Saturday, April 10, 2010
Sepia Saturday 4/10/10
If it’s Saturday, it must be Sepia, right? & as I mentioned in last week’s post—when I failed to read the directions & sort of hosted a Sepia Saturday of one—my mother gave me three more family photo albums during my recent trip east, so I’m well stocked on old photos for some time.
I also wrote a bit about my dad’s time in the Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC, during the Depression & New Deal years—dad was a lifelong Democrat & Roosevelt admirer, proving that contrary to contemporary wisdom, it is possible to be a blue collar worker, veteran & outdoor sportsman & still hold some very liberal opinions.
But then, dad was a complicated & private man—he had the clearsightedness to see how capitalism stacks the deck against the worker, yet he also held some very benighted opinions, particularly when it came to racial issues & women’s issues. & there’s much about him I don’t know—even my mother only has a limited knowledge of his childhood, which was spent in an impoverished & apparently quite dysfunctional family. Then, too, there were glimpses that we only just caught—I recall once during his last years how he told Eberle & me that he’d really wanted to be a stone mason. Somehow that had surprised me, because he’d always worked with wood & tinkered with machines—his passion for stone had never been on the surface.
However, I was able to get a bit more understanding of this from the photo album that has pictures from his CCC days. His CCC unit’s task was to build a stone house at the Vermont State Park in Townsend—that’s the building in the tinted photograph; my dad wrote February 1935 on the back as a point of reference. During construction, however, the CCC crew lived in a tent village—see the bottom photo.
I wonder if those were happy times for my dad—he looks quite sprightly in a number of photos from that album, & he looks quietly happy in the photo leading off this post, where he kneels with hammer & cold chisel. He met my mother during his days at Townsend—she & her mother came there for an outing, tho apparently my grandmother didn’t necessarily approve of this Irish catholic worker paying attention to her daughter!
The photos fill in some of the story—but there are gaps that can’t be filled in now. What do we know of another?—the stream of another consciousness, the moment by moment feelings, the aspirations, the disappointments…. We can know “facts,” but in a twist on an old saw, “facts are not feelings.” Still, these old photos are a window at least to look thru & meditate upon.
For more Sepia Saturday participants, please check out this link!