ROYAL SWEDISH OPERA, Stockholm in 1959

I've found a box that contains some photos of a trip to Sweden Betty's father took in 1959. I don't know if Betty was along for the trip because I haven't found any photos of who Donald Sr. traveled with. They're pretty much just boring shots of buildings. I'll admit I've done the same. Go on a trip and take photos of buildings that mean nothing to me when I get home, but when I saw them they seemed so significant. At least Donald wrote something on the slides or I'd be completely lost. He was a lot better organized than I ever was.

So, here we have the Royal Swedish Opera built in the 1890s. You can read about it here.

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Brother and Sister SCHNABEL

This shot is of Betty and her brother, Donald Jr., taken in March 1956. I don't know if Donald was younger or older than Betty.

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A SHOT of Betty

There are a series of photos of Betty outside with her father, brother, and some other guys who all have guns. I have no idea what they were doing. Possibly target practice, but there are no shots of them actually shooting the guns as I've shown in the past. Betty is not shown with any guns in this series. In fact, there are no images of her dad carrying a gun. So I'm guessing he was just carrying his camera with which he shot Betty.

Isn't it odd that we "shoot" photos? Where did that come from? Someone wise have an answer?

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All of the photos of Betty from the past few posts were taken in March 1956. Betty was around 31.



No, that is not an alien ship landing in Betty's yard. That is her dad's flash attachment. She is not alone.

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Betty quietly reading. Is there any other way to read than quietly? If you're reading out loud, it's usually quietly. 

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Reading, to me, is one of the great joys in life. To be transported to another place simply by opening a book. To learn something new by reading words on a page. These days so much reading is being done by using technology. Not in itself a bad thing, but too much reading with the aid of technology, for me, is unfulfilling. The technology allows too many distractions. Yes, you can be distracted when reading a book, newspaper, and magazine, but technology almost encourages distraction. If the author loses your attention for a moment in an e-book it's far too easy to simply click and check email or today's headlines.

Betty looks to have settled in for a long read. She has her tissues, her cigarettes, and several items on her lap to peruse. Let's hope the only distraction was her father taking her photo and perhaps someone offering her a cup of tea.



I have very little information about Betty Schnabel other than what was in her obituary. She passed away almost a year and a half ago. She might cringe at having her life exposed for all to see, but if it was a life worth living, and hers surely seems to have been one of those, then it's a life worth sharing.

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This photo, and the next several posts, are all from Ektachrome slides, not Kodachrome. Their color is very bad and I had to struggle to get even this to look somewhat decent. All of them are very pinkish. I have no idea why. I used Ektachrome a lot and have never found any of my slides turning weird colors. Perhaps it was in the processing. I really don't know.



Of course it's not a taxi, but what if it was? Or could it be what a long haul trucker looked like in Spain in February 1956? Nah, I don't think so. But I do think he might be hauling a barrel of wine. And could that be a hose that allows him to tap the barrel while on the road? Now that I'd like to see.

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This is from the Betty Schnabel estate collection. More countries to come, but next we'll have some photos of Betty.


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.

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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.


MADRID in February 1956

For the past few days I've been featuring slides from the Betty Schnabel estate taken by either Betty or her father, Donald, in Madrid in February 1956. These are part of the photo collection I purchased last year. Thousands of slides…seriously, thousands for less than 2 cents a slide. It will take me years to go through all of them.

For the first few posts I asked if any readers knew the locations, and if so to please let me know. Mike Brubaker and Intense Guy both stepped forward to educate me.

Cibeles Palace
Monumento a los Caídos por España

Well, this time I'm starting off with one I was able to research myself thanks to having enough sense to type "garden maze madrid" into Google.

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The Sabatini Gardens
The Sabatini Gardens (in Spanish: Jardines de Sabatini) are part of the Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain, and were opened to the public by King Juan Carlos I in 1978. They honor the name of Francesco Sabatini (1722–1797), an Italian architect of the 18th century who designed, among other works at the palace, the royal stables of the palace, previously located at this site.

In 1933, clearing of the stable buildings was begun, and construction of the gardens begun, which were only completed in the late 1970s. The gardens have a formal Neoclassic style, consisting of well-sheared hedges, in symmetric geometrical patterns, adorned with a pool, statues and fountains, with trees also disposed in a symmetrical geometric shape. The statues are those of Spanish kings, not intended originally to even grace a garden, but originally crowding the adjacent palace. The tranquil array is a peaceful corner from which to view the palace. (Source: Wikipedia)
I'm really drawn to this place. I keep thinking it would have been a good set for an old episode of the tv show The Avengers or maybe an old Bond movie. There's something surreal about the place, especially with the pond drained of water.

Now we move on to the next shot. I haven't a clue other than it's also in Madrid. Put on your thinking caps and let me know what we're looking at.

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UPDATE: Thanks to Intense Guy this has now been identified as the Royal Palace of Madrid. You can read about it here.

And finally we head out of Madrid and on the road to…I'm really not sure. I can tell you this fellas name is Bill, but then things get weird. It says "Papraga, El Escorial, Spain." I find "El Escorial" at Wikipedia, but nothing about a place called "Papraga." Google keeps trying to convince me I really want "paprika" and I'm just as willing to convince them that I don't want that because I hate paprika.

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But moving forward with Bill…we are heading to El Escorial. In the distance, to the left of Bill's hat, you can see the Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escoria.
The Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial is a historical residence of the King of Spain, in the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, about 45 kilometres (28 mi) northwest of the capital, Madrid, in Spain. It is one of the Spanish royal sites and functions as a monastery, royal palace, museum, and school. There is another town, 2.06 km further down the valley (4.1 km road distance), called 'El Escorial'.

The Escorial comprises two architectural complexes of great historical and cultural significance: the royal monastery itself and La Granjilla de La Fresneda, a royal hunting lodge and monastic retreat about five kilometres away. These sites have a dual nature; that is to say, during the 16th and 17th centuries, they were places in which the power of the Spanish monarchy and the ecclesiastical predominance of the Roman Catholic religion in Spain found a common architectural manifestation. El Escorial was, at once, a monastery and a Spanish royal palace. Originally a property of the Hieronymite monks, it is now a monastery of the Order of Saint Augustine. (Source: Wikipedia)
Click on the link to actually see a photo of what we're heading to.

And I thought I'd Google "Bill" to see what shows up. For your viewing pleasure…Bill at Wikipedia. Not OUR Bill, just a bunch of links to bill and Bill.

This is actually my submission for Sepia Saturday this week and it's way off theme. The only way to tie it to the theme would be postcards > travel > slides. Thin, very thin. Grabbing at straws really. Thin straws.

Seriously, imagine sitting in the living room of the Schnabel home in 1956 watching their vacation slide show. Hours of it. Here you only have to do it in small doses.