Monday, September 19, 2016

More memories...

More memories ... from my mom's photo collection.  All of these photos are modern copies of older photos, and I do not have the originals.  None of them are dated by the lab.

On the back, in my mom's handwriting: “Don MacLaughlin front right”.  That would be her brother (my uncle) Donnie.  They're wearing some formal clothing that I don't recognize, all with sashes and bow ties, and a scarf of sorts around their necks that has different initials for different people.  The fellow at the lower left is holding a stick with ribbons on it.  I've no idea what sort of an organization requires this kind of odd dress.  Whatever it was, my uncle was apparently part of it!

My mom wrote “Don & Elinor” on the back of this one.  She's on the left, my uncle Donnie on the right.  There's a building in the background that looks curved, perhaps a water tank or the base of a water tower.  I don't recognize the location.  My mom appears to be about 6 or 7, placing this in '41 or '42.  I'm guessing summer of '41, just prior to the U.S. entry into WWII.  They look quite happy and carefree in this photo.

This one says “Aunt Mattie & Bonnie” on the back in my mom's handwriting.  I don't recognize the location.  That's her sister (my aunt) Bonnie (the kid), and the mysterious Aunt Mattie who I haven't been able to actually identify.  Again in this photo Bonnie's head looks too big for her body.  At that time, and when I was young as well, it was common and normal for little prepubescent girls to run around topless as Bonnie is here.  It's much less common today (in the U.S.).  We're getting even more prudish, to the amusement of basically the entire rest of the world. :)

This one was taken in the dining room of our home in Robbinsville.  On the back, in my mom's handwriting: “First Thanksgiving in Elinor + Tom’s new home 1953”.  I'd have been a year old, but I'm not in the photo.  Left-to-right: my dad (looking incredibly young and sporting the mustache I don't remember), my aunt Bonnie, my maternal grandmother Mable, and my maternal grandfather Donald MacLaughlin.  You can see a plate on the east wall; I remember that plate.  A hutch filled that location later, with many plates and teapots on it.  The arched doorway behind my grandfather led to our living room.  My dad was 29 years old in that photo, and had already been a soldier, a chicken farmer, and now a nurseryman.  He'd helped build a house (the one he's sitting in!), obtained a mortgage, learned to type 70 wpm, and had traveled all over northern Africa and southern Europe.  That winter he would buy a WWII surplus jeep, brand new, packed in barrels of cosmoline.  Over the next couple of winters he assembled it, got it running, and he kept it for about four more years.  I have a few memories of riding with him in that canvas-topped thing, one in particular in the mountains of West Virginia when I was four or five years old...


  1. I'm really enjoying these old photos Tom! (even though I'm not related). the group photo IS interesting - especially the fellow on the back left who has a completely different sash design. The group seems to have the initials O.O. I googled "1940's group OO" and came up with OO gauge model railroads. Any possibility that might be the connection?

  2. I didn't know my uncle very well ... but somehow I just can't imagine him being into model railroads!