Sepia Saturday – Pictured Above

Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs.

The Sepia Saturday theme image this week features a group of seven men who look rather comfortable on what I view as a terrifyingly high and precarious perch in Yosemite National Park in California. I would never ever ever ever do this. Also I wonder where the photographer was. In another high and precarious place?

The image reminded me of a couple of family photos. Up first is my (maternal) grandfather, Tom Hoskins on the left, my grandmother Eveline Coates on the right, and Eveline’s sister Blanche at the bottom of the triangle. They are sitting on a railroad trestle that looks to be a little high off the ground – maybe 12 feet or so? Since my grandmother wrote her name on the back using her maiden name, I’ll assume it was taken before their marriage in 1923. They all lived in the small coal mining community of Mystic, Iowa.

Like the prompt image, this photo appears to be taken from a location at about the same height as the people pictured. Where might the photographer have been?

Here’s a closer look. I think the sisters are wearing matching dresses. Would they have gone on a double date in matching dresses? Or was this taken on the day of some special occasion? My grandmother looks a little stiff up there. Maybe this wasn’t her idea of a good time. Her future husband has his hand on her knee – perhaps to reassure her?

I’m a bit baffled that they are sitting on a dirty railroad trestle in their fancy dresses.

This second image is my grandfather on the left and his friend Miles Bankson. They look like they are dressed in their Sunday best again. This perch doesn’t exactly look like a railroad trestle, although it seems there might be a track behind them. My first thought is that this was taken at one of the coal mines.

Everyone pictured here became family. Sisters Eveline and Blanche married Tom and Miles.

I spent a couple of hours trying to figure out where these were taken with not much success. I’ll leave that to another day.

Sepia Saturday bloggers will surely take you to great heights today. Pay them a visit!

11 thoughts on “Sepia Saturday – Pictured Above

  1. Two intriguing images. I must admit I had never considered where the photographer might be perched in the prompt photograph, so,thank you for the thought.

    • After I wrote this, I wondered where the photographer was who took the photo of the three on the railroad trestle because it also seems to be from the same height. Now I’ll be looking for a railroad trestle across from a hill …

  2. That is definitely a camera pose that could only be dreamed up by a guy. No sensible women, especially two dressed in white dresses and stockings, would think, “Let’s walk out along the rail tracks and sit on that trestle!” Your grandfather must have had some other merits to win your grandmother. Their dresses look like something worn for a graduation, which would also be a reason to record some kind of stunt.

    • I agree, Mike. Perhaps it was someone’s graduation. Eveline was two years older than Blanche so they did not graduate the same year, but they may have had matching dresses. Tom only completed 8th grade.

  3. Goodness sakes alive! Poor ladies in their pretty dresses! So glad they kept the photos, and I do remember that we didn’t go out for picnics in jeans or shorts back then…so wherever/whatever they were up to, the clothes were to impress each other, not to deal with the environment, or be particularly comfortable. And that’s just my generation…your grandmother’s was a few before me!

    • Now I’m wondering if their mother made their dresses. Eveline was a very good seamstress, so I’d venture a guess she learned from her mother. My mom would show her mother, Eveline, a dress in a store and then she would make a similar dress for her.

  4. i like Mike’s assessment of the situation. And I enjoyed your remarks about what they may have been thinking.

  5. In any event – I MIGHT sit where your grandmother is sitting on the trestle itself. That doesn’t look TOO bad. But the sister who had to inch out on the support – I don’t think so! Twelve or so feet off the ground isn’t quite as bad as being 3000+ feet above ground, but it’s still high enough to break something if you were to fall off! And yes, in those frilly white dresses? I can’t imagine that was the sisters’ idea!

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