Great Aunt

Back into the Sepia Saturday fray with: Sophie Singer. 

Sophie was born in Russia in 1875. The eldest of four sisters, she was nearly 20 years older than her only brother, Arthur, my grandfather. Until recently I had only seen a couple of photos of her, taken when she was in her eighties. Via Ancestry.com and some other sleuthing I was sent these photos of her, from descendants of her sister Ida.

Here's a photo I am given to understand is Sophie with her husband Louis R. Gold, who was born in 1871 in Rumania. They apparently met in Minneapolis after she had settled there with her parents in 1887. My guess this was taken around 1890. Louis Gold was a furrier - as in fact Sophie's father Isaac Singer was, which would suggest that if Louis didn't actually work with him, they might have known each other professionally. There is plenty of fur in evidence in these outfits - as good for the Midwest winters as they would have been in Eastern Europe.

  A few years later, Sophie models what I assume is a gorgeous example of her husband's handiwork. I wonder what, if anything, she's wearing under it! Notice that she seems to have bleached her hair.

Here is Sophie with a twentyish Arthur, which would put the date around 1915 and her age around 40.

Here in 1915, Sophie dandles her granddaughter Winifred, whose mother Ida (born in 1892 and named after Sophie's sister) was the eldest of Sophie's three children.

And after a long photographic lapse, here is Sophie in the 1940s, having moved to Los Angeles, with daughter Ida. I had thought the man was Louis, but there is some suggestion that he might have died as early as 1921. She still has a beguiling smile.

And here in the 1950s, in the foreground, we have another of grandpa Arthur's sisters, Annie, in the striped dress, and Sophie in the black dress, with my grandmother Helen. (One of Annie's daughters is standing with Arthur.)  Alas, I never met her, although she was still around when I visited L.A. in 1975.



Haven't taken many photos recently, given inclement weather and being occupied with family maelstroms... So last Sunday was a much needed photo op, as I and Robin braved frigid (though uncharacteristically sunny!) weather to join over a thousand Seattleites on a march and rally in memory of the butchered children and teachers of Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

It was redolent of the peace marches I participated in during the 60s - signs and costumes, kids and dogs and grandmas. There were singers, speechifiers, politicians, and interdenominational clergy, as well as the mayor and the head of the teachers' union.

Lurking among those protesting the inexcusably unfettered availability of pure killing machines were a handful of anti-protestors who by and large think that their own paranoid male fantasies trump the health and welfare of 297,000,000 other Americans. Insensitive and arrogant of them to flaunt their personal weapons at such a somber occasion. The black shirt is a telling touch, don't you think?

They seem to believe that if we all carry these (and larger) weapons at all times, we will all be safer. In that event, we would become accustomed to the site of blue steel. How, then, would we be able to tell which of the myriad gun-toters around us might be the psycho about to open fire on the crowd? What's to say that having access to such power at everyone's hips would not tempt those who otherwise might tamp down their frustrations to simply satisfy their flash of anger with the flash from a gun barrel?

American society contains large swathes (though fortunately not a majority) of sick, sick people. Some of them already have sizable arsenals. I am far more afraid of their agenda than of the "tyranny" they claim to be preparing to resist. We must prevent any more of these "weapons of mass destruction" from entering the populus. We're better than that.

The following two photos of "law-abiding Americans" are courtesy of my friend Kathleen Atkins. You can see more of her photography on Etsy.  

(This ignoramus has a slight "understanding" problem himself: Having bare arms is not  constitutionally protected.)

And the next four are courtesy of my friend Al Garman. You can see more of his rally shots on Flickr.

I was pleased by President Obama's speech today (1/16) as well as the one following the school Connecticut shooting. Here's hoping Congress can get their act together to follow through on his proposals without any more shameful politicking.