her.

    Have you a great week.


  23. Well. the 2nd photo may be "Trashed" But ,even that adds extra 'feel' to an evokative Image.
    Sorry Im so late in posting a response.Best Wishes,Tony.

  24. She was a doll, indeed.

    Thanks for sharing.

  25. wow owesome post and picture. I tend to only read the blogs that I find interesting .
    Keep posting stuff like this i really like it.


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