Friday, September 6, 2013

Sepia Saturday: Up A Creek

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





This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt depicts the joy of solitude as a young woman paddles her canoe through the calm waters of a wide-open lake.  I was glad for this prompt because I have been eager to share some more photos from my great-aunt Helen Killeen Parker’s photo album.

But Helen’s pictures don’t suggest solitude at all. 

They tell the story of a camping trip. 

From album of Helen Killeen Parker 1918-1920I wonder if they brought the boat with them or if it was a rental.  If so, what kind of place was this?



From album of Helen Killeen Parker 1918-1920







Since Helen apparently liked taking pictures but not journaling about them, the reason for the trip is a mystery.  Family reunion?  Summer vacation with cousins?  A getaway-weekend with friends and coworkers?  I don’t know.  The presence of a rather grizzly older woman and a child makes me think this is an outing with extended family rather than the 1919 equivalent of the senior class trip.


From album of Helen Killeen Parker 1918-1920
This photo makes me laugh.
Is that guy wearing a sport coat over his swimming trunks?

Maybe the older woman was simply the chief cook and bottle-washer.  With all the activities Helen and her friends had planned, they surely didn’t have time to cook. 


From album of Helen Killeen Parker 1918-1920
Why is that man standing up in the boat?


They were too busy boating,



From album of Helen Killeen Parker 1918-1920




fishing and hunting,
From album of Helen Killeen Parker 1918-1920                                          
From album of Helen Killeen Parker 1918-1920
                   

















From album of Helen Killeen Parker 1918-1920
My great-aunt Helen


relaxing to the sounds of Al Jolson, Henry Burr, or an orchestra on the gramophone 



From album of Helen Killeen Parker 1918-1920


and boxing??

















and maybe just getting to know one another better.


From album of Helen Killeen Parker 1918-1920



Oh wait -- Perhaps a little solitude was on the agenda after all.


From album of Helen Killeen Parker 1918-1920




Please paddle on over to Sepia Saturday for more stories of solitude, boats and lakes.




© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

42 comments:

  1. I have been looking at so many old photos of boats on water today and saying that there is something about such old pictures - is it the lens, is it the printing process? - which gives a feeling of emptiness. Your collection is the exception that half-proves the rule - they are full of life and people.

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    1. I have been struck likewise that most of the photos are excellent examples of peace, solitude, relaxation.

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  2. It looks a fun time, in fact your great aunt seems to have enjoyed her life at that time immensely.

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    1. I think the same thing -- what fun she had as a young girl.

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  3. Looks like they all enjoyed themselves. I am guessing your photos were taken in Virginia. They look very much like areas here in New York State.

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    1. I'm pretty sure they were in Virginia, but just not sure where.

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  4. How many you found! And I love the cheekiness in that last photo too.

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  5. Boy, there are lots of people in that one boat (I count seven, including that nut standing up!). It looks like they're all having a fabulous time!

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    1. Have you noticed how many Sepians have featured photos of boats jam-packed with people?? I guess no one had invented the concept of a personal bubble back then. Or boater safety!

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  6. The fellow with his sports coat over his swim trunks was a hoot. I think maybe he did it on purpose as some of the others in the photo are hamming it up. Just for a moment I wondered how they could be playing records on the gramophone out in the middle of nowhere when it occurred to me: Duh! One cranked it up! And I loved the expression on the fellow's face in the last photo. "I'm helpless. What can I do? She beckons!"

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    1. Carrying a gramophone -- the boombox of its day. You know it had to be heavy!

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  7. So much to enjoy in these photos Wendy. Perhaps the young man had been for a swim and was feeling a bit chilly until someone offered their jacket. Either that or the sight of his naked torso was too much for some of them.

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    1. Judging by his legs, he probably didn't win any prizes for body building.

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  8. A glorious collection of photos of what was obviously a fun time. But I would beware of the lady with the gun.

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    1. I have another one of a woman kneeling and aiming, but the photo is glued close to the seam of the album making for a very blurry scan.

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  9. What a great selection of photos. And how on earth did I miss the lady with the gun when first scanning. Back I went and looked again....

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    1. They were so casual about those guns -- did you see the one draped across the log?? In another photo, the gun is on the table.

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  10. In the era of long dresses for women, suits seem to have been normal attire for men even on camping trips.

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  11. Wow! You've knocked this theme outa the park, Wendy. I suppose it's some campsite down in the not-so-Dismal Swamp. Bringing boxing gloves along with all that other stuff is the mark of a real planner, too.

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    1. I thought Dismal Swamp or possibly Respass Beach along the James River.

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  12. Aunt Helen was definitely quite a gal! Loved the last picture -- semi posed, semi of guard, o gosh quality. A fun camping trip --- in retrospect as well.

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    1. When I knew Helen, she was just a sweet ol' auntie. I wish I had known about the fun life she led as a girl and asked her about it.

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  13. I'm beginning to think that lakeside trips/holidays were much more common in America than here in Australia. they look like fun,

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  14. What great photos! They remind me of a summer I spent on one of those children's summer camps in Maine. A lot of time was spent in the lake and in boats and being bitten by mossies. I must admit that was one of my first thoughts.. " I bet they were eaten alive on that trip"

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    1. Now that would have put a damper on things! But in Virginia, mosquitoes are part of the territory in the summer.

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  15. I think if I were around back then I would have gotten along well with Helen :)

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    1. Yes, I can see you rowing the boat and taking a turn at target practice!

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  16. How wonderful to have such a set of photos.

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    1. The more I use them on Sepia Saturday, the more I appreciate them because I spend time REALLY looking at them.

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  17. Great set!!
    Those boxing gloves though,
    I'm a little perplexed...
    :D~
    HUGZ

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    1. Yeah, I squinted to make sure I wasn't imagining things.

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  18. It looks like a wide variety of activities were on the agenda for this outing! Great photos Wendy!

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    1. I guess they didn't have popsicle sticks to make lamps.

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  19. Looks like they were having an idyllic time at Dismal Swamp, despite the depressing name! I'd be a little worried about the possibility of a hunting accident though - they can happen so easily and turn pleasure into tragedy.

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    1. I think the same way. They seem very cavalier about those guns. In another photo, a guy is balancing his weight on a rifle while he and friends are in a boat floating along. Everyone is smiling and happy. I'd have run for cover.

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  20. Whatever the reason for this holiday, it all looks very nice and cheerful.

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    1. It does appear to have been a happy time.

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