Ray and ?

These two great vintage photos show Ray Gibbons and a younger friend, unknown. At first I didn’t think this was Ray, because my mother in law didn’t point him out. She said she didn’t know who was in the photo. But, comparing the older fellow of the two to the bakery photo in the last post, I realized that it was Ray. He is so young!

The photos were taken…somewhere. Although the buildings in the background have business names on them, when I enlarge them, they are unreadable. There is a clock, and The Something Something. I know that Gibbons Bakery was in Mount Clemens, and it is possible this was taken there as well, as Ray seems to be about the same age as the last picture. The building looks like a school or a bank to me.

I don’t know a thing about cars except to say they are old.

On the single photo, although it looks like the boy is wearing some sort of pin, it’s actually damage to the photo paper. In the photo of the two of them, it looks like the younger boy is holding an apple? a baseball? and someone off camera is handing Ray something. Impossible to know now what it was. They seem to be laughing and having a good time. After school joking around, maybe?


Girls, girls, girls


Eight early Girl Scouts pause for lunch in front of a Model T Ford.

The Model T was available between 1908-1927 in relatively the same shape and fashion though the entire run. There were slight variations to the hood shape as the car was redesigned every few years, but the name Model T remained unchanged. Ford did not have a concept of model years or versions, so they are all called the Model T, whether the car is from the beginning or the end of the run. Interesting. In early years, you could order your car in green, blue, red or gray. By 1914 however, all cars were black because black paint was cheaper than the other colors. This model looks like it might be from the 1920s, which dovetails nicely with the Girl Scouts’ clothing.

Girl Scouts were founded in America in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low. She was a pioneer for her time, in that she enjoyed not only domestic life, but also outdoor activities and believed that girls should have confidence and life skills, play sports and go camping. I found a photograph in the Girl Scout Collectors Guide, 2nd Edition, showing a girl wearing a virtually identical uniform to these girls. That photo was dated 1920. The blouse was white, the skirt probably khaki or dark blue, the tie was worn under the wide collar, and the hat was floppy. The girl second from the right most closely matches the girl I found in the book. I also found reference to the bloomer type shorts these girls were wearing, and they were to only be worn in private or at a camp out, suggesting these girls were on their way to or from an outing.

I’ll be regaling you with vintage photos and scans of vintage Girl Scout calendars in the coming month. My Brownie troop is hosting a fashion show of vintage uniforms covering 93 years of Girl Scout fashion, all leading up to Juliette Low’s birthday on October 31st. I hope you will check back and enjoy the wonderful images I have been procuring!

An amazing contraption!

This week, Sepians were asked to look for mechanical contraptions. I wasn’t able to get out to a shop, so I perused my photo collection for something that would fit. Just recently, I posted a Sepia Saturday post that would fit the current prompt perfectly. It had a clay processing station and two pony traps; but since I don’t really want to recycle a post like that, I’ve come up with a more modern amazing contraption.

1971 Puma Tent Trailer

1971 Puma Tent Trailer – Vivitar 110 camera

Americans have long had a love affair with the “inexpensive” vacation, camping. The camping, fishing, hiking, and hunting industry has not only grown through the years but thrived with a wide variety of gizmos and gadgets to facilitate the perfect camping weekend. Up until recently, it wasn’t uncommon for families to own or rent tent trailers – a combination of a tent and a travel caravan that had the best of both worlds. This was our tent trailer and it saw thousands of miles of American roadways over its 20+ year lifespan. The tent trailer when closed looked like a oblong box on wheels, but when raised, the canvas sides would expand, the beds would be pushed out (the bit protruding behind the trio there), and it included a propane stove, water pump sink, and flushing portable toilet! This was the height of camping luxury in 1971 when it joined our family.

Jan 14, 1971 Inside of new Puma trailer bought Jan 13, 1971

Jan 14, 1971 Inside of new Puma trailer bought Jan 13, 1971 – Polaroid Print

camping 2

The dining area of our trailer – Kodak print

Each of the “bedrooms” had curtains that could be closed for privacy, as well as zippered windows to allow in fresh air. The plates you see on the table there we had until about 8 years ago when I gave the camping boxes to a friend. There were four plates, bowls, cups and saucers – red, green, yellow and blue. It got to the point that we each (i.e. my sister and I) had to have our “own” plate. We each had a drawer for our stuff and a space for our suitcase. The icebox took a huge block of ice, Dad had various barbecue implements to cook outside and Mom could whip up just about any sort of meal on the inside stove.

The lemon

The lemon- Little Deschutes River area, Oregon

To pull the tent trailer, we originally had a blue Ford station wagon – the type with the faux wood siding. The above car was the second station wagon and my mother hated it. It was a lemon in more than color, but I remember this was ordered off the line, special to our needs. It had power locks! The station wagon, once delivered to our home, was then taken to a local mechanic where it was wired specially to feed power to the trailer so the breaks would work, and also the frame was reinforced for hauling. In the early days, the trailer was pulled out by my parents from its storage area beside the house and then hooked up to the car. Pretty fast my Dad bought a special two wheeled pulling device which was crank & chain driven, although I don’t recall exactly what it was called. This allowed him to more easily maneuver the trailer around the corner of the house and down to the car. Having a trailer inspired a variety of special equipment purchases, including a special sewing kit to repair torn canvas, special jacks, mirrors for the car, and tools to fix or repair whatever we could while on the road. Also, a chain saw.


Cutting firewood, Oregon – Kodak print, Brownie camera?

camping 3

Watching Dad cut firewood – Vivitar 110 shot of the same event


And a minibike. A Honda, as a matter of fact. My mother hated this one.

Hold on tight!

Hold on tight!

We bought the tent trailer when I was 3 years old, and my parents sold it when I was around 25 or so. After so many years, wood rot had taken hold and the sides of the trailer were just falling apart. They had replaced the uprights that raised and lowered the roof, and upon cranking it up, one of the uprights punched through the floor! It was sold to a scrap hauler who intended to strip it down to  the steel frame and repurpose it.

There is so much more I could say about this amazing contraption, our Puma tent trailer, but I will perhaps save that for another day. For more amazing contraptions, click over to Sepia Saturday. You will be happy you did!

And away we go!

Beasts of burden

Sometimes I think if it wasn’t for Sepia Saturday I would never acquire more old photos. Then I realize that’s just plain crazy talk, but that’s beside the point. One thing I like about Sepia Saturday is it makes me consider what the prompt images mean, or how they inspire me. This week’s prompt image shows a couple gypsy caravan type wagons, advertising birds, beasts and reptiles! After a good long search through the bin at my antique shop source, I have beasts and birds, even a fish image, but no reptiles. Enjoy.

Big Horn Sheep, Banff, Canada

Big Horn Sheep, Banff, Canada

This is a nice real photo postcard, probably part of a set showing wildlife of Canada. Note the number 42 in the lower right corner.

Climb aboard, kiddies

Climb aboard, kiddies

Here’s a snapshot on really flimsy paper showing three small children on a horse being held by a woman. They are quite obviously in a barnyard or stable yard. The roof of a building is hidden in the trees behind the children.

Beasts 3

Checking on the herd

Beasts 4

Bountiful Bossy

Here are two images of a woman and cattle. In the upper image there is a small child just behind her left shoulder out in the field with her. You can see a barbed wire fence and then a stone fence in the distance. The lower image shows a woman holding her bucket of milk from her cow. The photo was taken in a dooryard, it seems. You can see the house in the background.

Beasts 5

Stereoscopic image, Ruins of Cana in Gallilee

Beasts 6

Stereoscopic image, California Partirdges

Beasts 7

Stereoscopic image, #497 A fine string of black bass

Beasts 8

Stereoscopic image, #777 Group of Quails, Kilburn Brothers, Littleton, New Hampshire


And, last but not least….

Beasts 1


Some people call these travel trailers a caravan. :-)

For more interesting images from around the world, click over to Sepia Saturday. You will be happy you did.

Join the wagon train

Just what’s going on here?

industry 4

A ship at canal side?

This week’s Sepia Saturday gives us to wonder about what is happening in the whole photo, not just the couple in a piece of the image. I am reminded of the photographic battle between my Grammie and Grandpa Jim. Jim liked pictures of scenery, Grammie liked pictures of people. So, Jim would take a picture of say, the Grand Canyon, and down in the corner or off to the side would be a tiny little person.

Today I am featuring a few pictures in my collection that have me wondering, just what is going on here? Feel free to add your thoughts as well. The only one I’m really certain of is the ship above. It’s at the side of a canal. BUT what it’s doing there is the mystery. Was it taking on cargo? Delivering supplies? Refueling?

industry 9

Not exactly a thrill ride!

And this one, you would never EVER catch me on that cable car! I think this could be one of those rigs set up to start building a bridge over a river. Or, it could BE the bridge over the river.

UPDATE: Thanks to site reader Mike Brubaker, I got to looking at vintage photos of the Spanish Aero Car ride which traverses the Niagra River below the falls. The photo above is virtually identical to some others found online, and click here for the wiki entry.

Plenty of supervisors

Plenty of supervisors

This one here has several things going on. There’s a bridge over a canal or ditch, a fellow down in the ditch, and several fellows up above on the bridge “supervising” the operations. I can’t tell what kind of work is going on though.

To wander through the internet and wonder what is going on in some other photos, click over to Sepia Saturday.

Expand your view

Boats, Bridges over Water, People

One of the exciting aspects of the Rudd photographs I acquired recently is a large selection of postcards. The family traveled and wrote postcards to send back to various individuals in Oklahoma. To meet the Sepia Saturday prompt, which shows a footbridge crossing a small body of water, a canoe on the water and some people, I am drawing on a few of these postcards.

Postcard 2

On a Wednesday in 1955, H & I sent this postcard to R. L. Fields. H & I had stayed in Galveston for a day and planned to stay one more day before moving on to Houston, then Dallas before heading home. They enjoyed a boat ride on the Gulf.

Postcard 4

Sunday at 12:30, Louise wrote to Minnie. She had stayed with Grace’s uncle the night before after driving 480 miles. It was just a stop on their trip to Yellowstone, via Royal Gorge and Salt Lake City. This image is of the Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge in Canon City, CO. You might remember Minnie was the owner of one of the previously posted photographs, showing her and her grandparents.


Dorothy & Otho have a sense of humor. In November ’55, they wrote to Mable Stong that “after an early morning boat ride along here we have decided we won’t need to borrow your tooth brush” — whatever that meant.

Postcard 1

Last and certainly not least, Helen wrote to Mrs. Floyd Rudd in July ’69. Santa Fe, NM and the surrounding areas are amazingly beautiful, as Helen says, “any direction we look.” They were having a good time and hoping for rain at home.

For more photos and postcards possibly showing a bridge, water, people, and possibly even all in the same image, click over to Sepia Saturday!

Bridging the internet

Bridging the internet


Sometimes when I look at old photos I am struck at just how average some people look. They have faces that span the years, like some of the recent doppelgängers I have posted, or someone from the 19th century looks like they might just walk out of the local shopping mall. Faces tell the story of our emotions, our deep secrets, and our lives, and are truly extraordinary, each in its own way. No two faces are alike. Even identical twins have some dissimilarities in their faces, that although difficult for the untrained eye to perceive, are there none the less.

I particularly like this group of old photos because the people are very average, almost unextraordinary in their ordinariness. And yet, you see a father proudly sitting with his children and the family dog, a soldier ready to risk his life for his country, young women feeling flirty and free. Were they simply attempting to blend into this amazing ecosphere called American life? Or, is it that these faces reflect our own lives, our toils and worries, our triumphs and victories?

It cannot be overlooked that a photo of an Asian soldier presumably in the US – in California, even – during the war era must be uncommon (considering I can go into several antique shops on any given day and find numerous and plentiful snapshots of white soldiers from the same era). Was this man Japanese and enlisted in one of the segregated Japanese-American units?

Was this the new family car? Getting ready to go out for some fun? I love how the little girl is sort of slouchy in what looks like an attempt to imitate her elder, and yet comes off as looking as though she needed some more practice.

As you look into these faces, what do you see?

When you are finished with your contemplations here, click over to Sepia Saturday to find more of the ordinary and extraordinary faces from around the world.

Click, with great haste!

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