Some "Golden Oldies" from my past:
#1. My great-grandparents on the occasion of their 71st wedding anniversary (no, it's not a misprint). They married very young, and stayed married for 72 years, and then died within 6 months of each other.
#2. My father is the young baby, and the girl is his older sister. Dad was born in 1904, so this photo has to be in either '04 or '05.
#3. My mom, at the age of 16, in 1924. If she were still alive, she'd be blown away by her photo being on the web.
My great-grandparents lived on a farm about 100 miles from my home as a child. We didn't get to see them often, but every summer we would have a family reunion, and all their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren would gather for a huge outdoor picnic. The children would wade in the creek, bedevil the chickens, pet the horses, play hide and seek in the hay lofts and trample what was left of the corn and other vegetables in the fields. Their old farmhouse had a tin roof: it was great to spend the night in their upstairs bedrooms, atop a feather bed and under a down quilt, listening to the rain beating a tattoo on the tin roof. It wasn't so great if you had to relieve yourself, as they had only outhouses until I was about 10, when they had a bathroom installed in the house. In the winter, it was as cold as the proverbial brass monkey. The only heat was derived from the large, coal-burning fireplaces in each room. My great-grandmother cooked all her meals on a wood burning stove; huge meals, in which she fed her family and all their farm hands. You might have been amazed at the quality of the food that came out of that old kitchen, and they grew all the food they ate and usually raised all the animals they needed for food. I don't think I have ever known two kinder people than they; I never heard them raise their voices at anyone. My great-grandmother never left her bedroom in the morning (usually by 6:00 a.m.) without fully dressing, with stockings and jewelry, and with her hair "put up" in a bun. They died when I was 12 and 13, and I still miss them.
I never met my dad's sister in this photo; she died before I was born. Daddy had two sisters and two brothers; one of each sex were half-siblings. His mother died of tuberculosis when he was five years old and his dad remarried a few years later. Having written quite a bit about my dad before, I will not reiterate here. I did not know his family as well as I knew my mom's.
My mom was born on a farm near where my great-grandparents lived. It was a working farm, with many acres of crops and many animals to care for. She told me lots of stories about the baby animals (mostly lambs) she raised every year - only to have to give them up for slaughter. It shattered her every time it happened, and I am glad I was not raised on a farm, as I could not have taken that! Her mother also had to cook huge meals, as they fed their farm hands twice a day too. They would start the wood fire to bake biscuits at 5:00 am, then move on to bacon, ham, sausages, eggs, fried apples, all types of homemade jams and jellies, and fruits in season. As soon as they cleaned up from breakfast and washed all the dishes, they had to start preparing lunch! It makes me tired just thinking about it. I used to think that no one lived like that anymore, until I read a series of books about Amish life in Pennsylvania and Ohio. A lot of Amish still live like my great-grandparents did, and have just as few conveniences as they did. My grandfather, in addition to running this farm, was a school teacher and principal of a one-room school, in which he taught all his own children, as well as a good many more. My mom told a story about when she would talk too much in school, her dad would flick a piece of chalk and hit her squarely across the bridge of the nose. She developed a small bump on that spot, and she always said it was from the chalk. Of course, if that was done nowadays, he'd be fired and probably taken into custody for child abuse.
When my mom was about 18, her parents divorced. That did not happen often in those days, and my mom was always embarrassed about it and felt stigmatized. My grandmother, along with her six children, moved to the "big city". She lived in a large house and took in "roomers". I am betting that some of you have no idea what I mean by that. She ran a rooming house for young working women; most of whom had come to the city to work or for school and needed a safe, clean place to live. Visiting her was fun, as there were always people around to talk to. Some of them became like older sisters to me and we kept in touch until they married and had children of their own.
What a walk down the proverbial memory lane! To be continued... (sometime).