Thursday, September 15, 2011

Once Upon A Time...Long, Long Ago...

I've spent the past three days immersed in the past - my past.  My sister, Wendy, is working on a project and needs pictures.  I've become the unofficial keeper of the pictorial history of our family so she naturally turned to me.  I have hundreds, even thousands, of pictures - all of Mum's photo albums were given to me when she went into long term care.  So when Wendy asked me to make her  disk of pictures and bring it to her in Winnipeg at the end of the month, I got started.  Most of the pictures are treasures only to our family but some have interesting stories attached to them.  I'll share a few of those here.  If nothing else it's fun to see the fashions that real people wore back in the early days of the 20th century.

Grandad was a hunter and trapper when he wasn't working at the Cariboo gold mine in Nova Scotia. He returned from one of his hunting trips, so we were told, with this baby moose.  Noone ever said what happened to its mother.  Grandad decided to keep it and nourish it back to health.  He notified the Dept. of Lands and Forests, or some such thing, and had permission to do so as long as he released it when the time was right.  The moose became quite a pet and attracted visitors from the neighboring village and as far away as Halifax.  This all happened in the late 1920s.  Mum was just a child at the time but when writing her life story many years later she included the story of this moose.  Aside from the moose though, just look at the clothes the young ladies are wearing - definitely 1920s garb, especially the headwear.  One of the girls from Halifax was Grandad's sister.  The woman at the moose's head is his wife, my Grandmother. Mum would have been 7 or 8 at the time.

These little girls are about one and a half and two and a half.  The little one sitting on the trike is me, with Wendy standing on the back.  This has become a family classic.  I have a similar picture of my two oldest daughters on a trike when they're 3 and 4, and one of them has a picture of her two daughters in the same pose. 

Mum and Dad's wedding portrait in the church doorway, Halifax, NS.  I still have the slip Mum hand sewed to wear under the dress - it was too small for either me or Wendy to wear.  The dress was her sister-in-laws so she have it back to her.  They had a nice wedding but Mum was always embarassed that she forgot to invite the Minister and his wife to the reception.  This was August 10, 1946.

That contraption Wendy is in was called a BabeeTenda.  It was a fold-up table with a section in the middle that could be converted to a seat where the baby was put for safe keeping and playing.  I remember seeing this around even after I had outgrown it.  This picture must have been taken around the time I was born.  Wendy and are are 8 days short of a year apart.  It always bugged her that for eight days of the year I insisted I was the same age as her.  I was Pat the Brat, remember.

This picture was taken not long after we got Ken.  He was 9 months old when we adopted him and Wendy and I took an immediate motherly interest in him. Notice the hair bows and ringlets in our hair? We have lots of pictures of the two of us back then and we always had ringlets and hair bows...and wore dresses.  Mum used to say my ringlets lasted for about 5 minutes while Wendy's stayed good all day.

This is Mum in 1944 or 45 when she was working at the Ministry of War Transport in Halifax during the Second World War.  She didn't meet Dad till the war was over and he came home from overseas with her brothers and cousins who were in the same battallion as he was.  He knew that his buddies had seven sisters and used to threaten to marry one of them when he got home.  We're all glad he did!

This picture, taken in 1950 is the earliest color picture we have.  It had become dark and yellow with age but with the magic of computer editing, I was able to give it a truer color. You'll notcethe hair bow again, although Wendy's has been replaced by two perfect curls!

Dad, just after the war, 1945 or 46.  I always thought he looked like Fred Astaire, although he hated dancing.  Whenever I watch an old Fred Astaire movie I think of Dad.

Wendy and I with Dad's mother (we called her Nanny) around 1953 or 54.  We used to travel to Nova Scotia every summer to visit her.  She loved her grandchildren and always had a bowl of scotch mints on her piano for us.  She had what we called 'sugar diabetes' and I was always so impressed that she was able to give herself needles.  She died of a heart attack when I was 10.  I was named after her, Millicent.  Mum wasn't too fond of that name so I was always called by my middle name, Pat.  I have learned to love the name though, mostly because it belonged to someone who meant a great deal to me when I was very young.  (see the bows and ringlets again).

Back before PETA when women were allowed, and encouraged, to wear fur, Mum bought herself this lovely fur coat...she said it was muskrat...I didn't like the sound of that, but the fur was lovely and soft and long.  I remember her telling us how mad she was that she didn't wait another week before buying it as it went on sale then. Nevertheless, she wore that coat for years.  I remember seeing it (and putting it on) when I was a teenager.  I don't know whatever happened to it.  I'm the baby she's holding so this would be the winter of 1948.

Moving forward, this is our family in 1965 - the year Wendy graduated from high school.  Of course, I followed the next year.  I loved those outfits we were wearing.  Although you can't see them, we had straight skirts of the same tartan that the sweaters were trimmed with.  Mine was Prince Edward Island tartan - browns, yellow, green - and Wendy's was New Brunswick tartan - red yellow blue. 

Well, I think that's enough for now.  I still have a stack of pictures to scan so will get back to it.  Hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane.



Granny Annie said...

This has indeed been a wonderful journey. Your parents married when I was a little over two months old. I like seeing the photographs of a time I do not remember but have heard so much about. Love the clothes. You are blessed with a great memory.

Flora said...

Isn't it great to look back... I did an album about 10 years ago, with all the old pictures I had.

Mickey said...

Have seen all these before but love going through them again! They are so similar to my photos of my sister and I!You make me want to dig all mine out again! How the years have changed us! You must be having so much fun this week!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I loved seeing all your pictures and the story about the moose is endearing. How times have changed with hair styles and clothing. They are a history book all to themselves. Thanks for sharing your special family with us.


What a wonderful trip down memory lane. The stories and photos of your family are priceless. We have tons of photos but very little history with ours because relatives passed on. But I will tell you there are pictures of me in a BabeeTenda when I was little. Though until you labeled it, I didn't know what that contraption was. LOL

Sush said...

I love family pictures and the histories behind them! Thanks for sharing! It' s funny to see how some of your family portraits have some similar outfits to some from my family's. We had tartan trimmed sweaters and kilts.


Holly said...

What fun pictures. I love to look through old photos. They need to bring those hair bows back, the bigger the better.

Wendy said...

I don't remember seeing that picture of the moose before. The woman at the moose's head, that you identified as Grammy, looks exactly like Mum. I thought it was her, until I realized that she would have been just a child when this picture was taken. Can't wait to go through all the pictures with you when you come.

Anonymous said...

My parents married on 26th September 1946 - my Dad never forgot their anniversary, as that was his birthday ,,,, sadly my Mum died just 16 days before their Ruby Wedding. I too had bows in my hair as a child - but I never had ringlets as my hair was very straight! (the bow had to be kept in place with a kirby grip - I think you might call that a bobby pin - or it would just slide off my hair)

Emtron said...

cool photos mum. thanks for sharing.

Ellie said...

Oh what a lovely trip down memory lane for you. I love looking at old pictures, you really can't beat a photograph album to just flick through. Thanks for sharing.
On a separate note - on my blog you asked about demerara sugar you could also use a light brown sugar. Hope that helps.

JQ said...

Everyone's got a lingering regret from their wedding receptions, eh? I've never seen that slip. Ditto Wendy on the pic of Nelly with the moose.

Delena said...

I love looking at old photographs. I think the older we get the more precious they become.
Ringlets, dresses were part of my childhood. I remember my mom twisting my hair in rags to make ringlets. Then as a teenager my girlfriend and I ironed each other's hair to get the straight effect.
Happy Sunday

Haf Dozen Reasons....... said...

Fun task for you to have-going thru all those childhood pictures!!!
I cant imagine having to do all those adorable ringlets!! I am not very good with hair so probably wouldn't actually ever achieve it.

Desiree said...

I thoroughly enjoyed sharing your trip down memory lane, thank you, Pat! Knowing of your Mother's Alzheimer's now, somehow made viewing these all the more poignant. She was so lovely and had beautiful eyes when she was young. Your Dad was very good looking and what an attractive bride and groom the two of them made! I loved seeing the pictures of Wendy and you as littlies and how wonderful that your folks adopted a little brother for you. You seemed to be such a happy family and the final picture of you all together is really super. Such memories you've shared!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this post Pat,
lovely photos and a huge amount of memories for you.

Take care

Fiona @ Raindrops and Daisys