Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sepia Saturday 5/1/10

Good day, all, & a happy Sepia Saturday & May Day to you! I’m a bit late this morning, as life has been hectic over the past few days—which has also meant that I’ve fallen behind on blog visits. I’ll endeavor to rectify this over the weekend.

Up to now, both as a Sepia Saturday participant & as part of my own series prior to that, I’ve concentrated on my father’s old photos. He was an avid amateur photographer & I have quite a few of his photographs. However, on my recent trip to the east, my mother gave me one of her old photo albums—in fact, the photos in that album date from the late teens & early 20s. I’ll start with the photos from that book next week, but by way of introduction today, I’m posting a photograph of my maternal grandfather, Joseph Atkinson.

Joseph Atkinson was Canadian by birth—he was born in New Brunswick in 1868; his wife, my grandmother, née Inez Putnam, was considerably younger than him, as she was born in Taunton, Massachusetts in 1881. Joseph Atkinson didn’t play a role in either my life or my sister’s life, as he died of a stroke in 1946, two years before my sister was born & 10 years before my birth.

My mother has always spoken of her father in quite glowing terms, tho her stories about him do—in my opinion—portray him as stern to a fault. Joseph Atkinson was Scottish in heritage, tho I don’t know when his family emigrated to Canada. Joseph became a ship’s captain, & as a young man moved to the Washington, D.C. area. He would have been 48 years old when my mother was born in 1916.

I do know that Joseph liked to fish—as one would assume from this photo!—in that, interestingly enough, he was very much like my father; he also, as we can see, smoked a pipe—another habit he shared with my dad. Joseph also played the banjo! Sadly, the only story I know about his banjo playing is that my uncle, Joe Jr. broke the head on the banjo while playing as a small child. For some reason, Joseph never had the banjo head replaced—an odd fact, since that’s usually a relatively minor procedure.

Hope you enjoy the photo & the introduction to Joseph Atkinson, & be sure to check out other Sepia Saturday participants at this link.


  1. Well, you know I love this picture. Not only because it's one of those proud fish pictures, but because of all the lovely details. Everything looks so neat and orderly. Hmm...a virgo, perhaps? I like how one of his trousers legs is turned up just a pinch more than the other. What a treasure.

  2. Excellent photo, John! He looks quite a character. (If you want me to look him up on, let me know (I have a membership at the moment).


    (Hope all is well with both of you.)

  3. I can dig the wicker chair with cushions. That is one great photo. He has the perfect place to make a camp fire cup of tea or coffee and he is going fishing. Great photo to enjoy.

  4. Wow...what a wonderful much to look at! Love that he's fishing in his tie and good pants...but typical for that day. I'll take that wicker chair...and the old coffee pot. :) And he caught a nice sized fish!

  5. This really is a great picture, John. Joseph is very well turned out, and looks every bit the proud angler. I wonder if he cooked that fish a little later on.

  6. I think it's wonderful that you have such a record of your family. The photos are really intriguing so much visual info.

  7. Your grandfather had himself quite a fish camp, didn't he? I must say, though, that if I had to provide a caption for the photo, it would be something like "FOUR HOURS standing in ice water, and all I've got to show for it is one stinkin' fish!" Did you describe him as dour? No, stern. Maybe it's all to do with the times. My maternal grandmother wore a similar expression. I do love looking at old photos - thanks, John.

  8. Hi John

    some of the things that caught my eye in this photo have been mentioned:
    the cuff rolled higher than the other - and I'm a virgo too!
    the coffee pot on the fire
    the comfortable wicker chair replete with cushions...

    oh that he is wearing his tie to go fishing...

    it seems as if fishing was taken very seriously and required some of the accoutrements of a presentable and comfort driven everyday life...

    Happy days

  9. This looks like a Norman Rockwell portrait; the pipe, the mismatched cuffs, the tie, the hooked fish, the awaiting coffee ... and most especially the expression on Joseph's face. Wonderful.

  10. Hi everybody: I'm working my way thru the Sepia Saturday posts, so if I haven't made it to your blog yet, I definitely will be before the weekend's out!

    Willow: I asked my mom about his birthday--sadly, she can't remember. As a Virgo myself, I wonder--not sure I'd have the uneven pant legs!

    Kat: Thanks--yes, I'd be curious if you had the time--he grew up in Sackville, NB until he was 16 & had two brothers & two sisters, tho one brother died quite young--in his teens I think. Really hope you're doing well--how's the book?

    LD: I agree--I do think this photo has a lot going for it. Thanks!

    Betsy: Thanks! A bass, I believe. Yes, men did a lot of things in ties that no one would even imagine doing nowadays!

    Martin: I bet he did! Thanks.

    Bob: Thanks for stopping by & appreciating them!

    Sandra: Yes, from what little I know, I think dour & stern. There is something about his expression--impatient perhaps? Thanks!

    Delwyn: Those are great details, I agree. Yes, he was a serious fisherman, tho I think my dad, who was basically obsessed with fishing, might have out done him in that regard. Thanks for stopping by!

    Nana Jo: It sure is evocative of another time, isn't it? Thanks!

  11. I bet you felt a powerful sense of anticipation when you were given that photographic album and it is a feeling that I - and I am sure all other sepia Saturday regulars - share. We now have a kind of joint ownership of such things, in a way your family has become our family, which is rather nice.

  12. Hi Alan: Thanks very much--I do agree that one begins to feel a part of the diverse Sepia Saturday families--a very wonderful thing indeed.

  13. Wonderful photo. Wonderful history. It is amazing that these persons touched our lives and we can revisit them through digging up old photos. I have a bunch of my husband's mother's family. My husband adoes not know all the history but the photos say a lot.

  14. Hi Neetzy: Thanks for stopping by RFBanjo! The old photos do provide a connection, & I agree they tell stories!

  15. This is such an interesting photograph. He's so serious - not a hint of a smile - and yet he's holding a prize fish. Also interesting to me is the wicker chair in the background. It makes me wonder if he'd set up "camp" near a house or if he carted the chair in a truck or on top of a car. And wouldn't you like to know who took the photo? Was he there with his wife, a buddy, a son?

  16. Hi Nancy: & thanks for stopping by! Yes, I think those are some good questions about the photo--& one reason it's a good photo is that it does raise questions. Glad you liked it, & thanks for visiting.


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