8/22/14

RELATIVELY speaking...


This real photo postcard comes from a collection of family photos from Scotland. Not one face looks familiar, so I'm left wondering who these ladies were and why did my grandmother have this photo.


Click on image to see it larger.

The influence of Japan on Western culture and art for the masses began, I believe, in the 1850s. Of course, this photo is not that old. I'm guessing this was taken sometime during the first couple of decades of the 20th century. It was never posted so it had to be before the late teens when my grandparents moved from Scotland to California.

A group of Scottish friends having this photo taken for fun? Sort of like photos taken today where you dress up like a character from the old West? Possible.

I'm more inclined to believe that these ladies were from a performance of The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan. Now who wouldn't want to hear it performed by a group of Scots with a thick brogue?

So this card might have been for a theater troupe. We'll never know unless someday someone else comes across a copy of one and has a better explanation.

Whenever I look at this photo I think of the kimono I had that was stolen. Many years ago my home was broken into and many items were stolen. Damn alarm system wasn't working. Over the years I would suddenly remember things that I hadn't seen in a long time, adding items to the mental list of what the burglar took. My kimono from my childhood was one of them. They left the yellow obi, probably not knowing what it was. It was a beautiful red kimono with flowers and butterflies.

When I lived in Hawaii as a child my best friend and I would play samurai and geisha instead of the cowboy and indians we'd played when living on the Mainland. It still makes me very sad to think my kimono was taken. It was mine, it was infused with my memories, and I cherished it. Now? Who knows where it is or if it still even exists. It might have ended up as a rag and now be covered in refuse at the dump. Okay, now I'm just making myself really sad.

Let's go back to thinking that this was a group of ladies who were friends of my Scottish grandmother. They went out for the day to Edinburgh, had their photo taken, then went somewhere pleasant for tea and scones. Girdle (griddle) scones, please.

This is my submission for Sepia Saturday this week.

28 comments:

  1. what a fun picture! I hate thieves; why someone would steal a child-sized kimono is beyond me. So sorry for your loss. Perhaps you could find a similar one on ebay or even Etsy.

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    1. I did once see one at a flea market across the lot and took off to get a closer inspection. It wasn't mine and I didn't want someone else's memories.

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  2. I have a bunch of kimonos that my grandaunt brought back from her teaching stint in Korea. They're child-size or I'd send you one. But I guess it wouldn't be the same. So yes, let's think about your grandmother and friends singing "Three Little Maids From School."

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    1. That's very kind of you, but without the attached memories I figure I'll just live with it in my head.

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  3. In the secret language of the fan, the surrounding ladies are saying "Don't forget me.", & the two seated are signaling "You have won my heart." Samurai and Geisha? I love it!

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    1. That's very interesting. Thanks for telling me.

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    2. Fans have a secret language? Now I'm worried.

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    3. My luck I've been swearing all of these years.

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  4. I left a kimono I bought in China behind in a hotel room in Corning NY. I still have regrets. Now I make sure I NEVER hang anything behind a door in a hotel!

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    1. It's so annoying to leave something in a motel/hotel and not even realize it until you're hundreds of miles away. I had the experience in Paris that I left all of my film in a bag under the bed of a ratty hotel I was staying in. It wasn't until I had moved to a nicer hotel, also in Paris, that I realized what I'd done. Back on the Metro for a frantic ride across town in hope that all my film was still under the ratty bed in the ratty hotel. It was.

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  5. Hmmm... maybe it's your grandpa's photo...

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    1. Could be. Also could be my great grandfathers since he was a singer.

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  6. That photo reminds me of going to Trail Dust Town here and dressing up like saloon girls and outlaws to get your picture taken. Maybe that's what they were doing. Whatever the reason, it's a fun photo.

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    1. I've always wanted to do that.

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  7. That's a fun and interesting photo, whoever they are.

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  8. A wonderful photo.

    I cannot understand why anyone would steal a kimono. The thief must have had a daughter? I feel for you.

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    1. They also stole a ring, a hairdryer, shampoo, a Mexican wedding shirt, candy, some small Japanese carvings…and I can't remember the rest. Things pop into my head once and awhile.

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    2. Sounds like there was a female intruder with children? Unusual things to steal!

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  9. I think they had been doing the Mikado too.

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  10. Somewhere in the balance of the universe there is a photo of six Japanese women dressed in tartan kilts and tam o' shanter caps for a performance of Brigadoon.

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    1. Ha Ha Ha - Funny Mike :)

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    2. I love it. You've made my day !

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  11. Their hair has been 'put up' in the Japanese style as well. I reckon it must have been for a stage production or concert.

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  12. You've made my day. Thanks !

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  13. I think you are right about it being a performance of the Mikado. I suppose there were amateur Gilbert and Sullivan societies in most towns and cities - there were in this country anyway. And once you had your costume for the performance - a commemorative photograph was a must.

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  14. It's a beautiful photo, shame you can't identify anyone - I go with a theatrical production theory too

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  15. I’d say that this was the cast of Mikado a well. It’s always been one of my favourite G&S operas, and now I shall be singing ‘Here’s a Howdy Do’ all day! A charming photograph to have.

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