Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Poking Around In History Again

Sometimes the most interesting part of an old photograph is what's written on the back. This one, for example is a "carte de visite," a photograph of a young woman circa American Civil War, I would guess, by the style of her clothes. It was made by the "G. W. Minnis Photographic Gallery, 9th and Main Street, Richmond, Virginia.

I found it at the big monthly flea market at the Metrolina Fair Grounds in Charlotte a number of years ago. I'm not going to show you the actual photograph because of what is written on the back in a spidery feminine hand:

"This is an indifferent picture but I send it as it is the best I have. Don't show it to strangers."

I don't know why she didn't want people to see it. She's no great beauty to be sure, and she could use a good shampooing -- but she wouldn't, as we say here in the South "draw warts on a washtub." Of course, being my inquisitive self, I do wonder about it, and I wonder who she sent the photograph to -- a beau? a brother? a sister? a friend? Who kept it safe all this time?

This next one you will probably be able to read yourself without a transcription, but I'll tell you what it says anyway:

"Grounds for divorse (sic). If you look closely you can see them hugging each other."

Well, no, you can't. I thought at first that whoever had written this was just kidding around -- because if they weren't, I fear they had a pathologically suspicious nature.

I'm not going to show you this photograph, either, because the people in it might be recognized. I'm going to tell you about it instead.

The picture is of a man and woman, neither of whom is particularly attractive. He looks older-- I would say late 40s, early 50s. They are standing in a yard in front of a bush. Both of them are looking directly into the camera. He has on a suit with pinstriped trousers and a dark jacket -- it reminds me of the Monopoly board game for some reason. She has on a suit, too. The skirt is narrow and falls well below the knee -- which makes me think circa 1930s -- and it looks like it might be tweed. She is smiling; he just looks...I was going to say "pleased," but that's too strong a word. "Pleasant" is a better word. He looks pleasant -- like someone who would be easy to get along with. And, yes, they are arm-in-arm. But hugging? No. His hand is resting just above her elbow and not on her torso at all where the touch would be much more intimate. And he's not squeezing her. She's just standing there. I can't see where her hand is, but I don't think it's up to any mischief. If anything, these two people look father-daughter or niece-uncle.

The bigger question for me is who wrote on the back of the picture, her husband? his wife?

And boy, do I wonder what happened next...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Our "Martha Stewart"

Her name was Betty Feezor. She figured prominently in my childhood because almost every woman I knew watched the nearly 6000 episodes of The Betty Feezor Show and because she came on right before AS THE WORLD TURNS -- which made her hour seem very, very, very long to a non-homemaker, soap opera junkie such as my Then Young Self.

Like Martha, she cooked, she sewed, she "crafted." She knew EVERYTHING about homemaking -- even I recognized that. I never saw her bake her own potting soil in the oven the way Martha once did, but still.

So the dh bought me a copy of one of Betty's cookbooks at a flea market the other day, hence my "harking back" to a much simpler time, hence this post. (I think I've said that I like to read cookbooks. Actually cooking from one of them, not so much.)

I just thought I'd tell you about her because she was an "ideal," an accomplished Southern lady of great faith in the truest sense, one who "walked the walk" and left the world a better place. She died of cancer in 1978.

You can see a video of one of her shows on YouTube (very few survive regardless of her large body of work) by clicking on The Betty Feezor Show link above.

And here's one of the recipes from her cookbook:


1 package cake mix, any flavor

1 egg

2 tablespoons water

Mix with a fork and with the hands because it's a very stiff dough. Place small balls of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Temperature: 375 degrees, 8 minutes.

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

Rolled Cookies are made the same with 3 tablespoons water instead of 2.

For variation add any of the following:

Peanut butter, Nuts, Coconut, Dates

That's it for this time...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

RWA's RITA Award Finalists

This is the RITA, presented by the Romance Writers of America every year to the industry's best. And this is a link to a list of 2010 finalists if you'd like to see the books and the authors who made the cut. The award ceremony is in late July.

Good luck to you all.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Flag Day, The Super Citizen (WYS is NOT WYG), and More Movie Stars

It's Flag Day, and I put the flag out this morning. It's a nice morning in that it's breezy, albeit off and on. It's hot, though. We'll be in the mid to upper 90s by afternoon.

This next photo is of my lovely granddaughter (aka, "My Ballerina") dashing up the steps to get an award for being a Good Citizen in the first grade. Or it was when I snapped it. There she was in the viewfinder; I clicked, and...nothing, except the piano and a portrait of a long ago lady educator whose name I do not know. And a stepladder. One of these days I have GOT to get the hang of this delayed shutter thing. Or I have to get a different camera. (sigh)

The dh discovered two more if his late sister's movie star photo collection. These are 8x10s and she didn't keep them with the rest of the mostly postcard-sized ones.

This particular one is personally autographed to her, but I can't read the signature. I don't recognize his face, so he's another unknown celebrity photo at our house.

The second one is of Lon McCallister. Him, I do recognize. I remember seeing him in a Technicolor movie about a farm or horses -- "Back Home in Indiana," I think. And I believe he was in "Stage Door Canteen." He died in 2005, and according to his obit, he was a very nice man. "Googling" him for "images," I didn't see this particular pose anywhere on the web.

The signature says: "Your friend, Lon McCallister."

That's it for this time...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Strange Rain

We had a thunderstorm the other evening which caused the sky to be a most unusual color. It was raining hard at the time I took these photographs.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

June 6th

In light of today's date, I thought I'd show you this photograph. It was taken in December, 1944, circa the "Battle of the Bulge" six months or so after the June 6th D-Day invasion.

My late father, who was by then a cannoneer in the 963rd Field Artillery (he started out as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne but was transferred into a field artillery unit after breaking several bones in an unfortunate encounter with a tall tree) is on the right. He was twenty years old at the time the photo was taken. The soldier in the middle, I believe, was a Texan named Stewart.

My father's elbow is resting on a machine gun he salvaged from a downed fighter plane. It and the commandeered metal pipe the gun is sitting on were used to provide more precise firepower against being strafed during "A" Battery's push into Germany. Apparently, adding "machine gunner" to his military resume was all self-taught, "on the job training."