Saturday, July 17, 2021

Sepia Saturday: What the What?

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

I thought this week’s Sepia Saturday photo would surely be my undoing. How could I respond to this ridiculous group of men with ukuleles, most sporting fake beards or fake sideburns?

I did not think I had anything as silly as this until I remembered a small batch of Polaroids passed down to me from my grandaunt Helen Killeen Parker. The photos from her youth in the 1920s show that fun-loving side of her. In the 1960s she apparently had not lost that sense of fun.

Aunt Helen in the red striped dress
See the garage door is open? See the tools?
I see the red card table in the bottom right corner - now mine!

Helen hosted a party in her garage. Garage?? Hardly the venue one expects for a party. But what kind of party was this? Some people are dressed fairly nicely in skirts or dresses while others are in shorts.

What the heck is going on here? 

I used my magnifying glass to determine that these five women had clothespins clipped to their pants. I don’t know what that game was, but it has the markings of a game played at a wedding shower or baby shower although there are no decorations and no apparent guest of honor.

The same good sports with the clothespins were then dressed up like busty women. Women dressed up like women? These costumes look like the way men dress up as women.

Crowd-sourcing the photos in a Facebook group drew lots of viewers who knew this person or that. Finally one of the women who is actually in the picture solved the puzzle: it was a gathering of workers from Shop 31 at the shipyard in 1966. At least three of the women were clerk-typists, so maybe all of them were. She did not remember everyone’s names, nor did she remember this particular party but agreed it looked like fun.

One thing is for sure, Helen’s guests certainly give the ukulele lawyers a run for their money.

Please make your way to Sepia Saturday to see what silliness the others have found.


© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. Crowdsourcing photos through Facebook — that’s a great tip I may need to try with some of my uncaptioned ones. On the street where I grew up in upstate New York, converting the garage to a “rec room” was common. It gave an extra room (like a side porch) for entertaining, or for kids to play in, during the summer without having to make an addition to the home. In winter, it was a handy room to remove and put on boots before venturing out in the snow.

  2. A very fun choice for this unusual theme. Those Polaroids snapshots have aged well as most fade away into a ghostly pastel fog. It's strange that even though modern technology has given us superior instant camera-phones, very few photos get printed anymore.

  3. What fun photos, and I'm so glad you were able to find answers to "what was going on" with the ladies! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Tell me more about crowdsourcing photos through Facebook!

  5. I love your finds! These do give those lawyers some competition.

  6. They look like they're having a bunch of fun, and what's not to like about that?!! :)