Bare Trees

OK, first, fire up this video, and then let's begin.

Talk about small radius travel...the sun comes out on a winter weekday and I'm reduced to circling the parking lot at work, where what do I spy but... bare trees! And cubistic architecture. And reflections.



Happy St. Valentine's Day to all my faithful followers! Today's edition of Sepia Saturday concerns itself with this holiday, and so from my personal archives I dredge out these vintage cards which I have managed to hang onto for oh, over fifty years, knowing that someday I would find a use for them. Yes, these are actually leftovers from a batch I sent to my classmates around 1961, when I was in second grade, I think.

And here is the class itself! I suspect that this was one of my earliest attempts at photography, by my absence from the shot, and the tilt and altitude of the camera. I believe that the pensive girl at the center might be Wanda; at her feet is Lane, Preston (whose hair was always well Brilliantined) to his left in the stripes.

Here is another of my askew photos, of our beloved teacher, Mrs. Perry -- Gerry Perry -- Geraldine, that is. She taught me in third grade as well, before retiring. She was funny, kind, and occasionally fierce. I have never had a teacher I was more fond of.  And there is a self-portrait, myself drawing myself. Fidel Castro appears to be watching me, strangely. 

Anyway, on to the valentines... they came in a large booklet, and you carefully tore along the perforations... some, like this one, were their own envelopes.

This one is rather apt for me, isn't it?

Ooh, frilly underwear!
I love the combination of puns and stereotypes. Has anyone every really chewed on a piece of grass like that?

A bit stalker-ish...
I remember practicing telephone etiquette in class with one of these bulky things. We'd bought our house from a telephone company employee, who left Bell swag behind for my sister and me.
The "good old days" when no one worried about racism.
Or sexism.
When in doubt, go for a kitten!
Or a puppy!
Or...a pair of... sea lions. Whatever.


Songs My Father Taught Me

Well, not so much taught as burned into my skull.  He was forever launching into these hoary old ditties.

(Just in time for a musically themed Sepia Saturday!)



More Great-Aunts

This week I present a rather oblique tie-in with the current Sepia Saturday theme ... with a long-lost (to me, anyway) photo of two of my great-aunts "at table."

I was recently lucky enough to be sent some photos of my Nettie and Ida Singer, sisters of my maternal grandfather Art Singer.

Nettie was born in 1878, reportedly in Odessa, Russia. She immigrated to the U.S. with her siblings Annie and Sophie and mother Molly in 1887, to join her father Isaac Singer in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Back in Russia their surname had been Yarmolinski, or Jermelensky, a common Ukrainian name. From immigration records, I have reached the conclusion that the daughters' names before becoming Americanized were Scheine (Sophie), Chane (Nettie), and Tulke.

Ida was born in Saint Paul in 1981, followed by the only boy out of five to survive, Arthur, in 1894. After bearing twelve children (only seven of whom survived), Molly (originally named Taube, I believe) expired of appendicitis in 1903.

Nettie and sister Ida in the dining room, c. 1909, just prior to Ida's marriage

The Binders' 50th; Nettie passed away in 1950 at 72
Nettie married James Binder in 1895. 
Jim and Nettie Binder - look at that curl!

Nettie all gussied up - satin and velvet?

Nettie's granddaughter reminisces: "I remember [Nettie] telling me that she was about 8 years old when she came [to America], but she did not tell about her life in Russia and, unfortunately, we kids didn't ask. Back then, the future was important and the past more or less forgotten... She was a character, but in a good way: peppy, outgoing, smart, and ahead of her time. ...for a short time she delivered smoked fish to stores for [her brother-in-law]. Also, she loved to play bingo...

"In the summers... she and [her husband, Jim] stayed at their cottage at a lake about an hour away from St. Paul/Minneapolis... [She] would fish, have her friends at the lake for mahjong games, and entertain family and friends there most every week-end. She loved people and they loved her."
Nettie and sister Sophie at poker in that dining room, brother Art second from right, c.1919

Three sisters, 1930s - perhaps at the lake cabin.

"The view from Nettie's place"
Nettie seems to grown more staid in later years...
The elder Nettie Binder

Nettie and niece Edith Feinberg


Found verse recipe

Spotted in front of a house during a dusk walk through the Columbia City (Seattle) neighborhood.