Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Here, watch my baby.


The year must be 1951. The baby is about a year old or more and he is surrounded by relatives.  Great uncles and aunts are all in the yard.  They seem to be dressed up for some reason.  They aren't church goers so to speak so they must be there after a funeral. The men for sure are all my grandmother Mabel's brothers. They were all farmers and probably were 55 years old or more. To see them in suits seams unusual for farmers.  I can't identify the women but I am assuming that they are wives, great aunts of mine.

I am the little guy being held by Elva Wheeler. It is an amazing good photo of me as I was the fourth child and most all photos of me as a baby were blurry shots. There were not a lot of pictures taken as I was the fourth child and another child died 8 months after I was born.

 When I grew up to get to know Elva he had changed in appearance.  He was short all of his life but he became rotund as a well-fed mans should be. He was a friendly guy and bald completely.  He had a very angry wife who cussed a lot. Later on in years, she mellowed and became a kind, quieter  woman.


My grandmother's brothers are here with names labelled above.  There is one other bother not in the photo who just didn't hang around with these people. He went to the big city to make his fortune. In the top photo the back sides of Lee are directly positioned behind Elva and the next one back is Weaver. To follow the theme of "watching over others" my grandmother lost her husband in 1937.  Her brothers hovered over here and made sure she had a place to live and food on the table. Everyone was poor back then and they got by with whatever they had. The tree behind them is my great grandparents tree.  I have so many old photos of various people standing outside in  front of that tree. The all lived in the Madison County area, "Bridges of Madison County" locality, Winterset and Lorimor, Iowa.

While I am on a roll here, these are the parents of the ones above. They are my great grandparents.

Cyrus Henry Wheeler, 1872-1948, and Martha (Mattie) Selena Mobley Wheeler, 1876-1941.  Most all of these people are buried in the Moon Cemetery near Macksburg, Iowa.

Check in on others who are posting thoughts and photos on their Sepia Saturday blogs. Click HERE and go see the list of Sepia Saturday members who are participating today. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Rockefeller Bridges of Old.....


John D. Rockefeller, Jr.  bought some land in Maine.  It just happened to be an Island  off the Atlantic coast and a small fishing town was next to it. The town was Bar Harbor. His island was great to see with the cliffs along the shores and mountain-like roads through the property. Giving buggy rides was  difficult when he wanted to show off the property.  He hired European stone builders to come and build him bridges to span some of the crevices of the hills. They lived on the site until the job was done.  I don't know the exact number of the bridges but I know of at least three and there probably were more.  At first the date visualizes as 1994 in the above photo.  But the stone is uneven and it actually says 1924.



The bridges were designed with decorative additions that made them more that just common bridges. The circular  pieces were built at the end of each bridge railing. The ability to get round edges must have been done by experts who liked to carve stone.  A photo below shows that a circular column was built below this round decoration.



On top of the highest point of the island is Cadillac Mountain.  This is the city of Bar Harbor down below the peak. 



After searching through literally 1000 photos in one file, I did find pictures of one of the bridges. A creek runs under some of the bridges and one bridge spans a road. There is a keystone at the top of the gothic arch. Being it is in Maine, I am sure there were rock quarries where the stone was purchased and shipped, by horse drawn wagon to the different sites. . 



Our two sons and one daughter-in-law are gazing down below from the one bridge. We were hiking the same trails as the horse and buggies use to travel for Rockefeller to show off his property. 




A different side view of the bridge shows the circular pillars that were built at each end of the bridges. The landscape of the now Acadia National Park is much the same. The Rockefeller family donated the most of the area. My one son you livers near there says that the family still holds some land with a house in the area.  He has met one of them while jogging one morning. 

It has been a long time for me to Sepia Saturday blog.  I promise many black and whites to share from years ago. As I moved to a new home, all of the photo boxes are out and ready for me to seek new, old shots for sharing.  

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Work and Play

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As the worn photo shows in the farm scene there is a thrashing process going on of wheat or oats.  The horse power  was the use of real horses to haul the grain but a gasoline engine would have run the thrashing machine.  The engine would sit a ways away from the thrashing machine and a long wide belt would connect the engine to a flywheel on the thrashing machine.

My grandfather, Leroy Brown, was the tallest one in the row of men with the writing of dad above his head.  He was not a rich man even though he had a wife and three children.  I was told that he dug graves for a living and apparently worked as a hired hand during the fall harvest season.  It was told that he owned a barber chair and cut hair on weekends for neighbors and relatives. My mom told that no one would pay him for cutting their hair. My grandfather died in 1937 from TB.


The baton twirlers are working hard to entertain the crowd while the high school band plays a rousing marching band song.  It was the era when many girls were needed to decorate the band with batons and also sometime pom poms.  As a band marched down the street the majorette would have a couple of rows of girls in uniform marching behind helping to introduce the band members that were following.


A newer generation of baton twirlers and pom pom girls stand to attention for a group photo found in an old Murray High School yearbook.



Country school teachers were paid very little to help educate the children of the farming community.  A man could be a school teacher but an unmarried woman was usually the norm to hold the job.  My mom was a country school teacher having had a special training class taken her senior year of high school.  She took over the job of a future sister-in-law who had married and became pregnant.  Both conditions were not accepted while being a teacher.

Others are posting blogs about this weeks theme of Inverse Work, on Sepia Saturday.  Click HERE to go to the other blogs from person around the world. 




Saturday, February 6, 2016

Facing the Future in Third Grade


It is 1958 and this third grade class has finished decorating the little tree.  It is a real pine tree and the school has bought them for each grade school classroom in order to decorate for the holiday. The town is Murray, Iowa and it has a school with one class of every age in their building.   This group is being lead by Mrs. Thelma Thompson.

They are all such young faces not knowing much about what their future will bring. Three of the boys will end up in the service, two in the army and one in the navy.  Each one had a different destiny as one, Larry Gene, served in Japan, another, Bernard, was in Germany, and the third, Denny, was sent to fight in the Vietnam war.  The one who served in Nam ended up with addictions that probably shortened his life. He has been gone now over 20 years. The other two guys are close friends of mine living in the area.

Gary and Fred are still farmers today living near their homes of their childhood. Anna lives in Florida and was a realtor with her husband. Phyllis married a minister and lived in the southern states most of her life. One other girl who was widowed young in her marriage still lives in the Murray area. My one cousin Carolyn worked and lived most of her life in the neighboring town becoming the business manager for the hospital. My other cousin Jim has lived most of his years now in Arizona being a teacher like me. He and I were the only two teachers in the bunch.

Wilmer moved away the next year and I have no idea where he is today.  His brother married a first cousin of mine and I do keep track of his brother.  Ann lives in Osceola.  Mary Ann also lived in Osceola and was a hairdresser in her younger years.  She later became the manager of the country club of the golf course in town.  Mary Ann passed away just a few months ago. Patty in the photo married right out of high school and became a widow ten or so years later.  She is remarried and lives elsewhere from the home town. Sandy married early and she is a great grandma now.  She lives in the Ankeny area. On girl Barbara became a successful business person climbing to the be vice president  of a company.  She lives in Colorado and rarely returns to Iowa. She now promotes positive thinking and living seminars in her retired years.

In the photo is a guy, Larry, with a striped shirt and short sleeves.  He is by a girl named Kathie who was a step cousin to him. Their grandparents married and made them seem a little like family.  Kathie lives about 25 miles from where Larry lives and they never see each other.  I don't understand why Larry's mother let him wear short sleeves shirt to school in the middle of winter.

The social structures of school seem to be a tradition that isn't as strong as it use to be.  Students today move in and out of schools continually.  The group in the photo above, 15 of them, graduated together all starting kindergarten together. Because country schools were closing our class had three or four more people added to the class who also graduated with this group.

I have stayed pretty distant from the past group for most of my years and the last ten years have reunited with a lot of them. It is interesting to return to see people who still carry their original personalities and yet have moved on to live lives so differently.  We really don't know each other very well now but I guess the bond of our youth keeps us together.  Our 50th anniversary from high school graduation will be in 2018.  Some of the core group who still live in the area of the school are getting very excited.  Me, not so much.........I hope we are all still around.

Check out others who are posting in Sepia Saturday today.  Each post has its own twist to what the group is doing.  All of the post are very interesting posts. Click here on Sepia Saturday to check them out. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

City Living........




The two guys and my dad are in the backyard of their temporary home in Murray, Iowa. I was having some confusion about the time and ages of everyone here but I had not been born yet.  Their squinting from the sun makes it hard to identify them but the one on the left is my brother Ron. He is 17 months older than my brother Rex on the right side.  My understanding is that my dad, Jesse, was shipping out for Europe headed to Belgium.  He was saying goodbye to his sons and my mom Zella. My mom was living with her mother Grandmother Brown.  Dad's mom and dad also lived in the area on the opposite ends of a block.

My dad had been in the army for a few years but was stationed in Washington, D.C.  He was able to be home when Rex was born but returned out east after the visit.  I am sure now in this photo he was headed for the train station to again be on the coast to ship out. My oldest brother was a smaller guy than his older brother Rex so they do look to be closer in age.


Sitting in from of my Grandmothers Brown's house is Ron and Rex.  My dad was fighting in the Battle of the Bulge at the time this photo was taken 1944.

When my dad went into the service, my mom and my two brothers lived there with grandma. My mom was returning to her home to live as she and dad had first lived in a small house right next to the train track. It all is a complicated story and by my simplifying it makes it confusing but when dad returned home the family of four lived here until they found a farm to rent and farm house to call home.


The oldest brother, Ron, is sitting in back of the box and Rex is in the front. By the time they were in grade school I believe the two guys were the same size. Rex did outgrow my older brother. The photo is probably taken in the same town of Murray. 


This is a photo of my Uncle Kenny standing in front of grandma's house. It was a big four by four styled house and had the corner wrapped around porch on it. Some day I am going to share the life of this house with all the photos of family that were taken outside around this house.  Photos have been taken on all four sides of the house. Next door many family photos were also taken as they thought the Morrow's house was nicer looking with its fancy porch.

Both houses are still standing today but one would not be able to identify them. They were remodeled into totally different styled house. The two story house had the second floor removed and it was made into a ranch house with a cape cod flavor. On the whole block of Fourth St. only three houses are still standing.  At the far opposite end of this block my other Grandmother Burgus lived and that house is still standing. The three houses between them have all been removed.

As the theme was a prompt showing two children who were orphaned by the sinking of the Titanic I expand the idea of what could have happened.  My dad went to war and the chances of returning were low.  He carried a radio with the scouting party that was searching and spying on enemy territory in front of the lines.  He crossed the Remagen bridge when a breakthrough was created on enemy lines. There have been moments of thought that my dad could have instead not survived that time period in the war.  Thousands of soldiers died from many countries just in that one very long battle.  My brothers would have been still around today.  The next two boys Dwight and myself could never have been. 

Check out the other responses to the prompt on the SEPIA SATURDAY site by clicking on the name. Thanks for stopping by today.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Seeing Spheres before my Eyes......


The garden glass reflection ball can seem to be more like a sculpture when it is black and white. When it is seen in color the viewer would be far more distracted and not really appreciate the reflective shape.


Christmas baubles too, take on the special shapes of shine and glow.  The shape of a sphere, no matter the size, seems to be magical.


A 1960s ashtray takes on a special look too, but in this case it is suppose to look like a bowling ball.  It was my dad's ashtray which was too small for all the smoking that he did.  Cigars really put out too much ash for this little guy.






The earth is illustrated in the old geography country school book.  The book came from a country school near a farm where I lived in southern Iowa. My dad purchased a bunch of books from the closed school. The book was printed in the late 40s and I can imagine how fascinated a student in a country school would be when they first opened these pages. I remember my own state of awe when I first saw the book.  A globe in the classroom would never have this much detail in color.  I expect the artists had to use their imagination to illustrate it as no person had been off the surface of the earth until 20 or more years later. Photos taken of the earth must have been later than that. These two pages are the only color photos in the entire book.


I shared this painting of mine a few blogs back in the black and white version.  I had many requests to see it in color and I do have spheres floating around in the painting.  

Others are prompted to react to a round object and find photos with similar shapes.  You can check them out at Sepia Saturday by clicking on the brown name.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Storefront City..........


Granger, Iowa, USA probably taken in the early 1900s.  Most all of the buildings are gone now but a couple of them on the right side still stand.  I think they turned them into bars. 


Granger, Iowa is pictured here also with the first  shot being being located at the top corner of this photo.  If you were to look down the road that travels by the water tower that would be where that shot was taken.  The taller building is in the above photo.  I would date this photo as around 1950s.  The school building is gone now and three different building programs have change that whole area.  I taught in that old school building, top floor on the opposite side. That was in 1976 through 1990s. The room had a great view of all the farmland being worked in the area. It was a neat old building that used to be the full k through 12 building for the town.  In 1969 Granger and Woodward merged as a school district.


You are now viewing the east side of Murray, Iowa on mainstret.  The buildings are all empty now with no businesses in them.  To the left down the street is a remodeled bank which is still open.  The left building was a drug store with a soda fountain.  I ate many chocolate sundaes on twirly seats.  The opening is where the Agan's Barbershop stood.  I find it interesting that they chose not to take down the brick part of the building.  To the right was the hardware store.

  My first cousin and her husband bought that store and ran it for many years.  It then became a movie theater for a number of years, believe it or not.   One more building sits to the right of this one that use to be a car repair shop and it was turned into a very successful cafe.  On top of that building is an apartment and above that still stand a lookout, built by the town, to watch for Japanese bombers, during WW 2. 

A couple of old buildings in Perry, Iowa.  They have both been refurbished and are in use today.  The corner building use to be a bank as you can see by the sign's design on the corner.  My wife and I displayed art on the top floor of this building about 7 years ago.









I have saved the best for last.  This photo is a building that stood on main street three blocks away from where I live now.  It looks like it was just finished in its construction in this photo.  I like all the different architectural influences in the design.  The banding design comes from Venice.  The Roman arch of course come from Rome and there are dentil designs along the top and smaller ones in the middle. They are all designs from overses older classical buildings. 

The Oddfellows, a mens lodge, probably built the building.  They met at the top floor.  On the main floor was a stage with opera house seats both main floor and with a balcony.  It was said in the later years that a cafe was set up in the basement and served sandwiches all day.  Of course the people in the United States tear everything down.  The roof probably went bad and people who owned the building didn't have the money to replace it.  Fire codes of the 1960's probably were probably not being met.  It set empty for quite a while. 

I moved to town in 1976.  The building was torn down in 1975.  What a big mistake for the city and for the history of Iowa.  I never saw the building but saw the very rough parking lot that was created after it was gone.  I find it difficult to find any info or more photos of the building on the net. I suppose it will take another generation of people from the town to start to send out the photos.

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