Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.
This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt shows lovers kissing across two vessels. If we carry that image to its logical conclusion, those boats will drift apart, and the lovers will be separated.
The symbolism implied in the photo extends to the story of my great aunt and uncle, Catherine Walsh and Steve Barany.
In her teen years my aunt Betty (Beverly Slade Anderson) visited Aunt Cat and Uncle Steve in their Washington D.C. home many times.
|Jackie, Steve Barany, Betty (Beverly Slade Anderson)|
Aunt Betty said Cat and Steve were lots of fun. Steve made sure to show Betty and her friend Jackie a good time, usually going to hockey games and other sporting events, but they also toured the historic sites of Washington D.C.
Cat and Steve were loved by their neighbors. They had lots of friends and enjoyed parties.
|Steve and Catherine Barany on the left|
with neighbors on the right
|At what appears to be a birthday or New Years party,|
Catherine and Steve are on the front row, far right.
|Front row: Cat is smoking and wearing a dark striped |
sweater. I wonder what the tags were for.
But there’s a dark side to their story.
By day, Steve was a machinist in the Navy Yard. By night, he was a bookie. He ran his business in the basement of their home. No one was allowed to answer the phone except him. If the call was for Cat or Betty, he rang a little bell to let them know to pick up the phone upstairs.
The Barany household must have been much like that of George and Martha in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Cat and Steve fought too much. They also drank too much. Maybe that came with Steve’s business. Maybe it was part of the Irish curse that Cat would become an alcoholic like her brother and two of her sisters.
So like lovers on two different boats, Cat and Steve drifted apart. Although legally separated, they continued to share the house in Washington D.C. for many years until Cat decided to return home to Portsmouth to be closer to her sisters. In 1969, Cat and Steve died within months and miles of each other.
Please visit Sepia Saturday for more stories of hugs and kisses, hello’s and good-bye’s, boats, and lovers.