Friday, July 12, 2013

Sepia Saturday: Son of a Beach


Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.




This week’s Sepia Saturday photo prompt is a familiar rainy-day scene featuring an umbrella. But umbrellas are not just handy in rain as this old family photo suggests.

John Jr. and poodle at New York beach about 1921 from album of Mary Theresa Sheehan Killeen Walsh
John Jr. and poodle, maybe named "Cutey"
Click to enlarge

The pint-size umbrella probably afforded little protection from the sun.  Honestly, it might have been more at home in a Banana Daiquiri or Mai Tai.

John Jr and Bob at New York beach about 1921 from album of Mary Theresa Sheehan Killeen Walsh
John Jr., poodle, and Bob
(Yes, I know - it looks like a girl.  But it's Bob.)
Click to enlarge.



These children are John Jr. and Bob.  John and Bob Who?  That’s what I want to know.  














Photos spanning the years 1917-1921 are glued into a small green soft-cover album that probably belonged to my great-grandmother Mary Theresa Sheehan Killeen Walsh.


Photo album of Mary Theresa Sheehan Killeen Walsh 1917-1921








John Jr. and Bob are the only people identified.  










John Jr, Bob, and woman at New York beach about 1921 from album of Mary Theresa Sheehan Killeen Walsh
John Jr, Bob, poodle, and maybe Mary Theresa's sister
Click to enlarge

The adults are unknown to me, but occasionally there is an air of familiarity – the shape of a woman’s face, the body-type.  Intuition says it is one of Mary Theresa’s sisters and that the pictures are of either Sarah or Josephine and grandchildren.  It certainly can't be Delia because her children were only slightly older than these in the photos.

The little I know – or THINK I know – is that Mary Theresa often visited relatives in New York, her sisters I suppose and maybe a brother.  This beach could have been Coney Island.  It could have been Brighton Beach.  It could have been Rockaway Beach.  Since Rockaway was known as the “Irish Riviera” because of the large Irish population there in Queens, it was likely the destination of my distant relatives, whoever they were.   Some of the photos are labeled “Richmond Hill,” a neighborhood in Queens.  However, others are labeled “Bronx,” so I can’t be sure what beach drew them there that day.

Regardless of where they were, they had a grand time it seems.  Even their pet poodle enjoyed a romp in the surf.  


Poodle at New York beach about 1921 from album of Mary Theresa Sheehan Killeen Walsh


Which brings me back to the topic of umbrellas and this old saying:

It’s raining cats and dogs.  Don’t step in a poodle!


Rain or shine, there’s something good happening at Sepia Saturday.


52 comments:

  1. Perhaps identifying the location to a greater degree of certainty might help with working out who the relatives might be?

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    1. I've tried comparing the photos to historic photos of New York beaches but most looked the same. It looks most like Rockaway, but that might just be wishful thinking.

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  2. Haha @ the poodle! Those pictures are really sweet. Looks like a fun time.

    Happy weekend!

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    1. tee hee -- Thanks Dana. Same to you!

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  3. It's so nice to see your pictures - I wonder what our relatives will think of our beachwear in a hundred years? The poodle certainly seems to be enjoying the sea.

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    1. I'm sure people will look at me and wonder why I didn't have one of those suits from the 1920s.

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  4. Oooohhh, I hope you're able to figure out who and where they are. Great pictures!

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  5. You'd think with the buildings in the background of those beach photos, it would be easy to identify the location. Especially after you mentioned beaches in New York, my ears perked up, since that is my old stomping ground (well...further out by Jones Beach). But I hardly recall any beach looking like that. Looking through historic images via Google images didn't help, either :(

    More important than the location, though, would be the identity of the mystery people. You may just have to sketch out the family trees for your great grandmother's siblings and see if any John and Bob show up!

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    1. Working out a family that seemed to come and go or not even exist is the problem. Now, "John Jr" is sort of a clue because that tells me his father was John Sr. So did Mary Theresa's sisters have a son named John or did they have a daughter who married a John?? But I'm going to work on it.

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  6. I hate when I step in a poodle...You're here through the weekend.

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  7. This is the second little parasol so far. They look so delicate.

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    1. I know. I think it's interesting that "Little Nell"'s photo is from the same time period as mine.

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    2. I wonder if there was some oriental influence at the time.

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  8. Fun family times. I love John, Jr and Cutey! 1917 - 1921 sounds fabulously historic.

    Hazel

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    1. Fun indeed. Who doesn't enjoy burying someone in the sand?

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  9. Well, Wendy, I suppose it would be a long and hard task to find the children of all the collateral relatives in order to find a John Jr. and a Bob. Of course, knowing there's a John Sr. may help. At least you'd know the spouse would be John.... I continue to be surprised to see people fully dressed on the beach. Imagine the sand in clothes! Your presentation of this post was very fun and a nice tie-in with the SS photo.

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    1. Yes, I never understand being fully dressed at the beach. Doing laundry back then wasn't as easy as it is today.

      I have tried searching for a John with children John and Robert in 1920 New York with no luck. With those names, I expected a gazillion hits but usually when those names appear, there are MORE children or Robert is older than John.

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  10. Another great story, Wendy. But sometimes a beach is still a beach, and the actual location is irrelevant. What kid ever remembers the name of where they had fun?

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    1. I hoped the location would enlighten me on who these people were. I've considered that possibly they weren't in New York at all, that maybe they went to Atlantic City or Myrtle Beach or other vacation spot.

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  11. At least you have first names...I have so many nameless ones. :( And since I rarely print off photos anymore- it seems I am doing the same thing to my future generations if I don't name each photo on my hard drive (something I am guilty of especially when my kids send me pics of the grands).

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    1. I have my fair share of UNKNOWNs too. It's nice to catch a break once in awhile.

      Oh, the digital photo -- yeah. Note to self: label!

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  12. Yes, that umbrella did look very much like the type you would get in a rather large cocktail. Love the albums, many of my old family photos are in albums such as this. Mobile phones can never compete.

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    1. With ever-changing technology, how will our descendants even access our photos?

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    1. I think so. I love to see people buried in sand. LOL

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  14. The kids are cute, but the poodle steals the show in my opinion.

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  15. It looks as if the parasol gave everyone a lot of fun. Love your humorous ending - I could not help but smile.

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    1. I'm glad you liked it. I know it's goofy but oh well....

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  16. Cutey looks a little concerned about his boy with only a head. Have you tried tracing Cutey's family line? Ha!

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  17. It doesn't matter if you don't find out who these people are. The photos are priceless on their own. Especially that darling cutey. Love these pics.
    Nancy

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    1. Kids on the beach - timeless and iconic and universal.

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  18. I have two cousins who are John and Bob, but they had a cocker spaniel, not a poodle. They, too, were beachers, loved the bury-each-other-in-sand routine...I hope you find out who they are, Wendy -- the photos are too good to be "lost."

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    1. Darn - almost related LOL! I hope to identify these kids too. The photos in the album contain several distant relatives, I'm quite sure.

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  19. I groaned when I read your last line. Glad the poodle liked the sea.

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  20. These are fun! I hope that somebody Googling Mary Theresa find this post someday. Cutey is a great name for the swimming dog.

    Kathy M.

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  21. I too noticed the resemblance to the cocktail parasol on mine. I've quite taken a fancy to them. I had a little poodle like that when I was 11 years old - so cute(y).

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    1. Have you posted any pictures with your poodle?

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  22. It is a shame the maker of the album didn't write more details. I guess they didn't think for a minute that they would be shared with the world in 2013. I agree the umbrella isn't doing much good.

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    1. It is difficult to imagine a world without ourselves in it to explain everything.

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  23. The umbrella looks like a Japanese rice paper parasol. Probably had a bamboo handle and structure. I have one, now torn, that I bought as a kid in Hawaii. I saw it at a local store and saved and saved until I could buy it. Then at around age 8 I walked down to the store by myself and bought it. I felt so grownup making a purchase like that. Cost me three dollars.

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    1. Wow -- you remember how much it cost?? Amazing, unless you're only 9 now.

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  24. "Don't step in a poodle!" LOL Wendy! You're too funny!

    Looks like a fun time at the beach. Well, except for being buried in sand. I don't think I'd like that very much, but that's just me. =)

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    1. Oh I know -- I hated getting sand in my bathing suit. Even as a kid, I couldn't wait to get home after a day at the beach.

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  25. If that is the kind of umbrella you put in your daiquiri,
    that must be one heck of a [gigantic] daiquiri!!!
    :D~
    HUGZ

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    1. My girls say I have an iron gut, so I could probably handle a nice, gigantic slushy daiquiri on a hot day like we've been having recently. So bring on the drink umbrella.

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  26. Nice Ones Wendy.They Look To Be Having A Fine Old Time Wherever.....Although I Hope It's on the Irish Riviera Because That's Such A Cool Name For Anyplace To Have!

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