Saturday, June 5, 2010
Sepia Saturday 6/5/10
Good morning & a happy Sepia Saturday to one & all.
In a continuation of my mother’s photo album, today I’m featuring my maternal grandmother, Inez Atkinson (née Putnam). Inez was the only one of my grandparents I ever knew—in fact, she lived with us since before I was born in 1956 until her death in the summer of 1967. I have strong memories of her, but I was a child—less than 11 years old when she died, & she was in a hospital for some time during the spring & summer of ’67. What do I recall?
Inez liked to walk; before the feebleness of old age really took its toll, she would walk along the highway that ran past our house. It was not so much traveled in those days; I actually remember when I was very young running to the window to see cars passing—interestingly enough, not unlike the road I currently lived on (& I believe the Saxtons River Rd also was unpaved when I was a toddler). She also loved to collect rocks—she kept part of her colelction in a wooden box in her bedroom. In fact, she would even patrol our unpaved driveway with her stout hickory cane in hand, looking for more specimens. I still have her Golden Nature Guide of Rocks & Minerals.
She liked to visit antique shops—there was one in Westminster Station that we often frequented—it was run by an older gentleman named Graham, & it had the most delightfully musty odor. I don’t know what she purchased—I actually think Mr Graham may have sold some rocks—but I know there were old postcards there & I was fascinated by them—another old postcard connection relating to my mom’s side of the family.
I remember too that she used to recite “Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross” while dandling me on her knee. On the other hand, she often seemed remote, & I seem to recall she had a temper. Of course, she was elderly when I knew her & for the last few years, in poor health that eventually degenerated into a form of senility that seemed quite frightening to a child.
What was Inez like as a young woman? I know very little about her younger life. I know she married a man much older than her; she was born in 1881, while my maternal grandfather, Joseph Atkinson was born in 1868. My mother doesn’t speak of her too much—I sense there was conflict, & that my grandmother may not have been “maternal” in a traditional way. I do know she spent all of her life in Massachusetts, except for the years she lived in Vermont toward the end of her life—& even then, she often spent summers in Quincy, Massachusetts with my Uncle Joe; this continued until she couldn’t travel.
She seems well put together in these photos, if a bit stern of aspect. Yet there’s a warm smile in the picture below with a young Vera to the left & her husband, Joseph to the right. Based on similarities to other pictures, that snapshot may have been taken in 1913—it was almost certainly taken before my mother was born in early 1916.
Inez was very Victorian in her morals—I believe my mother & Uncle Joe had quite a strict upbringing, & I know Inez was not altogether keen on my father—he was from a lower class, Irish in large part, & born Catholic—all strikes against him, I believe, in her book. Truth be told, he was also quite a hell-raiser in his youth, so perhaps some of Inez’ misgivings can be forgiven!
Hope you enjoyed the photos; I should note that I have a gig today, so I may be late in catching up on Sepia Saturday comrades. However, please be sure to check out other Sepia Saturday participants here.
Inez (L) & Joseph (R) with a stringer of fish; don’t know the man in the middle, nor did my mother
Vera, Inez, Joseph & ?, probably 1913