Guitar and Fiddle

Two unknown / unnamed fellows jam on a guitar and a fiddle. The recess behind the fiddle player has quite a bit going on.  There’s a lantern advertising JAX beer, as well as the letters JAX spelled out in an arch. His hat is resting over his left shoulder. There are several plugs in an outlet over his right shoulder. The placard above all that says “No set in on ??? unless requested.”

The young man on the guitar is playing a chord that I can’t identify. Behind him, the guitar case leans against a jukebox(?). And note the microphone in front of him. The table is beat up, there are beer signs around, and in front of the fiddle player is a bottle of JAX beer. They must be in a bar! I’m taking a stab at this being a bar in Florida.

JAX Beer was made between 1913-1956 in Jacksonville, FL. There are some interesting tidbits about the brewery, including them being the last brewery in the US to stop producing beer during Prohibition, and they are credited as the first brewery to sell beer in a six pack. Not like what we picture, the bottles were packaged in burlap bags. The brewery went the way of the Edsel in the mid-fifties, leaving behind only its building and memories, and this little snapshot.

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A trip to Disneyland

From August 1962 or thereabouts we have two photos from Disneyland. The park at this time was only 7 years old and look how wide open the pathways are! For anyone who has been to Disneyland in the past 30 years, this is virtually unreal. This is back when you could wear a dress and heeled sandals to Disneyland and not be concerned about having your toes stomped on by the crowd or rolled over by a stroller. The attractions pictured are the Columbia Sailing Ship and the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride.

The people featured in these photos are Eleanor Conradson (my grandmother-in-law) and her boyfriend at the time, and his son. No one can remember her boyfriend’s name, unfortunately. My mother-in-law told me there was some story about his family, but she couldn’t remember the exact details. Either he or a daughter were murdered in some sort of robbery! The people who knew their names are long gone from my life, so I have no way of learning more.

At this point in the game, Disneyland was in the shape that most of us are familiar with, as you can see in the images below I found online. Click the images to open and enlarge.

1962 Map of Disneyland

Early 1962 aerial view of Disneyland

1965 aerial view of Disneyland

You will see the “Rivers of America” in the top left of the drawn map. It clearly was in place by August 1962 for the Columbia to be operating on it at the time of the snapshot above, but interestingly in the early ’62 photo, the Rivers are dry and unfinished.

It is very interesting as a local native who has watched a lot of the county be developed to have evidence of just how open Orange County, CA was when Disneyland opened. Compared with how it is now, this is like another country. All of the open spaces on the aerial photos have been completely developed with homes, businesses, apartments, freeways, and much more. The one big hotel shown – the Disneyland Hotel – is surpassed by massive hotels on every side of the park. It really is a tourist mecca.

 

Youth Orchestra

This photo came from a huge batch of family photographs we received when my mother-in-law closed up her home. We sat together looking at all these many photos (literally hundreds!) and tried to identify something or someone in each one. The process was important to the identification of the photos, but also such a wonderful time between us. Although she is gone from us now, I treasure the times we sat together. She would reminisce about these photos, her late husband, her family, and growing up in Detroit in the 30’s and 40’s.

This particular photo shows a youth orchestra or band, including an accordion, wood winds, and brass. I am guessing the boys with white straps to the right of frame were the drummers and the straps were designed to hold the drums while they marched or played. The band director must be the portly person on the far right. I enlarged this photo to look at the faces, but realized that the monument behind them has the names of some states on it. I can see a Kansas plaque on the left, between two caps, an Indiana plaque in the center of frame, above the musicians, and in the space next to that, I can just make out 1st and 1941. If anyone recognizes this monument, please comment. I would love to know where it is! Supposedly, my father-in-law is in this picture, but we couldn’t find him.

UPDATE: After sharing this on Facebook, my eagle-eyed cousin noticed the palm tree in the top right corner of the picture and pointed out that Detroit doesn’t have many of those. At about the same time, my sister and Intense Guy uncovered the identity of this monument. 

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It is the Monument of States in Kissimee, FL. This interesting monument was conceived by Dr Charles Bressler-Pettis after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He wanted something to signify the unity of the United States, so he wrote to all the governors of the states – which at that time numbered 48 – and asked them to send a rock native to their state. By the time he was finished collecting, Bressler-Pettis had also included a variety of rocks from other countries he and his wife had visited. The monument was raised in 1943 with the dual goals of unity and tourism. Ah, America. It has been expanded over the years to include Alaska and Hawaii, and a variety of other locales with their rocks being embedded into the walkways around the monument.

Thank you, Steve, Auntie Kat and Intense Guy for helping to solve yet another photo mystery!

Further Reading

Monument of States via US National Park Service

Monument of States via Wikipedia

Monument of States via Roadside America

 

Special Military Training?

Enjoy today two photos that show us that sometimes military training and camp isn’t all marching and push ups. I don’t know who the subjects are, but they were in the same pile as these pictures of Earl “E. B.” Scott and his buddy. Location and date are unknown but I’m guessing in the 1940s to 50s.

Boxing

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Two pugilists

Two boys show off their boxing stances in this vintage snapshot from the 1920s or 30s. One boy wears dungarees/overalls and an untied bowtie, while the other wears his coat and slacks. These seem to be unusual togs for a boxing match.

Boxing can be traced as a sport back to ancient times, with Greek, Roman, and even Minoan & Assyrian records showing it was a popular spectator sport. The Romans of course took it to an extreme with the boxing glove having metal studs embedded into it, fights going to the death, and all sorts of brutality. One bit of nomenclature we brought forward from Roman boxing, though, is the term “boxing ring.” Early matches were fought in a circle drawn on the ground. During the gladiator period, boxing was outlawed as being too vicious (that’s saying something!) and it wasn’t really resurrected until the 17th century.

Prior to the 1900s, boxing was part of an unsavory world of gambling and illegal fighting. Many of us have heard of Marquess of Queensbury Rules, which were established in 1867 London as a way to bring bare knuckle boxing under a little more control. It was still considered a brutal pastime and was relegated to gambling dens, eventually becoming a “scandalous” sport of violence, betting and rowdy behavior among men. Fights among the spectators were known to break out, and riots could occur. Boxing was illegal in certain parts of Britain and America. It resembled boxing as we know it today, but not in every sense. For one, not all matches were fought to a win/decision. If one fighter wasn’t knocked out, the fight could be decided by spectators, journalists, and others. It sounds like statistics for early 1900s boxing are nothing like what we imagine they should be! Boxing could also be called prizefighting at that time, because the participants were fighting for a monetary prize. We still refer to a boxing match today as a prize fight.

1900 – 1920 saw a refining of boxing with many fighters coming from the poorer cities and areas, including many Jewish and black fighters. It is interesting to consider that fighters who were considered heavyweight fighters during that era would probably fall into the lightweight and welterweight categories today. Our modern heavyweight class has heights of 6′ 4″ and weights well over 250 pounds.

But the boys pictured above were probably thinking more of fighters like Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Rocky Marciano, Joe Louis and Jake Lamotta (the Raging Bull). These men helped define boxing as we know it today, although still on the small side weight-wise. Without these fighters, we would probably not have seen Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson or Sugar Ray Leonard, all the way to George Foreman, Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson. The big names of boxing today owe it all to those skinny, bare knuckle brawlers who helped resurrect boxing from the back alley and bring it into the living room. While boxing is still a prize driven sport, it is well known globally for its big purses, big fighters and big crowds – both in the arena and on pay per view.

I hope you will take some time to read further into the history of boxing. I myself enjoy a good boxing match, and encourage folks to learn about the “sweet science” that is more about technical and strategic moves than it is about blood and injury.

Additional Reading

Early 1900s boxing – via proboxing-fans.com

Boxing – via wikipedia

Why is boxing called the sweet science – via isport.com

Jake Lamotta, the Raging Bull – via biography.com

A list of famous boxers – via biography.com

Veterans

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Four Great War soldiers

Today is Veterans Day, November 11. You may have heard that Veterans Day originated with the Great War, the war to end all wars, World War I. Originally called Armistice Day, it was a moment of silence observed at 11:00 a.m. on November 11th, because that was the time designated in the Armistice Agreement for an end to hostilities on the Western Front. The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 1918. In the days before internet communications, explicit and defined times and dates were important so that everyone got the message loud and clear. The armistice was a success and World War I came to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919, and ultimately the fall of Berlin.

The Great War sadly was not the war to end all wars.

One hopes that these four soldiers returned home from battle, healthy and able to pick up their lives, but we can never know. The photo carries no identification on the reverse. World War I also gave rise to the term “shell shock” which today we would call post traumatic stress disorder. 100 years ago, there was no treatment for this syndrome. Men were expected to deal with it and get on with their lives. I can only imagine how terrible it must have been.

Thank your local veteran today, for their sacrifices and service to your country. It is not an easy job to perform, and in America, can be woefully under paid, under supported and unsung. While we find it easy to wear yellow ribbons, the colors of our flag, or put up signs saying “we support our troops,” our Veterans Administration is underfunded and our Veterans hospitals are understaffed. Not only do our active duty military suffer daily, but their families make deep sacrifices – deployments separating parents, family deployments to foreign countries and frequent moves, children changing schools annually – and sometimes, they make the greatest sacrifice of all in the death of their military family member. Veterans are frequently affected with long term consequences of their deployment and the action they have seen, both physically through illness/injury, but mentally through PTSD and the deep scars left by the missions they conducted. It cannot be an easy life to live, and we must appreciate every man and woman who choose to live it.

Read more about Veterans Day and the history of this holiday

History of Veterans Day – via Office of Public Affairs, US Dept of Veterans Affairs

Why do we wear a poppy? – via The Telegraph UK

In Flanders Fields – poem written about WWI

The Remembrance Poppy – via Wikipedia

Sailors

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Item #1 – E. B. Scott

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Item #2 – A sailor from Tennessee

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Item #3 – E. B. Scott & another sailor

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Item #4 – a deck shot

I found these photos in what I call “the great Tennessee vacation photo haul.” A couple months back I teased you about these, a large collection of photos I gathered at “the world’s longest yard sale” in Tennessee. I have a massive collection of photos and holiday cards to share with you, and these four seemed like a good place to start!

The photos have inscriptions, as follows:

Item #1 – Front labeled E. B. Scott

Item #2 – no inscription

Item #3 – The background is the Bay. The guy with me is Earl Scott from Johnson City, Tenn.

Item #4 – This was taken on the Starboard side of the Quarter Deck looking aft

Anyone who knows vintage military uniforms is welcome to comment on what you think may be the era of these photos/uniforms. As it is, I can’t really make a guess because the photos themselves follow a style that was popular for 20+ years.

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