Sunday, September 4, 2016

More memories...

More memories ... from my mom's collection of photos...

My brother Scott in a photo dated (by the lab) February 1959.  It looks like he's standing in the field that was east of our house, but at the east side of it (near US 130).  These hollies were all dug out and removed within a year or two of this photo; later my brother Mark had his house in that field.  This is the fourth photo I've found like this, where either Scott or myself was standing next to a holly tree.  I'm guessing my dad took these photos, and likely for inclusion in the catalogs and brochures he was printing for his mail order business.  A professional photographer he was not. :)

This is me, in a photo dated (by the lab) February 1959.  I remember that wire basket, though I haven't thought about it in probably over 50 years.  My parents sold small bags of oak leaf mold in paper bags at their retail nursery.  We'd fill those bags by opening them into this wire basket, shovel in the leaf mold, then close the bags with gummed tape that we had to wet before applying it.  Looks like those bags held about half a six year old kid! :)

Here's my brother Scott (left) and me (right).  The photo is dated (by the lab) March 1955; I'd have been two and a half, Scott just over a year old.  He sure looks like he's enjoying his bouncy horse!  That photo was taken in our living room, looking to the northwest.  The picture windows, sans its later “picture frame” surround, is visible at left.  Between us in the photo you can see what appears to be an unfinished wall – later there would be a small closet there, where we kept our games, playing cards, etc.  That overstuffed chair I remember very well.  For some reason, the memory that immediately comes up is my dad sitting in that chair, me on his shoulders, brushing his hair while he groaned in delight.  We kids loved that...

This photo is also dated (by the lab) March 1955, but Scott (foreground) and I (background) are dressed differently than the previous photo – it must have been on a different day, same roll of film.  The setting of this photo is just to the right of that in the last photo.  You can see the same chair at left in the photo.  This one clearly shows the nook (where that table is) that was later filled with bookshelves.  Oh, I remember those bookshelves so very well – once I was able to read, I devoured everything on them, several hundred volumes in all.  That little “window” was a serving window that led to the kitchen (which you're seeing through it).  I remember that table well, and it's been in several other photos I've posted.  The baseboard has not yet been installed here, and several other parts of the house would have been unfinished at that point (especially the “new” bathroom).

This is me on the little-used front porch of our home.  It's dated (by the lab) April 1955, when I was two and a half.  It looks like I had a cigarette (!) in my mouth, which is at least possible as my mom was still smoking at that point (she quit in 1964 when the Surgeon General announced that cigarettes caused health problems).  If you squint a little, you can see my brother Scott behind me, through the open door.  It must be my mom behind Scott, though I can't make out her face.  That wooden crate on the right would be valuable today; crates like that were common on our farm in my youth, as were bushel baskets.  I saw an old-fashioned bushel basket, just like the ones we had so many of (for apples and peaches) in an IFA (farm store) here not long ago – being sold as an antique, with an asking price of $259.  If only we'd known!

I love this photo of my brother Scott!  I can't quite make out what that box says, but I'm guessing it's some sort of model.  The photo is dated (by the lab) December 1958, when Scott was five.  Most likely this is just after Christmas, and the model was a gift.  I can make out a boat on a trailer in front of his arm, and it looks like he's holding another part in his right hand.  Such a look of concentration on his face!  Behind him is an old-fashioned rotary phone, sitting on a small cabinet that I remember (mainly I remember those drawer pulls!).  That's the local phone book underneath the phone.  My younger friends have probably never seen a phone like that, made out of heavy, thick Bakelite plastic and practically indestructible.  Those things had old-fashioned carbon particle microphones that you had to loosen up (by banging the mouthpiece against the table!) every so often, or the person on the other side of the call wouldn't be able to understand you. :)  I remember that old formica round dining table that Scott was sitting at; it had an aluminum extrusion that wrapped around its edge, with two joints in it.  Those joints were sharp, and I always tried to sit away from them.  The table is in our home's kitchen bay, and the camera is pointing just north of east.  Through the window behind Scott you can see the field east of our house, and rows of trees in it.  Those were hollies that we grew to a saleable size.  In the distance you can see utility poles; they were along US 130 that bordered our farm on the eastern side.  Across that highway, though not clearly visible here, was a large apple orchard belonging to a family named Sadley.  That land was (much) later gifted to the Catholic church (the Sadleys were Catholic) for the purpose of building a nunnery.  The church decided to sell it instead, which really upset the family.  Mr. Sadley had died at that point, but his widow renounced the church; I was told she never attended church again, nor received any priest.  One of their sons, Joe, was a school friend of mine; he also renounced the church.  Isn't it amazing what memories a photo like this can call up?

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