Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday

Saturday, September 9, 2017


My son seems to be pretty serious playing his sax in a high school Jazz Band performance. His group won a lot of competitions as he worked through his four years in band.  I am thinking the year is 1997.

Kids love school picnics and these two are having their picture taken with their country school teacher.  My mom is the teacher and the year must be 1939.  I like seeing the old car and a concerned parent or grandparent looking on as the photographer was snapping the picture.

Even thought is says it is 1956, I am betting the photo was taken in the fall of 1955.  I am standing there at the age of five with my brother, Dwight, named after one of our presidents.  Dwight, 7 years old,  has a good bike there but I didn't have one at the time.  I really didn't learn to ride a bike for another couple of years later, when my dad brought home a couple of beat-up old bikes from a farm sale.  We had a hill in the back of the machine shed and I learned to coast down it and eventually pedal. I like seeing the hand-me-down pants and shirt that I am wearing in this photo. My age difference to my brother was three years so his clothes really were too big for me most of my childhood. I did have the privilege of having my own underwear and socks.
Living on the farm meant having lots of pets.  The cats were continually reproducing and the dog Tippy lived long after I was in college. Tippy was mostly border collie with some other mixture added to his breed. We got the dog in 1954 and he was still around in 1970. I am thinking the ages of the boys, this summer shot, no shirts, is four, seven, thirteen, and twelve. Leaves on the old locust trees in the backyard and the Chinese elms are standing strong as a windbreak for the old house.

This is a photo from an album that I have full of family shots. I now know that the house they were from had owners by the names of Webster. I don't have much more to find among the photos.  The youngster doesn't look too happy having his photo taken. If it were a photo where he had to hold still, it may be why he is so stern.

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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Wheels of Fortune......

Tractors and bicycles have some things in common, but not too many when you think of all of the differences. Wheels make them belong to the same big family. My brother was born in 1942.  He sits on this tractor 74 years ago.  A Farmall M, which must have belonged to one of my uncle,s as my dad was in the service at that time and didn't become a farmer for five more years.

Carnival rides really don't have any bicycle in them  and yet there are all those wheels.  A classmate of mine in school shared this photo of her family on the ride, going in circles of course.  The think that has always fascinated me about this photo is what is in the background on the left. The year this was taken has to be in 1953, judging by the age of the littlest girl whom I still know today. The carnival is set up in a park right next to the train track in Murray, Iowa.
A first cousin of mine also is proud of his wheels. Unfortunately for him, he drowned within the next year. Keith was an only child and was probably close to being 15 in this photo. He and his friends ran off to swim at the Thayer lake. His parents, my uncle and aunt, did not know he was even gone until they told them of his drowning. This photo is also taken on a main street in Murray, Iowa. I can only guess that this was taken in 1936. The wheels of misfortune that helped to cause his death was said to be bicycles that took out to the lake. I don't think he was allowed to drive this family car.
Uncle Kenny was a dashing guy as he grew up. He is proud of these wheels.  He sits on the running board of a car sitting in the yard of my great grandparents, near Macksburg, Iowa. Those who know anything about American cars can probably date this photo. This guy was born around 1916 and had not gone off yet to be in the army for WW II. I am guessing 1938.
Southern Iowa farm boys leaning against the Ford not even thinking of their futures.  They were leaning against the one set of family wheels. I am the youngest here with my older brother to the left of the photos. Second older brother is the tall one and my brother, three years older, is on the far end. The year is 1956 and we have been on this farm since 1953.  The guy on the left is the guy that was sitting on the tractor in the very first picture.

The weather was probably middle summer  as three out of four were without shirts. We were poor but we did have undershirts that we could have worn. The two youngest guys probably didn't wear shoes most of summer until school started. The photo was taken with the Brownie Kodak camera and you are seeing the photo that is being held in a packet of photos as was the way photos were process then. The fortunes of these four guys were all different with the two older guys now live in warmer climates. The older brother is in Arizona and the other is in California.  The brother on the end died in 2008 from additions of his past. He had lived in Arizona and returned to Iowa for about 15 years before he passed. He was 61 yeas old unlike the age of 9 that his is at the time of the photo.

I will close with the photo of our 1957 Ford Fairlane.  It was green with a cream color. It seemed like a beautiful car at the time and we took family trips in it to the great out west in the summers.  No air conditioning in this car other than rolling down the windows. The heater did work in the winter. This is the first time that I have seen in the photo tail fin of a 1976 Plymouth of a relative of the family.

As others create blogs for Sepia Saturday you are able to see their entries to this group themed blog. CHECK them out by clicking HERE to see what people are sharing from all over the world.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Line Them Up and Jump Around........

Shown here is a small group of school mates of 1959.  Due to the necessity of making students exercise, the students all eventually had to take physical education classes when they entered the 6th grade. Up until that time the lower grade students had recess to help with their exercise program.  Playing soccer, or chaise would get one winded but swing on the swings and jungle gym was a low grade of movement. Playing tag could get one into a good run as people would scatter all over the old school grounds.

One who went out for the sports like football, basketball and track did get more exercise than the ones who did not participate. At this time a majority of them lived on farms so they did get to do farm chores and work as farm kids in the summer.

Jumping back in time the students of this day,1920s, were lucky to have finished eighth grade at a country school. There was not time for physical education back then even though health would have been taught. The older kids of this family did go to a town school and graduate. The youngest boys in this photo never attended high school but were home trying to help save the farm from foreclosure.  They didn't save the farm but all of that added to their character.  Those two boys ended up being in WW II, traveling far away from their farm roots to Europe and Aleutian Islands.

Check in on others who are participating in Sepia Saturday this week by CLICKING HERE. Many responses to a prompt with creativity exposed to the public.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Fixing and Finding......

I found an old newspaper article cut from the Sentinel-Tribune paper of Osceola, Iowa.  It was first published right after the end of WW ll.  All the local men who returned from serving during the war were asked to show up at a cemetery in Murray, Iowa.  There the seven guys of various services fired off a 21 gun salute. The names of the guys described in the row are all familiar with me.  When the article was republished years later, the paper said all were gone except for three men in that front row.  My dad must have been alive at the time when the republished it. The reason the article was cut from the paper was not for what you see but for what you don't see.  Jesse Burgus, my dad, is standing behind the second shooter as was marked with an arrow by a blue pen.  His brother, my Uncle Donald is in view with a blue line marking his existence. Both guys were in their early 20s in age as later they neither one would be able to fit into the uniform.  They were wool uniforms. I tossed a lot of my parents things but this is a fun one to have.

In the past I had this as a header for my Sepia Saturday blog.  These kids were all children from a country school in 1939.  My mom was their teacher.  When I posted more of these photos  on my blog I was contacted by a woman, my age, searched on the blog and  asked me about one of the photos. She said one of those girls was her mom.  I sent her the photo and  scanned pictures of the whole country school crowd.  The woman wanting the photo ended up being one whose mother was related to the an Aunt of mine, who was married to my Uncle. She also had lived in the town and graduated from the school that I had been working in for 31 years.  Small world, curious sharing of first cousins and we were not related ourselves.
While fishing for a photo of the past that would fit the theme, I found this one.  It is one of my dad's photos taken while he was stationed in Belgium during WW ll.  He is not in the photo but it shows two soldiers getting in on the fun, trying to catch a fish, while the local children are all so very entertained with his work or should I say play. The bridge they are on is a makeshift one as you can see the original bridge is collapsed in the foreground.

Check out others who are writing and posting for Sepia Saturday.  CLICK HERE AND SEEK the creative blogs of others.

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.