11/23/18

The SUBLIMENESS OF BEING A CAT


For your viewing pleasure. 

A collection of cat snapshots in a new book. If you're a cat lover I think you'll enjoy this.

Tattered and Lost: The Sublimeness of Being a Cat



3/2/18

DALZELL STEELWORKS in Motherwell, Scotland


My paternal grandfather worked at the Dalzell Steelworks in Motherwell, Lanarkshire, Scotland. His father worked at the steelworks. As I recall I had other relatives who also worked there. The other thing that ties all of them together is they all immigrated to California in the 1920s; not one of them ever returned to Scotland.

Click on image to see it larger.

My grandfather is in this photo. I'm not sure if any other relatives are in it. Within a few months my grandfather set off with a few of his brothers for North America. His father, mother, sister, and fiancé followed a year later. All of that would be unremarkable except for the fact that my grandfather's great-great-grandfather had arrived in North America almost exactly the same day one hundred years earlier settling in Canada. Until last year none of my family knew anything about this. I'm still fascinated to find that I had relatives arrive in 1821 and 1921.

As to the Dalzell Steelworks, I can say very little. I remember driving by it in the early 1970s on a trip to Scotland. By that time it had been open for a little over one hundred years. It was closed in 2015, but reopened in 2016.
David Colville & Sons, a Scottish iron and steel company, was founded in 1871 and it opened its Dalzell Steel and Iron Works at Motherwellin 1872. By the first World War, it was the largest steel works in Scotland and it continued to expanded afterwards taking over a number of other steel works in Cambuslang and Glengarnock.
Nationalised in 1951, it became part of the Iron and Steel Corporation of Great Britain. It was privatised in 1955 and the construction of Ravenscraig steelworks resulted in the closure of a number of its other works. It was renationalised in 1967, becoming part of British Steel Corporation. (Source: Wikipedia)
There was a rumor on my mother's side of the family that we had some sort of connection to Bethleham Steel in Pennsylvania. I've never been able to prove this.

I personally can't imagine working in a steel mill, but then I also can't imagine being a coal miner and I have many ancestors from Scotland who made their living in the mines. I relate more to the Scottish ancestors who worked looms and made hats. What on earth would any of these people think of the way I've made my living working for myself for all but one year of my professional life? I imagine they'd think me soft and lazy. They'd be right.

This is my submission for Sepia Saturday this week. I've been away for a long time.

11/10/17

If it HADN'T BEEN FOR THE FIRE...


I don't know when I'd have ever found this photo.

I live in the area in California that was recently ravaged by fires. I did not lose my home, but I know some of those that did. It was two weeks of monitoring news nonstop waiting to find where the evacuation lines had been redrawn. Hospitals were closed, phone lines were down, cell phone coverage was spotty, and trying to contact doctors for my ailing father was impossible for days. Panic began to set in as I tried to gather family documents and photos for the possible evacuation and at the same time wondered where to go for the medical care my father so desperately needed.

I remember taking a shoebox out of a closet and looking inside to find photos I didn't remember. There was no time to ponder the contents, just get them in the car, and move on to the next box and files. Over the next few weeks I kept thinking about this box and the photo of my grandmother that was on the top of the pile. I think the box had probably been put in the closet over thirty years ago.

Finally, with some calm returning to life, about a week ago I decided to look through the box. I was dumbfounded by some of what I found. This woman is my great-grandmother and I never knew I had this photo. In fact, I didn't think I had any photos of this woman. She died giving birth to her second daughter, my grandmother's sister. My grandmother was too young to remember her mother and I'd always assumed there were no pictures of her. I've looked online hoping through genealogy searches that I'd find some distant relative that might have a photo of her. Nope, nothing. I've never even found her obituary. She just seemed to be an elusive spirit I would never see. So it was a great and pleasant shock to find not one but three photos of her from childhood to near when she died.

So, if it hadn't been for the fire I might not have found my great-grandmother for many more years. Her life was not filled with joy and it was cut short causing my grandmother even more grief in her life. But now a hole in my heart is a little smaller knowing Sara will no longer be forgotten.


This is my first time back with Sepia Saturday in months. My life as a twenty-four hour a day caregiver has forced me to put most things on the back burner. I will try my best to make the rounds in the coming days and look forward to reading the other Sepia posts. 

This photo is not within the theme, but it is for me a grand photo taken with a camera even more important than the one in the Sepia theme photo.

And though I found something joyful because of the fires, I will never forget the thousands left homeless who lost everything. The scar on the land will eventually disappear, but the emotional scars will be here for decades.

8/18/17

A BICYCLE in Summer


As a kid summer wouldn't have been the same without a bicycle. Summer meant freedom from school. Each morning meant freedom to have an adventure.

A ride up the road to the pear orchards to where the new houses were being built, pilfering wayward nails from the building site, back home to work on the tree house.

Click on image to see it larger.

Or maybe it was a ride into town to check out what was new at the toy store and a stop at the deli for a sandwich.

Maybe just a ride up to the school grounds to see if anyone was hanging around the basketball courts.

Riding with friends. No helmets. No handbrakes. Just bandaids on our knees covering up the scratches that had just been sprayed with Bactine. Apparently Bactine is still made, but I haven't seen any in decades. I'd like to smell it again. It's one of those smells from childhood that I sort of miss.

This is my submission for Sepia Saturday and a wish that all fellow Sepians remember the good times a bicycle gave them.
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8/15/17

The Cavalry FAN DANCER


With leave being weeks away, the guys were getting anxious for a little entertainment. Henry said he'd seen a fan dancer in the big city and thought he could recreate it. The guys weren't convinced, but here's Henry out looking for his costume.

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8/11/17

The Writing's ON THE WALL


My submission for Sepia Saturday are amateur portraits of women. I'm especially drawn to shots of woman with textured backgrounds. That's as deep as I'll get this week other than to say many women go through life feeling invisible. It doesn't get any better as they get older. You can imagine these women fading into their backgrounds.



Click on images to see them larger.
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