Saturday, June 26, 2010

White Gloves

Pat in the back. Joan, Bill B, Maureen and Barbara. April, 1955

We are posed in front of a famous Cincinnati monument, a reproduction of a statue of Romulus and Remus being suckled by their mother wolf. We are obscuring the boys. It's probably Easter and we are still dressed for church.

A nice contast between being raised by wolves and being raised by Catholics.

Jane in 1953

Hats were required for women's church wear by some ancient law, perhaps the 11th commandment. Women wearing white gloves to church was also a requirement.

Peggy and Cele, Pat B. in white gloves 
May, 1945

You can tell when people are dressed for church.
Someone is always wearing white gloves.
Cele is seven months pregnant here and covering up the condition.
Things have changed.

Dorothy in 1945

White gloves always seemed pretty Mickey Mouse to me.
They were hot and awkward. I liked to chew on the finger tips however.

But they were fashionable in the 1950s
And more important they marked you as someone who knew what to wear---a class thing.

Or someone whose mother knew what she should wear.

Queen Elizabeth and her mother in the 1930s

Proof that it wasn't just Catholic girls who had to wear them.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father's Day

Cece, Jane, Kay, Warren, Barbara

Just the other day---well maybe it was 27 years ago---we videotaped an interview with Uncle Warren and Aunt Kay. We asked them about our parents Cele and Ben, whom we have a hard time remembering.

Warren had a wonderful afternoon telling us about the years right after the War. He spoke of his two older brothers-in-law Biff and Ben with great affection. Warren was 24 in 1945, Ben 35 and Biff 32.

Because he'd been injured he was one of the first soldiers to come home in 1945. He was required to wear his uniform everywhere he went and he and Biff and Ben went to a lot of bars. Everyone would buy Warren drinks as thanks for his service. I imagine Ben and Biff got many free drinks too.

Tom Berry on the left, two unkown women, then Cele and Ben.

Warren and Kay didn't have the money to get an apartment so Warren apparently spent many nights on the couch at Ben and Cele's. Occasionally Ben and Cele would go out of town so Warren and Kay could have their apartment (The kids WERE married, you know.)

Ben also loaned them their car---a Nash, Warren emphasized. A nice car.

Although he had a variety of memories about the good times, Warren loved to talk about how much they drank. The drinking tended to wear on Cele. He was, after all, sleeping on her couch and driving her car, and she was pregnant. I'll spare you the details, which involved Cele, a bucket and a rag and her car and her couch.

Listening to him talk recreated another time and place, when you could drink and drive, and drink...and drink.

So raise a glass of Rheingold for those guys on Father's Day. They did have fun.

July, 1953
Pat B, Ben, Lora, Vera, Biff, Peggy and Patty N

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Big Rock

This is not the Big Rock.

When we all lived on Russet Lane in Halesite there was a giant rock across the street behind the Harrison's house.

This is not the Big Rock

I remember it being so large that it was an accomplishment to climb up it.

Small fry like Moe and Jane (on the right) couldn't possibly get up to the top.

Neighbors Chris and John, the boys in the picture, were also too small to get on top or stay there. (We may have shoved them off.)

This is not the Big Rock.

Ten years ago Jane and Bill and I went back to look at the Big Rock.
No surprise----it wasn't that big.

Maybe about this big.

My boyfriend the geologist says it's a glacial erratic.

A definition of a glacial erratic:
After a glacier melts, rock debris is left behind. In the New York region, the Wisconsin Ice Sheet deposited tons of gravel, pebbles and sand—moving, for example, boulders from the Palisades to Central Park—plowed up topsoil, and leveled the earth, filling in depressed areas with glacial till. Individual stray rocks called “glacial erratics” were rounded by the glacier and left behind after the ice melted away. Today these rocks are found across New York City and Long Island.

I'm not going to ask him why it's called the Wisconsin Ice Sheet. We don't need to know.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Love Stories: Ann and George

Ann in 1939 at 22

Anna Marie was born in 1917, her mother Anna Marie's seventh daughter. She married George in October, 1942 when she was 24 and he was 30 years old.

In the 1940s, from Jack's box of photos
Bambi says those bikes are still in the garage.

She'd had her eye on him for quite a while. According to Bambi:

They lived a block away from each other in Queens Village. Mom was on 215th St and 89th Ave and Dad was on 216th St and 89th Ave. Mom would see Dad around in the neighborhood. I think she decided at an early age (like 14) that he was the one for her, but she didn't actually "meet" him until July 4, 1935 when she was 17 and he was 23. [Bambi's quotes in blue; Ann's in red.] In Ann's words:

"George lived on 216th and there was a stationery/candy store on 217th and 90th? that all the neighborhood teens hung out at. I used to see him there and liked him. Thought he was the one for me. I went to Walcliff pool with friends on 4th July and bumped into George there. I dove off the high board and bumped into him on the way up. We talked, and he walked me home, and never got away."

1960 - 1965
George carried this photo in his wallet, his favorite picture of Ann. He took it with a timer.

 "Hugh McDougal was a neighborhood friend of George's. Nice looking guy but I had no interest in him, only George. Hugh was walking with me one day on the way home and he grabbed me and kissed me and I slapped him - slugged him really. Hugh protested why I hit him because he saw me on the front stoop at Gracie's house sitting on George's lap. And I told him that that didn't count because I was going to marry George. Hugh asked if George knew that.....I told him not yet. Hugh never bothered me again."

Mom used to say she and Dad rode [the bikes in the photo above] all over Long Island when they were dating. Mom's afraid of bridges and she said one route they used to take they had to go over this wooden bridge - the kind you could see the water below thru the slats - she was scared to death and only for my father would she cross it (walking not riding). Aaahh, the things we do for love.


George and Ann were married during the War in a ceremony in the rectory of a church in Syracuse with sister Vera the family witness. Grandpa was opposed so Ann and George eloped.

Christmas, 1945

George was stationed in Gulfport, Mississippi in 1944 and 1945 and Ann joined him there. They moved back to Queens after the war.

Ann and George and Nancy (another Anna Marie), Christmas 1945