Sepia Saturday: Mother's Day

Having introduced my maternal grandparents, allow me to present their daughter this Saturday in sepia. Since it's Mother's Day, after all.

This photo has fascinated me since I first saw it as a child.

Imagine my surprise when, visiting the museum in St. Paul, Minnesota, a couple of years ago, I saw a slideshow that included a similar shot of another family. Turned out this was taken by an itinerant photographer who was in the area.

Anyway here's my mom with her two brothers around 1926.

There's rather a dearth of teenage photos of my mother, but here she's the college novelist circa 1947, possibly posing for a book jacket.

Below: I think this was taken at the University of Michigan where my parents met, just before decamping in 1952 to the University of Washington where my father had scored a job under poet and fellow Michiganian Theodore Roethke.

Twenty years later, my mother putting up with a rather silly photo shoot for an article about my professor father in the local paper. Yes, that's me aft, looking goofy. My daughter is now about that age. Good grief.

And another twenty or thirty years down the line, me mum enjoying her garden.

Happy Mother's Day!


  1. What a lovely pictorial! I really like the profile photo of your parents looking at each other. Your mother looks like a beautiful, gracious woman in her garden picture.

  2. I loved the old photo with the goat wagon! My children had a modern day version. A local museum has an antique one on display and a friend's father made a copy for our children to use. We tried to teach our pet goat Barbecue to pull the wagon, but he was too old to train properly. Don't you know the children in your photo enjoyed their ride?!

  3. A great set of photographs Sean. There's a sense of deep self-assuredness about your mother. The 'college novelist' pose is a classic.

  4. Great photos and interesting writing. Good grief, I have never seen a goat/sheep (?) drawn cart before, I know there were itinerant photographers with ponies. I have a magnificent Christmas statue of friars riding in a cart drawn by a long horn sheep that looks like this photo, never have decided if it's sheep or goat.

  5. What a wonderful series of pictures. Your mother was certainly photogenic.

    I can recall my brothers and I having our pictures taken by an itinerant photographer traveling from house to house with a little pony. I wish I knew whatever happened to those pictures.

  6. Happy Mother's Day to you and your mom, too!
    Love the photos..that first one is a hoot! And I love the young mom and her two brothers...they look so darling and giggly. :)

  7. I dig the hairstyle on the future blogger in the canoe....

  8. An interesting "history in photos" of your mother.
    I love the goat(?) cart photo and the beautiful teen-ager.

  9. You've done it again. A fascinating post and some wonderful photographs.

  10. Sean, your mother looks like such a delightful lady. I love that last photo of her in the garden. Actually, these are all wonderful photos. The canoe pic would make a super painting.

  11. That goat cart must have been a wild ride! Very nice tribute to mom. :)