Friday, July 8, 2016

Sepia Saturday: Don't Forget to Write

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


This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt of a street scene with people coming and going reminded me of this souvenir of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Mary Susan "Sudie" Eppard Rucker St. Petersburg, Florida 1950-51  https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
My great-grandmother
Mary Susan "Sudie" Rucker 1875-1958
This is my great-grandmother Mary Susan “Sudie” Eppard Rucker. According to my grandmother, her mother loved Florida, and so she made a point to visit every year. She always brought back a souvenir, usually some shell-encrusted tchotchke – a bowl, a box, an ashtray. One of those souvenirs sat on my grandmother’s end table for as long as I can remember. Sadly – or perhaps not – it was not among the things that were saved and divided among her survivors.

On this particular trip dated around 1950 or 1951, Sudie’s big souvenir was this photo. As the story goes, her picture was taken for the newspaper. Why? Good question. Although the full story has been lost to time, one possibility is that she was newsworthy because she was wearing a coat. Who does that in Florida?

Given Sudie’s love of travel, it is not surprising that she signed my mother’s autograph book about ten or twelve years previous with this message:

Mary Susan Sudie Rucker's signature in Mary Eleanor Davis's autograph book https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Remember me in morning
Remember me at night
Remember me while away
And don't forget to write.

Grandmother Rucker

Let’s take a walk over to Sepia Saturday and grab some souvenirs.

Wendy
© 2016, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

32 comments:

  1. She looks classy in the picture :)

    betty

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    1. Hat, gloves, purse -- doesn't get much classier!

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  2. Is that flower attached to her hat? If so, maybe the hat caught the photographer's eye. Her message is sweet...today it would have to read "Remember me at first and remember me next. Remember me while away and don't forget to text." Do you remember her at all?

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    1. I think it is a flower only because I can't come up with a reasonable alternative to what it could be. And yes, I do remember Grandma Rucker, vaguely. I remember climbing on the stairs in her house, and she didn't like that. I also remember sitting in her living room and playing with her stereoscope. I wonder now if those were pictures she purchased or if they were personal photos.

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  3. That coat was the first thing to catch my eye. In FLORIDA??? As you said, "who wears a coat in Florida?" But elderly people do sometimes feel chilly - even in Florida, & perhaps it wasn't all that warm on that particular day? Rather special having her picture taken in any event, however.

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    1. Well, that's true. Some people are more cold-natured. The photographer didn't catch her at the most cheerful of moments though. I would think she would have been thrilled to be in Florida and it would have shown on her face.

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  4. We can often tell out-of-town visitors by their perception of our weather. Last year I got a chuckle when there was a conference in town that brought many from other states. For us, it was brisk and nice and worthy of a light cardigan, but obviously some of those from other locations perceived it differently as I saw folks clad in heavy coats and boots.

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    1. Good point. Northerners often think because Virginia has a beach that it is always warm here. Not so!

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  5. Too bad the Saint Petersburg newspapers aren't among the newspaper archives I frequent...I tried looking up Rucker for 1950 through 1951, just to see if that newspaper story came up with any hits. But not only was there no Rucker result, there was no Saint Petersburg result, either. Maybe someday, you'll get to the bottom of that family story.

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    1. Thanks for checking the papers for me.

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  6. The woman behind her seems to be wearing a coat too. Perhaps there was a cold snap that year.

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    1. Well, so she is! Good eye, Kristin!

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  7. A perfect match! Well done!
    I think any family photo that supposedly appeared in the newspaper but the story behind it is now lost, gives us future folks permission to make something up. I think Grandma Rucker was the winner of a department store contest and her prize was a new flower for her hat.

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    1. You know, that is probably exactly what happened.

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  8. I bet she was shopping for a pair of those cute strappy open toed heels and nylons from the shoe store. Neat that the photo souvenir outlasted the shell encrusted ash tray. I loved her hat and wishbone broach. Now there's a story line...Grandma's Fifties Florida Fashion Faux Pas.

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    1. I am a sucker for alliteration, so loved your suggested headline!

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    2. I KNOW you love that pin. You know pins!

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  9. Tchotchke is a new word to me, had to look it up. It's not used in Australia. A perfect match indeed. My aunt traveled widely to many countries and always sent home little souvenir-type gifts.

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    1. I don't know why I chose that word. It was a bear to get the spelling right!

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  10. A fine old family treasure. It is such a loss that future generations will not have things like this to tie them to their ancestors and bring their heritage to life.

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    1. Won't they have Facebook and Instagram to look back on fondly?

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  11. It looks like a very lightweight coat; what we used to call a ‘duster coat’ - no idea why. She probably felt more comfortable wearing that; a little smarter. Clearly the lady behind shares her opinion.

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    1. Duster -- there's a term you don't hear much anymore. I couldn't tell about the weight of the coat, but you might be right.

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  12. It's the accessories that make the difference: the hat, flower, brooch and gloves. Perhaps that's why her photo went in the paper...she looked so smart.

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    1. I think the coat pin is especially nice. I think to add a pin during Christmas, but that's the only time.

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  13. Great photo! When I lived in Florida for many years, there were several times in which I would wear a coat like that, it would sometimes get to freezing for a while! St. Petersburg is often shared in news with Tampa.

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    1. Come to think of it, my daughter lived in Florida during grad school and she had some colder weather, but she was in northern Florida in Gainesville.

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  14. A lovely memory of your great grandmother. The photograph reminded me of my husband's mother who in the height of a British summer would go out still wearing her coat, hat and gloves.

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    1. So maybe it's just an age thing.

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  15. A raincoat? Could it be a raincoat in anticipation of particularly heavy humidity? Or a way to keep the no-see-ums Florida is known for?

    I hope this goes through because my comments are not going through to any Sepia members this week.

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  16. Your great grand mother is perfect for this weeks theme. As she liked travelling she would not mind, that her photograph now travels from one corner to the next in seconds. Well done Wendy. Great memories and photo.

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  17. I do hope you find that newspaper article someday, Wendy.

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