6/28/09

Up a LAZY RIVER in the noonday sun


The clock is about to strike 12 and I feel as if I've been nailed to this chair for at least a week. Mental escape is all I get as long as the jobs keep piling in. I'm not complaining. It's good to have work and it could all dry up just as soon as these jobs are over. But I'm missing summer. I'm missing sitting in the shade and doing nothing but sitting with my eyes closed and listening to summer.

Just as there are certain films I always want to see in the summer, certain books to read, there are also certain songs. Hoagy Carmichael's Up a Lazy River starts up and I can't stop it. It repeats and repeats. Though I love Charmichael's version for me the best is the one done by the Mills Brothers.

So I look at this vernacular photograph, date and place unknown, and I image sitting along this little river in an Adirondacks chair, cool breeze blowing across the water every so often, something nice to drink, and then waving to these fellows as they pass by. I can hear their boat in the water, the ripples slowly coming ashore, and the faint sound of their chattering as they fade off into the distance. 

up a lazy river_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger.

And then the song starts in my head.

6/21/09

Each day is FATHER'S DAY

 
I've been truly blessed with having a father who has always been there for me, always told me I could be anything I wanted, even when society told girls they must live with limited prospects. I know a lot of women who did not have supportive fathers. A father who told his daughter that he'd pay to send his son to college, but never his daughter. Another father who told his daughter she could be a nurse, but not a doctor. 

A loving and strong father is the most any child can ask for. Protect them from harm. Guide them towards good. 

fathers day_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger.

Back of photo:  Bert Sylvia, Lester Landford & Baby Audrey Sylvia

6/19/09

Take me out to the ball game AGAIN!


What a stunning ballpark it was. I didn't care who won. I was entranced with the colors, the sounds, and the view of the bay on such a beautiful day. Everything was perfect and I'd do it all again in a moment. Still don't care about baseball, but sitting in that park could be addictive.

Here's to those who found the same joy so long ago. A chance to step back in time thanks to vernacular photograhy.


6/16/09

HOT DOGS or California cuisine?


A friend called me on Monday and said, "Meet me at the ferry on Wednesday. We're going to a Giant's game." Okie dokie. I haven't been to a baseball game in over 30 years and I know nothing about anything about the game. I do know I can yell "Batter! Batter! Batter!" which is what a friend in Colorado recommended. I recall yelling "Kill the ump!'" at the last game I was at, but imagine now that little ditty might get me put on a Homeland Security list. Instead of taking along a verbal repertoire, or notes written on my arm of witty baseball sayings or stats, I'll just sit there and smile and enjoy the sun (must remember to pack aspirin), the crowd (must remember to pack Purel), the noise (must remember to pack earplugs), and try to decide do I eat traditional ballpark food, including the dreaded bright yellow ballpark mustard (please tell me they have Dijon), or try something leaning towards California cuisine. Okay, I'm hoping they have some sort of vegetables other than fries. Being which city this is there is bound to be some sort of rice and vegetable dish. I told you I know nothing about baseball. I'm already thinking about the food.

I do like the idea of baseball, just not the enormity of what it's become. When there was a farm team located in my county I used to think it would be a lot of fun to go out for a summer evening in a small park and watch the boys of summer play while I relaxed. But then I have images of the films Bull Durham and Field of Dreams dancing in my head when I think of baseball. Simpler times.

I present to you some boys of summer from the early part of the last century. I have no information about them. They were playing the sport because they loved it, not because they'd get enough cash to buy a hideous monstrous house, drugs, jewelry, and fast cars. These guys were probably lucky if they knew someone who had a car that ran. And that's perfect. I'll be searching for that innocence tomorrow, but doubt I'll find it unless I see it in the eyes of a child. 

San Jose_ballplayer_1920_tatteredandlost
Balboa baseball team_tatteredandlost
Click on either image to see it larger.

And to just get me in the mood, I want to hear John Fogerty sing the song that could almost make me a baseball fan.

6/12/09

Sort of an RPPC OF A MILLION BUCKS at Binion's


I found this photo in a stack of photos, actually a big box of photos, of this smiling couple. I know little about the couple, but what I do know is they didn't win this money and life didn't work out as you would hope. But that's not why I'm posting this. 

It's a photo. It's a postcard. It's a photo. It's a...well, you get the idea. Somebody at the Binion's Horseshoe Club in Las Vegas came up with a way to create a modern version of an RPPC to advertise their establishment by having people stand in front of the display of $1,000,000 made up entirely of $10,000 bills. Apparently the photo was free. Who knows how many of this particular shot exist. Could be dozens, or this could be the only one. I image there are a lot of shots out there floating around of different people standing in front of the million dollars. It would be fun to collect the shots. Most people leave Vegas with less money than when they arrived, but these folks had proof they stood next to a million bucks. 

Binion Horseshoe Club_tatteredandlost
Look at the back and you'll see that's it's just a regular Kodak print with the Binion blurb and postage/address area printed over the Kodak watermark.

Binion Horseshoe Club_back_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger.

I found another shot here at Flickr of a couple standing in front of the million. And you can go to this site to read a bit about what happened to this money and Binion's. And here you can see the previous owner, Benny Binion, standing in front of the money with his daughter. Binion was a rather unscrupulous character with a dark history. 

This money has long since been sold off and now each $10,000 bill sells for around $160,000. The current owner has a different display that's just a stack of money totalling 1 million and doesn't include any of the rare $10,000 bills that made up the previous display. They do allow photos to be taken, but I'm reading different things on whether they will take a photo of you next to it. 
Guests who join Club Binion’s receive $25 in slot play or table game non-negotiable chips for just $20 plus a free photo with the $1 million. (Source: Classic Las Vegas)
If anyone ever finds anymore links to photos such as these old black and whites, which most likely will also be RPPCs drop me a line with the link and I'll add them to the list.

6/9/09

SMALL TOWN U.S.A.


Recently Turner Classic Movies ran Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) starring Jimmy Stewart. I had to sit down and watch it. I love that movie. It always makes me think of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) starring Gary Cooper, another favorite. Each a Frank Capra movie, each about someone from a small town that has to deal with the corruption found in a big city when powerful people gather only listen to the voices of other powerful people. Fiction? Sure, but don't we all recognize the stories as ones played out day after day all over this country? Small towns still exist, but I think the burden they carry is far from the romantic idealization many people have of them.

Virden_Illinois_N. Side Square_tatteredandlost

I found this photograph, a portion of an RPPC, at an estate sale. It dates most likely from the mid 1920s and shows N. Side Square in Virden, Illinois. I did a little bit of googling about Virden and unfortunately not much shows up. The town still exists and is still a small town with a population around 3400. It's mainly a coal mining and agricultural area. The following comes from the Brittanica site:
Laid out in 1852 along the Chicago and Mississippi Railroad, it was named for John Virden, a local innkeeper. A coal-mining town, Virden was the scene of a mine riot on October 12, 1898. Violence erupted between guards and miners following the arrival of some 200 African American workers from Alabama who were hired by the Chicago-Virden Coal Company in an attempt to break a strike by local workers affiliated with the United Mine Workers of America. Some 15 people (mostly local miners and guards hired to protect the train carrying the arriving workers) died. The city was under martial law for several days, and the union movement credited the incident as an important milestone, especially in the winning of the eight-hour day. Virden is now the centre of an agricultural area with corn (maize) and soybeans as the chief crops. Livestock raising is also important. Macoupin county remains one of the state’s largest producers of coal. Inc. (Source: Encylopedia Britannica)
In October of 2006 a memorial was placed in the town in recognition of this history.

With this photo, as usual, it's all in the details. Details I'd have never noticed without the aid of my trusty scanner.

In this one shot there are two restaurants serving fried chicken, one on each side of the street. There are two ice cream parlors just a stone throw from each other. But best of all is the family crossing the street. A man wearing a straw boater and a woman and child who each look to be holding their right arms up as if eating ice cream cones. Could it be more perfect? Do click on the photos so you can see them larger at Flickr. You really have to just sit back and visit Virden.

N Side Square_Virden Illinois_l_tatteredandlost

N Side Square_Virden Illinois_r_tatteredandlost
Click on images to see them larger.

And before I go I'll give a shout out to two other things I found while googling. Always wanting to support small independent book stores I see where Virden has one called The Sly Fox. I don't know anything about the shop, but if you're passing through Virden you might want to check them out. I see where they specialize in children's books, mysteries, and history of Illinois.

The other bit of information is that according to the Virden town website they'll be having a city wide garage sale on June 20th. Ohhhhh, wish I was there. Instead I'll have to settle for a bit of Longfellow Deeds in Vermont.

6/6/09

Au Revoir MAIME


Keeping with my own themes running through my head, travel (see my other site http://tatteredandlostephemera.blogspot.com/ for a couple of TWA travel brochure covers done by Bob Peak) and First Ladies, I give you a faux Maime Eisenhower excited about a trip to Europe. I know it's not her, but that's who she reminds me of. She also reminds my best friend and me of Jane Wyatt from Father Knows Best.

Oh how I remember being excited about my first trip to Europe. Reading everything I could find at a travel agency or the library. And yes, buying travel guides at the bookstore. 

Obviously "Madame Queen" is very excited and all dressed up for her flight. She had her hat, her pearls, and her guide. What more did she need to make her mark on the Continent? 

Au Revoir Madame Queen. I hope the guide didn't steer you wrong.

Au Revoir Madame Queen_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger.

And if you're too young to remember Maime Eisenhower or simply haven't a clue about American history click here to read about the real Maime and see her photo.

6/3/09

IS SHE or isn't she?


The woman on the left? Jane Withers? Josephine the Plumber? Foil to Shirley Temple? I know, I know the obvious one in the picture to notice is Nancy Reagan who in this photo was probably the first lady of California when Reagan was the governor. This doesn't look like a shot taken during the presidency, but then again what do I know?

Found at an antique store in the bottom of a drawer. So many people in one drawer with Nancy on the bottom completely tattered and lost. I saved her. No politics involved. Nancy with an ash tray and possible child star.

I always liked Jane Withers and it's because of her that I started collecting paper dolls, but that's a drawn out story involving the basement at a Broadway store in the valley and Roy Rogers. Long story.

I'll hope this is Jane. Whoever it is, Nancy had quite a grip on her. Political handshake. No limp fish there.

First Lady Nancy Reagan_tatteredandlost

6/2/09

POTLATCH Alert Bay, British Columbia


The first time I ever remember hearing the word "Potlatch" was on the television show Northern Exposure. Wikipedia describes it as:
a festival or ceremony practiced among Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. At these gatherings a family or hereditary leader hosts guests in their family house and hold a feast for their guests. The main purpose of the potlatch is the re-distribution and reciprocity of wealth.
The two real photo postcards below show a Potlatch in Alert Bay, British Columbia. There is no other information given so I have no idea when the photos were taken.

Click on either image to see it larger.

Alert Bay, B.C_Indian Potlatch_tatteredandlost

Indian Potlach_Alert Bay British Columbia_tatteredandlost

Alert Bay is a small community of around 556 on Cormorant Island. It was named in 1860 after the Royal Navy ship HMS Alert. According to their Wikipedia listing they have:
one automatic teller machine, one grocery store and one museum in Alert Bay. The town is served by a public-use airport, the Alert Bay Airport. Alert Bay is also home to the world's tallest totem pole.
Typical of the history of North America in relation to the native people, the Potlatch was banned in both Canada and the United States:
largely at the urging of missionaries and government agents who considered it "a worse than useless custom" that was seen as wasteful, unproductive which was not part of "civilized" values.
I'm thinking it's pretty obvious who the uncivilized people were and it wasn't those going to a Potlatch.

To read about Alert Bay click on this link. It looks like a little bit of heaven on earth.