Friday, November 6, 2009

Sidewalk Photographs

I am sorting through some old pictures when I come across a sidewalk photo, taken in Edmonton ca 1944. Then another, and another, until I have half a dozen. I am looking for a remembrance picture to add to my Recollections, and the memories roused by these photos call out to be recorded.

I wonder about the practice of sidewalk photography, - is it still a viable business for anyone looking to augment their income during these difficult economic times?

Oh, surely not, I think - times have changed since these pictures were taken and the Rights of people are so easily offended now!!!

But in those more innocent and sensible days the sidewalk photographer was easily accepted, - even welcomed. When the camera snapped and the lens captured your image as you walked down the street there was a little excitement and a pleasant feeling of anticipation as the photographer handed you the chit to retrieve the picture - for a small sum.

Here are some of the photos taken with friends and colleagues as we window shopped during our noon hour, dreaming over things for our hope chests, spending precious moments looking for just the right greeting card, and occasionally on payday buying some article of clothing that had caught our eye. Paydays at that time were a pittance compared to today's generous wages. I made little more in a month than what is now paid for a day's wages, but prices were equally as small so it all evened out.

These were all dear friends. I am nostalgic and smiling at the memories the pictures bring to mind. And I say Up, up with Street Photographers, and mourn their passing.

They were special. 'They had almost no time to make a decision and they had to be prepared to snap the picture as soon as the subject came into focus and the brain signaled "NOW". A fine instinct for the perfect moment was never enough. The eye and the hand and the brain had to coordinate perfectly and without hesitation'.

Skilled street photographers developed the ability to compose and frame the image in their mind’s eye before they even raised the camera.

When we were on our honeymoon Charles and I were snapped on the street, coming from our hotel. I cherish the picture, - it is so unposed, so natural, and probably so typical...... I see I have a letter in my hand to mail, - probably to my mother. We were so very new with each other, and they were such entrancing days.

As sometimes days are now, almost sixty-five years later.....

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Remember Whensday
September 30th, 2009

Is anything more satisfying to a grandmother than spending time with grandchildren???

A date to make cookies, especially the Christmas sugar cookies that required decorating, could be a great fun adventure for all concerned.

Here is a picture of Ashley and Eve, helping with the bread making. Everyone has their own bowl and special loaf to knead and shape, pop into the oven and enjoy warm with butter and strawberry jam.

They are both twenty now, - lovely young women, and I hope their memories of these baking days are as warm for them as they are for me.

For more old memories visit Remember Whensday here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Remember Whensday

I remember when this song, sung by Bing Crosby, was very important as 'our song'.

Here is my 1944 Easter Bonnet, - a big pink bow and a big pink flower to match.

A more up-to-date rendition of Easter Bonnet by the Riverstreet Jazz Band...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Remember Whensday

I would have to stretch things a great deal if I were to say that I remember when this picture was taken because I was still wherever souls are before they are born to this earth.

It is my mother and father in their courting days, - ca 1922.

I have captured the picture from a larger print, taken outside the house on the prairie that my Grandfather built for his family, before they emigrated from England.

Here is my mother and father, my father's sister, two of my mother's sisters' one of her brothers and a couple of people that were just along for the ride.

The house in the background is still occupied. If you want to get the streetcar to go into Calgary there is no longer that long walk across the prairie, past the gopher holes, and away down the hill to where the streetcar stops. It looks quite modern now, but the actual structure hasn't changed that much. The grandparents slept in the top right hand room, with the door opening out on to the balcony. It is where children cosied up between them for a morning cup of tea. Saucered and blown.

For more Remembrances go to Remember Whensday and share nostalgia.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Remember Whensday
September 9th, 2009

I Remember V-J Day and the end of World War 2

Sixty-four years ago, and we had been married not quite three months.

I was at a friend's beach house, looking after her children
when I heard what sounded like a locomotive
roaring down the winding road that led from the highway
to the beach.

I shaded my eyes, and around the corner came our sporty yellow roadster,
(with rumble seat)
carrying two sporting looking Airforce officers
who had attached a locomotive whistle
to the exhaust of the sporty yellow car.
(with wire wheels)

In celebration!

Here is Charles, standing by the roadster that day
smiling happily.....

He and his friend, a boy he had grown up with
and who had enlisted with him on the same day
in 1942

toured the town
whistle blowing

and grieving for the brothers
who lay buried in Europe
and would never be there to celebrate.

Thank you to Sally for hosting Remember Whensday.

Click here for more remembrances.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Remember Whensday

A long, long time ago in the far distant past, when I was too young to join Brownies I was allowed to go as an Elf and sit under the Toadstool and feel tremendously important to be there with the BIG kids.

After I got old enough to graduate from being a Toadstool sitter I got to be a full fledged Brownie.

Brownies was a serious organization, - it involved getting badges and learning to tie knots.

I don't think Brownies learn those things any more, but they do learn to be good citizens, and luckily for them they wear some pretty nice casual clothes, that gives them the distinction of being a Brownie but not the itchiness of those long stockings!

Here I am, with them bunched around my knees, circa 1933......

That's me on the right!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Remember Whensday

Our First Dinner Party

A few months after we were married we invited dear friends, the Angliss', to dine with us al fresco under the tall cherry tree on Charles' parent's lawn.

What did we feast on? Ah, too long ago to remember, but I do recall the excitement of preparing the meal and the happiness of the event.

George was a childhood friend of Charles'. He and Kay had been attending the Vancouver School of Art, - had recently graduated - and recently wed. We ran into them on the street while we were on our honeymoon in Vancouver. They soon moved back to the Okanagan and for a few years we lived within a stone's throw of each other. Well, a stone's throw if you had a strong arm.

They were friends who influenced us in many ways, - awakening an appreciation for colours and textures and music and art. And architecture. George designed our farm house, and although we only had the money to build half of it at first, eventually we added the spacious living room and four bedrooms.

Happy years, and our first dinner party is a treasured memory.

For more remembrances this Whensday click here, and many thanks to Sally for hosting this meme.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Remember Whensday

A picture of my grandmother, my father, two aunts and a great aunt, out picking berries in the woods in Ontario.

Will they make jam or jelly, and will they save enough to make pies?

My grandmother was a great pie maker, - she operated out of a tiny pantry with a pull down table for baking, but the pies and cookies and doughnuts she produced were heavenly.

I was making apple pies the other day, and as I invariably do, I thought about her as I mixed the pastry, - how amused she was that I used a pastry cutter for incorporating the lard into the flour. I still use a cutter, but I also understand the ease and the good feeling of sifting the flour and the lard through one's fingers.

I really treasure this picture of my grandmother, - she has such a lovely, happy glint in her eye.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Remember Whensday

A Romantic Wedding

The date and the gladioli blooming in the garden, bring to mind my sister's wedding in August, 1951, - a fond recollection and a reminder of what weddings were in that time and space.

The invitation arrived and plans were made to travel. A neighbour drove us to Vancouver, - me and three small children. One a crawler and the other two to be part of the wedding party. We board the train and started our journey in a spacious compartment. (Fares were not then what they are now!!!) An exciting trip for the children, and somewhat exciting for me, too....

We arrived!

The Wedding Day arrived!

The tartan ribbon and the heather from Scotland that marked the guest pews arrived on the day of the wedding, courtesy of a kind postman who made a special delivery when they missed the regular post. The bride tucks a bit of heather into her bouquet, and the groom into his cap.

The apartment is electric with last minute excitement and preparations. My sister seems calm on the outside, but on the way to the wedding she sings in the taxi "And the horse told me" from the Bing Crosby film, Riding High.

The owner told Clarence the clocker
The Clocker told jockey McGee
The jockey,of course
Passed it on to the horse
And the horse told me.

Did the Groom observe tradition and not see the bride on their wedding day before she came up the aisle? I can't remember... The Groom is a Piper, and he heads the young Pipe Band, all of whom will be in attendance at this romantic Scottish wedding. He rustles up a small kilt for my son (5) to wear as he bears the ring!

The Bride, with her gorgeous bouquet of Gladioli.

We all set off for the church, except for the dear little 'crawler' who slept peacefully through all the festivities at home with a sitter, dreaming the dreams of the innocent.

Our father is at the Lynch Gate to escort the Bride into the church.

The other bridesmaids were good sports about helping with the smaller members of the wedding party and somehow we all got up the aisle, although the flower girl (2 1/4) abandoned her place at the steps to the altar to go and sit on Grandma's knee!

The Rector, the Rev. Nainby, officiated. The organist played beautifully.

It came time to sign the register

And then the grand Recessional, and the Bride and Groom left the church under a pathway of crossed Pipes, and to the lilt of a Scottish wedding tune in their honour.

A lovely reception, - pictures of the wedding party and the parents, who probably sighed in relief that all had gone well and that our parents in particular would soon have peace and quiet! Our mother was operating from a wheel chair, and she did it with grace and her usual serene fortitude.

And the beautiful Bride and the handsome Groom

The years go by. Times change. But the memory of a lovely traditional wedding stays with you always. All the excitement, all the love - it lives forever.

For other interesting remembrances click here to go to Remember Whensdays.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Alas, I cannot guarantee that all my recollections will be perfectly recalled, or that they will correspond in every small detail with the recollections of others, dear to me.

But I did want somewhere to 'remember when', and so here is a new spot to post my personal memories, the things that have been passed on to me, and the memories of others who share with me a sweet and common heritage.

The heading picture was taken on my great-grandfather's porch shortly before my grandparents left Ontario for the West. Clustered on the porch is a great aunt and her little one, my grandparents, my father, an aunt and an uncle. My great grandfather occupies the rocker, - the handsome fellow leaning nonchalantly against the post is another uncle, and to the far right my two aunts who died in the 1918 flu epidemic.

If this was a farewell visit I can imagine the poignancy of saying goodbye.

I don't know exactly the relationship of the two young girls sitting on the steps, but the most interesting thing about the girl who sits on the bottom step is that she looks exactly like our granddaughter, born almost a hundred years later.

Our lives are all woven together, and the pattern repeats itself randomly to add richness to the tapestry.