The lady with NO NAME

This is...haven't a clue, but I'm guessing a daughter of Em. I'm also thinking that perhaps Fern is a daughter of Em. And it's slightly interesting that this woman is wearing a piece of fabric around her neck with stripes. Basically looks to be the same fabric Em is wearing.
"Oh mother dear, please let me have that excess fabric from your blouse. I will wear it as a tie."

"Yes, of course... ummm...what was your name again?"
And I can tell you there is a third person wearing stripes. Possibly more of the same fabric, though it's more difficult to see. That is the person who will force a guffaw from you. A quiet guffaw followed by, "I waited this long for this? It's nothing more than a Seinfeld episode!"


FRANK likes to lean

This is Frank. Frank is a leaner. Do you know about leaners? Have you seen pictures of leaners? My best friend and her whole family are THE leaners. You know, like Frank, they lean in to make sure they're close to their loved ones, in the frame.

I believe Frank is also possibly a grandfather. He looks like a nice one. Very calm, content. Which woman do you think he's married to? There's still one more, so if you're pickin' from what's been shown you might be wrong. But I'm tellin' ya I think he's leaning into her.

Two more photos left. So if this has been painful to watch it will soon be over. Do stick around for the punch line. I think it's worth it.


FERN is the cat that ate the canary

This is Fern. Another one of the people whose name begins with the letter "F" in this group. There are actually 4. Doesn't that seem like a lot? Frank has yet to make his appearance. Frank is very casual. You'll like Frank.

Fern is the only one smiling in the shot. Okay, maybe it's not a smile. Maybe it's gas. Something she ate. She does look like the cat that ate the canary.

She's dressed very nice, as are all of them. But Fern is the only one carrying a purse. Was Fern hoping to make a fast get away as soon as the shot was taken? Or was she just passing down the street when the family said, "Fern! Fern! You must be in our family portrait. Come along now. Just set yourself down here next to Mister. We don't know his name. He's just Mister. You'll like him Fern. Really, you will. He's rich...in spirit."

Then again I'm also thinking she might be married to Fred. They are sitting near each other and they somehow look like a couple. She would be better with Fred than Mister. I don't think anyone was with Mister. Okay, I don't see her with either Mister. Mister Smith or Mister old gray beard.


EM is sitting on a step

This is Em. That's the name written on the back. So just like Floyd will forever be Floyd, Em is now stuck with Em. I wish it had said Emma.

Strangely, what I'm most curious about is her blouse. What color is she wearing? Pink and white? Blue or light green and white? I know, I know...not important, but helps me fill in the pieces. Gives some life to the photo and the woman. I want to know if it matched the skirt. I want the details. Okay, you know it already...I want to be there. I want to know where they all went when they broke up from this shot. Were others taken because the photographer was worried that it was risky to take just one because something might show up ruining it? Voila! Something does show up to ruin it. I will save that for the last post. It's nothing bad, it's just something that makes it come alive. Something to make you, dare I saw it, guffaw. Yes, you will guffaw. A quick guffaw upon seeing what went wrong. But that's still 4 days away. So just enjoy Em. Today's vernacular photography star.


MISTER SMITH on the porch

I call him Mr. Smith. He is one of the people whose name was chopped off the back of the photo and all that remains is "Mr" in brown ink. So why name him Mr. Smith? Because of Smith Brother cough drops.

When I look at him I think of sneaking a cough drop during class. Trying to hide the box from the teacher...and fellow classmates. Really, the teachers were usually okay, especially if you'd been out sick. They'd rather you suck on a cherry cough drop than sit and cough and cough and.... But the other kids were merciless. They'd start hittin' you up for one as soon as they saw the distinctive white box with the faces of the old gents on the front. What were you to do? Little annoying brats. Too often it was kids that didn't even like you, maybe they were popular and used that as leverage. They'd act like maybe they'd let you into their precious group if you'd just give them one ruby red drop. Then their other annoying friends were right behind them with their hands outstretched. After a few times of dealing with this I became very stealth at getting a drop out of a box. That plus I just became steadfast in saying, "No, my mother said I'm not to give them away." I mean, I was already considered one of invisible ones. Not hated, not loved. Just not there. Keep your hands off my ruby red cough drops.

I can't resist posting the following found at Wikipedia about Smith Brothers. Little did these men suspect what they had wrought upon sick little kids everywhere. Then again, I can recall happily eating them when well, willing to deal with the bullies. I can also recall every so often finding a fuzzy cough drop in the bottom of my purse covered with whatever refuse had managed to stick to it. If it didn't look too bad I can tell you there were times...yup, there were times when I actually considered just picking off the fuzz and downing it.
The Smith Brothers were makers of cough drops.

William Wallace Smith I (1830-1913) and Andrew Smith (1836-1895) were the sons of James Smith (c1800-1866) of Poughkeepsie, New York. James' family had emigrated from Fife, Scotland, in 1831, and James had emigrated from St. Armand, Quebec in 1847. In New York, he opened a small restaurant, ice-cream parlor, and candy business, called "James Smith and Son". James Smith bought a cough drop recipe from a peddler named Sly Hawkins. In 1852, James developed lozenges and advertised them in the Poughkeepsie paper selling them to those "afflicted with hoarseness, cough or colds". William and Andrew inherited the business after their father died in 1866. The brand was then named "Smith Brothers Cough Drop". In 1872, to prevent drug stores from selling generic lozenges, they developed one of the first factory filled packages with trademark branding. On the packaging the word "Trade" appeared under the picture of William and the word "Mark" under that of Andrew, they were then incorrectly referred to as Trade Smith and Mark Smith. Andrew died in 1895, and William continued as president of the company almost up to his death in 1913. William was succeeded by his son, Arthur G. Smith (c1875-1936), who continued to expand the company by adding menthol drops (1922), cough syrup (1926) and wild cherry drops (1948). Arthur G. Smith had two sons: William Wallace Smith II (1888-1955) and Robert Lansing Smith (1891-1962). The trust funds that owned Smith Brothers stock in 1963 merged their company with Warner-Lambert. The last Smith Brothers Cough Drop manufactured in Poughkeepsie was made in 1972. They were thereafter manufactured by F & F Foods in Chicago, Illinois.


LALEA with her feet firmly planted on the ground

This is the very stunning Lalea. She looks so elegant, beautiful. The more I look at this photo the more I wish I could step back in time and be there. I want to experience the day, the moment. I want to hear the sounds, the voices, the birds, the crickets. I want to know what they were talking about, why they were gathered. Was it a wedding, an anniversary, a birthday? Or did this group of people simply dress like this each Sunday for church? Is this a Sunday afternoon gathering? Seems too formal for that.

Somedays I just feel sad when I look at old photos because I want to know more and know I never will. I want to understand the relationships, what did they do with their lives? Yup, I wish I had a time machine. Wish I could scan a photo and punch in some data and say, "Take me there. Take me to the moment this photo was taken." I have to satisfy myself with closing my eyes and imagining a story, adding all the textures to make it seem more alive.

Now I hope when you click on the photo of Lalea Picasa comes up with a larger shot. If it doesn't work let me know and I'll reload it at Flickr and add the html link.


MEET FRED sitting on the porch

Meet Fred. Fred is sitting on the front porch while several others sit on steps. Three people got chairs and sat on the porch. Two stood. The rest sat on the steps.

Fred has his legs crossed and seems ever so slightly comfortable in his position as the center of the photo. Fred looks suspicious of the photographer. He is analyzing the moment, the situation. Was Fred himself a photographer about to say something highly critical of the person taking this shot? Or was Fred just suspicious of this particular person? Or was there something behind the photographer that worried Fred?

Though Fred does not wear a wedding ring I have to wonder if the woman in front of him is his wife. She is the only one smiling. Her name is Fern and you will have to wait to see her. Of course it is possible Fern is his sister. I haven't a clue.

But today Fred gets his moment in the spotlight. It's Fred Day all day.

Come on Fred, lighten up. It's your day! Smile darn ya, smile!


FLOYD standing on the front porch

It says "Floyd" on the back of the photo. I know, I know...that just doesn't make sense, but I have a female relative on my mother's side that was related to my grandmother named Floyd. I do not recall what her full name was. But she was Cousin Floyd. Of course in this case it's always possible she's not Floyd, the person who wrote the names just wasn't very good at flipping the photo over and putting the name in the approximate place on the back to correspond with the person on the front. But let's make it easy. She's Floyd. She will now always remain Floyd.

Of course...there's always the possibility that she is a he named Floyd. I seriously doubt it. This is the reason you must be very very careful when writing names on the back of your photos. Get it right or someone down the line might be really embarrassed.

Anyway, I think Floyd looks very stylish. Interesting chain around her neck. I sort of expect to see glasses hanging from them. And I see she has a handkerchief clutched in her right hand. Hot day? Getting over a cold?

I can tell you there is only one person in this group shot who is really putting forth a smile. Floyd is not that person.




Once again I'm going to deconstruct a photo so we can focus on the individuals. Together it's just a group shot. Nothing really special about it. Separately we're looking at individual lives separate from the whole.

I don't know if you enjoy these or not, but for me it's too easy to simply look at the whole and not notice the details. You know how much I love details.

There is some writing on the back of the card which seems to correspond to specific people. So when I can I will give the names. Unfortunately some of the names have been cut off. The photo is mounted on board and at some point trimmed down to the outer edge of the photo.

For today we unfortunately have no name. He is one of the people whose name has been cropped, though it does appear as if it began with "Mr". This leads me to believe he is not family, merely a friend. I'm thinking a fairly pious man from his body language. Or perhaps hellfire and brimstone. I could go either way.

And you should be able to click on him and go to the larger image. This photo is being kept at Picasa. I've never figured out why sometimes it allows photos to be clicked on and other times nothing happens. Thus the reason I usually use Flickr. Picasa is too often a problem.


Excuse me ma'am, UMMMMM...

...there's something sticking out of your head.

hair do not_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger.

When I bought this I thought this woman had spun her hair into a tight weird tinsy tiny bun on the back of her head. Oh my. Why didn't anybody tell her? Then I scanned it and blew it up and saw it was a comb. Fancy comb. I think I preferred it when I thought it was hair. Either way...not working for me. I keep thinking, "How many channels could she pick up with that thing?" Or was this an eating utensil she kept handy? Spoon at one end, fork at the other.

Well just bless her heart. I hope she had a good life. And did she will the comb to someone? Was it her signature piece?



"My daughter Pearl and myself taken Dec. 1924."

Things are playing out rather strangely today all because of a post I did last night at my other site, Tattered and Lost Ephemera. And now I thought I'd post this innocent photo and suddenly it seems odd to me because of the looming shadow in the lower right corner. Okay...let me explain.

Last night I posted an ad from a 1919 Chicago high school yearbook at my other site. It's an odd ad, to say the least, especially considering the time period. It shows two boys, one cross-dressing in a girls dress and shoes. It was the reason I bought the book years ago on eBay. I've always wondered about the ad. What possessed the company to run this? How was it received by the community? So I began doing a little googling for information and before I knew it I realized there was something even stranger in the book. I discovered the high school graduation picture of Richard Loeb of Leopold and Lobe fame. Not at all where I expected my day to go. Suddenly I'm reading about the horrendous murder this fellow committed in 1924 and feeling a little dark. So I come here to post this sweet photo of a father and daughter and notice the date 1924 and the shadow. Yup, I'm deep into it now. And no, this father and daughter have nothing to do with any of it. They're just innocent bystanders, or in this case skatestanders, of the darkness.

If you enjoyed the photos I posted days ago of the high school class from Virden, Illinois you might enjoy where I'm going this week at my other blog. I'll be focusing on this yearbook. Posting images of Loeb and then just regular yearbook stuff. It's actually a fascinating yearbook having been published just following the end of World War I.

This really confirms that you just never really know where ephemera will lead.


Saying good-bye to THE VIRDEN CLASS OF 1929

The last day of the Virden Community High School class of 1929. I seriously doubt that any of the people shown the past few days are still alive. If they are, they're around 98 years old. So it's always possible. I hope they had good lives.

Click on any image to see it larger.

Virden HS_7_tatteredandlost

Virden HS_8_tatteredandlost

Virden HS_9_tatteredandlost

I don't know why looking at faces of long ago high school students is fascinating. It goes beyond just seeing the fashions of the period. I guess it's the wondering about their lives. They were just about to head out on their own. Did they screw up their lives as badly as so many of us do? Were they happy at the end of their lives? Were their lives cut short? They reflect back all the joy and fears we all go through. I guess it's because we see ourselves in them.

Virden Community High School 1929_tatteredandlost


More from the VIRDEN CLASS OF 1929

One of the things I'm also loving are the names. I especially love yesterdays De Wayne Radford. Or how about today's Linden Lorton?

And need I say it...click on any image to see it larger.

Virden HS_3_tatteredandlost

Virden HS_6_tatteredandlost

Virden HS_4_tatteredandlost



Last year I did two posts about Virden, Illinois. Recently I've heard from a few residents of the town who enjoyed seeing the old photos. You can see the old posts at Small Town USA and Virden Redux.

This evening I was sorting through some of the folders in my vernacular photography collection and came across a class picture from Virden High School in 1929. Over the next few days I'll post pieces of the whole so that the faces are large enough for people to see without having to click through to a larger size. I thought just maybe somebody would see one of their relatives. If nothing else, it's fun looking at the hairstyles and fashions from 1929.

I will eventually post the complete photo. As far as I know this is the last photo I have that has any connection to Virden.

As usual, you can click on any of the images below to see them larger at Flickr.

Virden High School 1929_tatteredandlost

Virden HS_1_tatteredandlost

Virden HS_2_tatteredandlost


And the last lady said "HMMMMMM..."

Here it is. The final piece of the Family Reunion puzzle. I send this knowing how dangerous family reunions can be. How fragile families are when mental illness intrudes. Let's hope this family was storybook happy, but let's admit it...probably not.

This little lady with the "Hmmmmmmm..." look on her face is what holds it all together for me. She's got her own story going on. Is she thinking, "Hmmmmm...do I put carrots or parsnips with the rabbit?" Or is she thinking, "Do I tell my husband I'm leaving him for the shoe salesman before or after the pie?" She's the only one not in the moment. And she's probably the glue that held the family together. We'll never know. She's a vernacular photography mystery. You'll bring whatever story you want to her.

And now finally, the entire photo. See, I told you...nothing to see here. Keep moving. Just a group of people standing in front of a house. I will dig out one of them sitting on steps and post at a later time. Right now I'm feeling my own angst over a friends family. A family that I imagined would have ended up happy, but instead is in painful turmoil. Mental illness has far reaching tendrils. Yes, the pain is lessened the farther distance you are from the center of it, but it still shadows all who come into contact with it.


THE BUNNY that came to the Family Reunion.

There was a bunny at the reunion. A sweet big eared bunny. Now was the bunny a pet or dinner? I know, horrible thing to say, but when you see the final shot tomorrow you might understand why I'm thinking this.

Putting the pieces together it seems to me that this nice man with the bunny might be the father of the little boy with the cat and married to Zevon. Perhaps he's also the father of the young Sophia. All guess work. No truth to anything I say. Just blather.

The man with the bunny is the star today. Tomorrow the last face and the whole picture. I know, you couldn't be more bored.


ZEVON RELATIONSHIP at the Family Reunion?

I said the other day that Warren Zevon might show up at the Family Reunion. Bet you weren't expecting this. Now, maybe it's just me. Maybe others don't notice the Zevon look, but you won't convince me otherwise.

And notice the apron. She's the other person wearing an apron. An apron with pockets! Do love those pockets. Good place for storing bits of flour, hairpins, recipes torn off the sides of cans. Apron pockets. A repository of everything kitchen.

Now, are the pieces starting to fall together for you? You can see the little boy with the cat. Think this was his mom? You can grab all the shots and put the puzzle together.
Only two more people to go. Today the winner of the Warren Zevon contest shines.
Tattered and Lost volumes 1 to 7 available at Amazon.


THE YOUNGEST at the Family Reunion

This is the youngest member at the family reunion. I imagine he was doted on by aunts and uncles. Grandmother probably made him something special to eat, even though she kept telling him to stop running in and out of the house slamming the screen door. Did he live at the house or was he just visiting? I'm guessing he lived there with his parents and grandparents. A country boy. Where did he go when he grew up? Did he leave the farm? Move to a big city? Go to war? Marry and have a family thus making the family reunions even larger? Is the young Sophia his sisters or a cousin? There are no answers. Nothing was ever written on the back of the snapshot. None of the snapshots of this reunion have anything written on them.

The boy and his cat are the star for today.



Now I don't know if this kindly lady is a granny or an auntie to the crowd that has gathered. She is one of two who prepared the food. One of two wearing an apron. I'm imagining it was a good big country table full of farm fresh foods, lovingly prepared. Everyone went home or to bed with a full stomach. Okay, maybe they had to use Pepto-Bismol. Maybe they weren't good cooks. But she looks like she would have been a fine cook. A really fine maker of pies and cakes. Probably never used a recipe book her entire life.

And aprons. I miss aprons. All the pretty colors. The fun pockets on the front. I still have one hanging in the kitchen that belonged to my maternal grandmother. I wear it when I bake because...ummmm...I have a tendency to get flour everywhere. I'm talking from my face to the souls of my feet and on every visible inch of the kitchen. People have to come in wearing toxic waste suits to clean-up when I'm finished.

Today it's her day to shine. She's the star.


The YOUNGEST FEMALE at the reunion

I believe this young lady is a daughter of one of the people in the line-up, but I'm not sure. Could the one from yesterday be her sister? Or was she her mother? It's always interesting to look at facial structure trying to figure out which person fits in where. And is the reunion progresses there will be more questions. Which ones the grandma? Is the man a son or a husband or both? And what about that rabbit? Pet or dinner?

More to come tomorrow.

Oh, and I forgot to ask, did anyone get a slight Ingrid Bergman vibe from yesterday's lady?


HOLDING UP HER END at the family reunion

Like I said yesterday,
it's an ordinary photo. Nothing much going on. Just a bunch of people standing in front of a wall. They look no better or worse than probably dozens of shots you have of your own family. That is... unless someone decides to dissect your family with a scanner, exposing the thoughts and expressions of each member as the shot was taken. Is this cruel? Am I reading too much into it? Or am I just having a little fun? The game is on. More tomorrow.

By the way, nice dress and thanks for holding up the other end of the line.



I'm going to give you pieces of the whole. Not everything at once. Basic reason is it really isn't a very interesting photo. A group of people standing in front of a building. But individually, I get a kick out of it.

It appears to be some sort of family reunion and I'll be doggone if I don't keep finding photos of this same group at the flea market and antique store. Now, this is the most interesting of all I've found. You'll have to take my word for it. You'll see as the Family Reunion unfolds. Some of the other shots they're just sitting on steps and not all of them are in the shot.

Today I introduce you to Grandpa. I don't know if he's grandpa. Haven't a clue as to who he is or where it was taken. He could just as easily be the elderly uncle or a neighbor or a shoe salesman the family really really liked. If you prefer the shoe salesman idea just go with it.

Just wanted to direct your attention to a new photography blog I've posted in the left column. It's called One Man's Treasures and has some really interesting work. Well written and insightful.


Granny, moments before becoming a POD PERSON

Some photos defy comment...but not this one. It's odd. No doubt about it. Probably not in its original context, but now, decades after it was shot and the little lady and dog are long gone...it makes me laugh.

granny at the salon_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger.

I'm sure you'll come up with your own ideas as to what's going on. I've always favored the first thought I had upon seeing this in a box...pod people. That lamp is going to get her. In just a moment it's going to lower onto her head and turn her into a pod person. It's an ominous lamp.

Second idea: really odd beauty parlor with odd hairdryer. You get permed once you never need to be permed again.