Sepia Saturday – Six Shrinking Sisters

Sepia Saturday provides an opportunity for genealogy bloggers to share their family history through photographs.

Four pages of my Grandmother Abbie’s photo album are devoted to various configurations of family in photos taken on the same day. According to the back of one photo, the pictures were taken on Father’s Day (June 16), 1946 at First Baptist Church in Iowa City, Iowa.

This first picture is of my grandmother’s family of origin – 6 girls, 3 boys, and 2 parents.

Another picture was taken of just the six sisters, who have all lost their legs.

My grandmother seems to find this amusing.

Not so happy now that they have all nearly disappeared.

If another picture of the six sisters was taken that day, we might mistake it for a picture of the vine-covered church building.

Please visit other bloggers who participate in Sepia Saturday. It’s always interesting!

I’ve shared a bit about my grandmother, Abbie Elizabeth Webber, and her brother, Fred Myron Webber, previously. Feel free to click their tags and get to know them.


An Excuse, An English Lesson, and Memories Shared

It’s been a little quiet here recently.

One reason for the lack of posts is my volunteer job. I teach English as a Second (or Other) Language at my church twice a week. We have a fantastic lead teacher who prepares all the lessons, and all the rest of us have to do is show up and work through the lesson with a small group of students.

Well, our fantastic leader is on vacation and she left me in charge. She gave me some lessons from a couple years ago (she’s recycling) that I could use – but they “need some work,” she said. I knew that any changes I made would not improve her lessons, so I decided to write my own instead.

I am not a trained teacher – I just stumbled my way into this. Preparing a lesson takes me a lot of time. So I’ve been writing lessons rather than blog posts.

I think I’ve found a way to recycle a blog post into an English lesson and then recycle that lesson into a blog post. Lazy?  Or brilliant?

The Spit-Up Chair

If you are a regular reader here, you know that I have a few posts that I refer to as “Chair Memories.” I decided to use my cousin’s poem, “The Gold Recliner” as the starting point for yesterday’s ESL lesson. Then I took an excerpt from my memory of “The Spit-Up Chair” to expand on the idea of an object that evokes a memory.

I was concerned that the sadness of the poem could be upsetting to some of our students who have suffered losses. A few of our students are refugees from war-torn countries. Others have grieved the loss of loved ones, as we all do. And I didn’t want the morning to be depressing, so I tried to “soften” things a bit by adding discussion questions about memories elicited by music, or a smell – and whether or not one has a good or bad memory…. that kind of thing.

The last part of the lesson asked the students to write about an object that holds memories for them and to share the story with their group.

I am sorry to report that I made Mrs. Li cry.

As Mrs. Li, an older woman from China, told us about the china tea cup (a real Chinese china tea cup) given to her by her younger brother who has since died, tears began to roll down her cheeks. I wasn’t sure if she could finish, but she did.

A woman from Mexico, here in town to visit her grandson, told us that her grandson reminds her of her son when he was a baby and that her wedding ring brings back many happy memories surrounding her wedding.

A young woman from Korea read her story of a pair of white athletic shoes – a gift from her boyfriend (now husband)… how the left shoe was too tight but then stretched to fit perfectly; how she would not wear the shoes in the rain or on unpaved surfaces; how she met her fitness goals in these shoes; and how she lost the left shoe. No longer in possession of the left shoe, she threw the right shoe away.

I think I saw tears begin to well in her eyes as she talked about a pair of athletic shoes.

A woman from Russia related memories of her first days in school and the kindness of her teacher.

A man from Mexico told us about his first watch – a gift for his 8th birthday. He was so proud of his watch with the Roman numerals on the clock face that he was constantly reporting the time to anyone within earshot. Eventually the watch needed a new wristband – and his mother accidentally lost the watch.

A young man from Spain told us about summers spent at his grandmother’s house in a small village and the good times he had there.

A young mother from Japan told us about a trip she took to Cambodia with her American friend (he was just her friend!). They visited the Killing Fields. They volunteered at a school where they taught a little Japanese and English to the children. To thank them, some children reached up and picked leaves from a coconut tree and formed them into two rings, then placed the rings on the ring finger of her left hand and her friend’s left hand. It was then that they knew they were to be more than friends. Now they are married with one child and another on the way.

An older man from Vietnam arrived very late to class. The other students were already writing so I gave him a quick summary of what he had missed and what the students were doing. He sat and thought while the others wrote. After the students had shared their stories, I asked if he wanted to share a memory. “No. I try to forget. Not good for me to remember. Like her (nodding to Mrs. Li), I would cry,” he said.

Photo Credit: Coconut Flower by Mohammad Mahdi Karim/Wikipedia/Creative Commons Licence


Sepia Saturday – Making the Cut

Sepia Saturday provides an opportunity for genealogy bloggers to share their family history through photographs.

Today’s Sepia Saturday prompt suggests that we consider the man on the right side of the photograph whose head has been cut off.

I have a few family photos like that.

Seems that people in my family don’t always have the best aim.

Or is something else at work here?

Take this picture, for example…

A great shot of my Aunt Wilma (the baby). Clearly whomever took the picture couldn’t help but focus on those gloriously chubby little baby legs.

Thankfully, Grandma identified everyone on the back of the picture, so I know that the body on the left belongs to my mom and the white shirt and tie is Uncle Al. That’s Uncle Roy on the right. He was just short enough to make it into the picture of Wilma.

Here’s a full-size Aunt Wilma front and center again on Christmas morning ….

And Mom (on the right), has her head this time because now she and Aunt Wilma are about the same height.

Me, on the other hand – just a faceless head.

Aunt Wilma seems to find it funny that she is the center of every picture.

Uncle Roy is laughing it up as well. He knows what’s going on. Sitting beside Wilma, he’s made it into another picture.

To see what other’s have done with today’s decapitated man, “head” over to the Sepia Saturday blog.