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.


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.


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.



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.

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Just your average Cavalry fleamarket. Old trucks, boxes of Jello, and items you won't find anyplace else. Open only on Saturday. Best hour 14:50.

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The PACKAGE from Home

A pack of gum? A love letter folded up like origami? What has these two fellows so fascinated and the third working as the lookout? My mind runs in all sorts of directions.

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This photo is from the Louise Bigelow Schnabel album, same as the last post with the goat.


It's a horse! It's a Harley! IT'S A GOAT!

When confronted with this week's Sepia Saturday prompt I thought, "Cows, maybe cows. I know have pictures of cows." In fact I have some very nice 35mm slides of cows taken by Betty Schnabel's father. Cows give milk and eat grass. What's there not to like about a cow? But goats it must be. So I went on a search for a photo of a goat. I have posted a couple goat photos in the past (here and here), but I needed something of better quality. It had to say GOAT!

And then I found it. A very small snapshot in the old photo album of Betty Schnabel's mom, Louise Bigelow Schnabel. A page of photos of World War I cavalry fellas having a good time. But none of them was having as good a time as this fella riding a goat.

Now, I always thought the cavalry rode horses or camels, but a goat was a whole new idea. Perhaps this was just in training. Funds were low, just give them goats to get started. Imagine a parade ground with a cavalry riding goats. I'd give at least a buck fifty to see that.

In the case of this fella I'm guessing his pre-military form of transportation was a motorcycle. During the training Harley the goat would have to do.

Click on image to see it larger.

And I have to say—with a smug look on my face—that at least my guy is "riding" the goat and not trying to sit and have a chat with it as the Sepia Saturday fella is doing. I mean, come on. Make an effort. Sure, your hat is funnier than mine, but I bet mine was making vroom vroom sounds.



Trying to think of an image for this week's Sepia Saturday had me stumped. I'm sure I've got some bridge photos around here that I haven't shown before, but putting my finger on them was the problem. Instead I started thinking bridges, trains, and ships.

I give you some very old and blurred photos of the launching of the tanker ship Caltex Rotterdam taken by Donald G. Schnabel. It looks to have been a rather overcast dreary day. I'm sure Donald was there because he worked in the oil industry.

The ship was built in the Netherlands in 1956. I don't know what year it was launched, but Donald took a trip to Bahrain in 1957 and visited the BAPCO office. If you look at the first shot you'll see a logo of a red star in a circular field of white. You'll see the same logo in the shot taken outside the BAPCO office in Bahrain.

In October of 1975 the Caltex Rotterdam was dragged to Masan, South Korea. On December 12, 1975 demolition of the vessel was begun.

And here's a video a fellow made of old movies aboard Caltex tankers. WARNING: You might need to take dramamine before watching it.

If watching this you start thinking, "Geez, look at the waves coming over the deck! How low is this thing?" Take a look at this photo found here showing the Caltex Rotterdam loaded and sailing.

Now, if you really want to see a bridge after all of this click here to take a look at my July 22, 2011 post about the building of the Glen Canyon Bridge in Arizona. It was my Sepia Saturday post so long ago.



How fortuitous that Google reminded me that today, July 21st, is Marshall McLuhan's 106th birthday. I had forgotten about him. And then seeing this week's prompt on Sepia Saturday I was convinced it was a sure sign I was supposed to remember studying The Medium is the Massage my senior year in high school. I imagine somewhere in this house is an essay I wrote about the book or the "massage." I'd like to think that I "got it" back then and that I wrote some youthful words of wisdom. 

The message of McLuhan was not simple to grasp back then, but it sure is now. We are being inundated, massaged, by various mediums. As I watched a stupid woman staring at her cell phone walk out in front of me in the Target parking lot today I thought that maybe in honor of McLuhan I should just tap her with the bumper. I don't think she ever did notice me in my 3000 lbs of metal and glass.

We are consumers who are consumed by and with technology. The technology is almost impossible to keep up with, especially financially. Out with the old, in with the new. I'm actually not one of those types of consumer. I'm not interested in the latest and the greatest and what it purports to do for me. My toaster is from 1945 and it works just fine thank you very much. My computer is from 2010. But ay, there's the rub. I'm writing this on a computer to people I don't know and will probably never meet. I am part of the global village McLuhan spoke about. Doesn't make any difference if my toaster is from the time of World War II, my current reality is clearly part of today's medium.

All of this is to bring me around to this week's prompt which is of a family watching tv...on a yacht. Okay, I don't have anything that matches that and I'm betting few people do. But I do have people with the ubiquitous television. It was the television that for me McLuhan was talking about in the late '60s. TV was important. I watched Lee Harvey Oswald get shot one Sunday morning on television. I watched a South Vietnamese officer shoot a Viet Cong in the head on television. I watched Mick Jagger smirk on Ed Sullivan when he knew he'd run afoul of the censors. And what had been on tv was always the topic of discussion the next day at school. But who would have really imagined how totally consumed our lives would be by all of this? Doesn't make any difference if you watch NBC or HBO. You could avoid tv completely and still you're going to be aware of what is going on. The net will make sure of that and now to a lesser extent newspapers/magazines. It's hard to get away from it. The massaging of the message is always there.

So this little girl is staring at us while her younger sister is drawn to what is going on behind her on the tv. One is interacting with another human while the other is more interested in the message from behind.

And here we have the information furniture. Turn it on and a world comes to you.

You have to remember to edit what you hear and see, but I'm afraid that these days people have become too lazy to do much more than simply turn on their 75", 4k, 3x HDMI, Smart TV and absorb. Analytical thought has become suspicious and we're all the less wise because of that.

All of this is brought to you by the whack on the head I took in the shower yesterday.



I'll let the photos and the Iowa newspaper clippings tell the story. All I know is this man's name was Jim Saunders and he was a salesman for Dr. Bakers products. If you do a google search you'll find a lot of Dr. Bakers so it's hard to discern if the ones in the news clippings below are all about salesmen for the same company.

This is my selection for Sepia Saturday. Though not in sync with this week's prompt, I'm willing to bet there were plenty of sales reps nearby hoping to entice some of the fair attendees to sample their wares.

Either way, enjoy medicine the way it used to be. No insurance required. No cures guaranteed.

Click on images to see them larger.

Algona Courier, Sep. 27,1895

Quad City Times, Oct.11, 1879

Des Moines Register, May 22, 1887

Opinion Tribune, Dec. 10, 1896

Sioux Valley News, Feb. 6. 1902

Sioux Valley News, Sep. 7, 1905

Greene Recorder, April 1, 1908

Greene Recorder, Mar. 22, 1922



it's hot outside! I'm not kidding. It was 111.4 today. Time to find a puddle or a pond to sit in. Just sit. Do nothing. Just sit. Wait for the evening when it drops down to...85. Yup, it's going to be good sleeping tonight.

But it's a dry heat.

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Just getting into the swim with this week's Sepia Saturday. Someone hand me a cold one. A block of ice would do.


The SERIOUS FAMILIES little dancer

If you've been visiting this place the past few years you will be aware of the Serious Family consisting of a mother and three children. To see the other posts click on the word "serious" in the labels below.

Here I give you the lovely little daughter in some sort of costume. I'm guessing it was for a dance recital, but I'm open to other suggestions.

It was nice finding one of the children again.

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