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January 16, 2016

Five Days of Family Photo Stories: Two Little Girls in 1917

Recently Gail Dever wrote about a very cool idea on her blog. Her post is called Writing about your life — and your ancestors’ lives — in five photos

She inspired me to follow suit in a blog meme called Five Days of Family Photo Stories.

Just choose 5 photos that you love from your collection of shoeboxes and albums. Feature one each day on your blog or in your personal journal. Tell the story of the photo - where was it taken, who is in it, who took it, what year was it taken, what emotion does it invoke when you look at it, etc.

I'm going to start with this photo - one of my favourites for several reasons. It is a studio photo and was taken in Guelph Ontario in 1917.

My mother Joan sits on the left holding a large stuffed cat. Her older sister Lillian looks quite frightened and is clutching a doll in one hand and pulling at the hem of her dress in the other. It's a familiar habit isn't it? Children who are nervous or shy will often pull at their clothing when faced with something that causes that emotion in them.

I love the looks on their faces - so somber. I can just imagine my Grandmother Ruth dressing them that day. What an ordeal it must have been to iron those dresses and try to keep the girls clean until they reached the photography studio! But Grandma always dressed herself and her girls beautifully.

Joan's hair is neatly parted and slicked to the side. I can picture Grandma wetting a finger with spit and slicking that hair down.  It looks like she even managed to curl Lily's hair! I can't imagine trying to get a 3 year old to sit still long enough.

This photo makes me smile. It's also humorous in some ways because my mother was allergic to cats so seeing her hold a stuffed on strikes me as ironic. I wonder if the cat and doll were the studio's toys or Joan and Lily's favourite toys at home? I'll never know. 

Both my mother and aunt are gone now. I can't share this photo with them anymore. But I can share it with others in my family and perhaps they too will smile when they see it. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Love hearing about our family through photos and seeing them. It is hard imagining either my grandmother Lillie and her sister Joan as these small children. Thanks Lorine for sharing.

Lynn Bonar