Saturday, May 29, 2010
Sepia Saturday 5/29/10
Happy Sepia Saturday, & happy holiday weekend both to blog comrades in the States & those in the UK. I’ve finally gotten to scanning some photos from the long-promised photo album of my mother’s, & by way of introducing these photos, I’d like to introduce you all to my Aunt Vera, my mother’s sister, tho considerably older, as is clear in the lead-off pic. My mother was born in February 1916, so that picture most obviously date from the ‘teens. The woman to the right, Inez, is my grandmother. There’s no information on who the two standing woman might be, but I’d hazard a guess that the one to the right might be myGreat-Aunt Arlene, of whom I wrote last week.
Vera is a legend—in my mind, at least, if in no one else’s. As is the case with the almost equally legendary Great-Aunt Arlene, I had very little personal contact with Vera—I recall her visiting us when I was young, & I most certainly recall the many postcards she sent to my sister & me, many of which I still have—there’s no doubt that my love of post cards came from my Aunt Vera’s correspondence.
My love of the westernn US may have come from her in a roundabout way, too—because those postcards came from the west—from Oregon, where she lived & from other places in the west (& Mexico) where she traveled. But as I understand it, Vera was an inveterate traveler—a restless spirit. She also sailed the Atlantic on a ship to Africa—the only woman on the crew (she served as a cook). Although I’ve never heard it said in so many words, I do believe she flounted convention, & I strongly suspect that her move to the west was an escape from the more constrained (topographically & otherwise) New England landscape. I’ve often wondered since I first experienced the west & felt its draw over 20 years ago, how Vera felt when she first encountered those large spaces.
Which brings me to another way that my Aunt Vera plays a large role in my psychic life. When she was entering her declining years in the early 1970s, she asked my mother to move west to Florence, Oregon where Vera lived to take care of her. While the move would have been in Vera’s interest, it also would have had some advantages, I think, for our family; but it wasn’t to be, & Vera passed away in 1977. It’s interesting—sometimes the things that don’t happen have as much impact as the things that do. That’s been the case several times throughout my life.
I really like the photo entitled “Vera-‘me’” & dated April 5, 1921. As a young woman, there’s an adventurous & assured air about Vera, just as I would have imagined; the winter photo of her with her mother Inez & my mom, Elizabeth, as an infant also speaks to that, I think, with the jaunty feather in her cap.
Hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know my Aunt Vera—& please check out other Sepia Saturday participants here.