Walker Family

I usually try not to post about living people since it feels a little insensitive, but on the other hand, living people might want to find and see these photos, and I did see a great news story about a group of people who post photos from lost phones and cameras and try to reunite them with their owner, so in that spirit, here’s a good one!  The Walker family isn’t related, though my grandmother knew them and even saved some photos of them.  I realized recently, when scrolling through the thousands of scans I have from her that I had both the printed photos and the negatives, AND they had labels on the back!

So, we have two photos that appear to be taken in front of the same house, labelled as Davie and Susie Walker.  Assuming this was about 1950, grandma would’ve been about 19-20 or so.  Then I realized there were negatives that matched, and there were originally more in the series (click the smaller thumbnails to see the larger images).

The film size for these was 616, so they were probably taken with a Kodak Brownie Target 616 camera or equivalent.  They’re just massive negatives, but they scan up really beautifully.  Having all these photos, I went hunting down a census, bearing in mind this was probably in/around Clearfield County, PA, and the kids should be on the 1950 census.  Walker was a pretty common surname, but Clearfield County is fairly sparsely populated in comparison to say Philadelphia, so it should be possible to narrow this down.  Hit paydirt pretty quickly and found Ivan and Florence (Broberg) Walker with two children, Susan K and David Lee Walker, ages 8 and 2 respectively in 1950.  In the photos above, the teenager in the peasant top and skirt is my grandma, and I’d hazard a guess that the man in glasses is Ivan Walker.  The house was a bit tricky to track down since a lot of those roads weren’t named/numbered until the last decade or two, but fortunately the census taker was pretty great at writing down directions.  I did manage to find it at 12 Walker Street in the Houtzdale, PA mailing zipcode.  The census refers to the location as “West Moshannon” and I actually know exactly where this house is located since it’s off a fairly major road I’ve traveled over many, many times.  They were living across from Florence’s parents as per the census, and there are two more photos from the film scans that appear to be taken the same date/time given the lighting conditions.  The first house below is the one just to the left of the Walker residence, now 28 Walker Street.

I couldn’t identify the house photo on the right since there’s no google street view out in that area (it’s fairly remote), and it’s possible that in the prior 70 years, it may have been demolished or renovated extensively.  She may have taken the photo   How grandma knew these folks, I’m not entirely sure.  It’s possible it was through church or family friends or something, but they were important enough to her to capture on film and tuck away in a box of memories!

Chatueau d’If

Another postcard sent from grandpa to grandma while he was stationed in France with the US Army Air Force during World War II.  This one is dated 31 Jan 1945, and grandpa notes on the back that “I have visited this place.”  This place is the Chateau d’If, famous for having been a prison island, and during WWII, it was invaded by the German army.  We can see from the front that a word was cut out of the postcard, likely the location name, Marseille, although the back has an inscription by the printer, “Edition La Cigogne, 18, Rue Glandeves, Marseille,” which gives away the location anyway.

Paisley Socks

Paisley Socks
Started: 1 January 2024
Finished: 4 January 2024
Pattern: Plain Old Socks (my pattern)
Yarn: Wisdom Yarns Pix in colorway, “Paisley”
Needle: US 1.5 / 2.5 mm
Notes: It doesn’t look like this yarn is even made anymore.  I picked this up at a local 4H fabric sale and it was priced extremely reasonably, almost criminal to leave behind such a quality sock yarn in a bin!  It’s a good 75/25 wool/acrylic blend and the colors are pretty fun.  I used the opposite end of the yarn ball to knit the heel flap so the color pattern was preserved on the front.  January finally found me some downtime, and I kicked up the knitting a notch since I had time to actually unwind in the evenings.  Sock knitting is my go-to to keep my hands busy if I’m watching TV, so this is the first of quite a few pairs of socks this winter!

At Work

If this photo seems a little familiar, there’s a somewhat similar photo posted back here from a few years ago.  This one was from a new box of photos that my in-laws came across and sent off with me to be scanned.  It’s hard to tell if it’s the same shop, but it appears roughly about the same time (mid 1930s-early 1940s), with a man similarly pointing at a piece of machinery.  Doede (2nd from left) was a blacksmith and metal worker, so this is probably something he created.  It looks to be some kind of industrial furnace with stove openings on the front and what looks like either a pressure or temperature gauge on the top.  This was definitely in the Netherlands, and you can see the man on the far left has traditional wooden shoes on.  On the back is written, “Douglas at work,” probably by his wife, though years later.  They all look rather serious and the two on the left have soot and dirt on their faces, probably from a hard day’s work.

Name Cards – Part 3

Bonus round!  I found a couple more name cards, so here’s (hopefully) the final post of these.  Photos have been added where found!

John H. Vigene: “Clarice, To a small but cute girl, all the luck and success possible.  Who is the luckey guy??  John”

Claire Ellen Spicher: “Dear Clarice (sister), It has been quite alot of fun going to school with you.  Even if we did have to walk most of the time (thanks to Mr Whitl[..?] and now Mr. Fitch).  They lessened the walking, if we [???] started early enough.  Love, Clarie Ellen”

Betty Mae Beers: “Remember all the fun we had in Oral English Class.  I liked your stories.  I wish you good luck & success always.  Betty Mae”

Emeline Bartek: “Clarice, Remember the first day I met you, up in the office.  I wish you all the luck and success in the world in your future years, especially with ‘Leon.’  Remember me.  Emeline”

Arlene Faye Campbell: “Clarice, to a small girl.  I wish we had went to school together longer.  Luck & success always, if we ever get arrested for speedin, you bail us out ok?  Taffy”

Kenneth W. Rydbom: “Clarice: I think I’ll remember you as ‘Little Spike.’  Your a real nice kid.  Ken.”

Notre-Dame de la Garde

This was a postcard sent from grandpa to grandma, dated 2 February 1945.  Grandpa was in the Army Air Force and was sent to France during WWII.  The front of the card has been censored with the city name cut out, presumably because the Army didn’t want family back home knowing where exactly they were, but the back of the postcard states this was the Notre-Dame de la Garde in Marseille, France.  In the bottom right corner on the front is “La Cigogne” which is also printed on the back, presumably the card printer, with an address that locates them at 18, Rue Glandeves.  No stamp is on the back since mail was free for the armed services.

Two Generations

Sometimes you come across something that seems like a random snapshot, but is a pretty neat photo once you look closely!  This photo shows my great grandmother holding a mirror with grandma and her sister shown in the mirror’s reflection.  As far as a date, I’d say around 1945 or so given grandma’s age.  Since this is basically a selfie, we get an idea of the camera she was using which is some sort of box camera, but it’s hard to tell which one exactly.  I didn’t find a corresponding printed photograph, so it’s pretty fortunate that this negative was kept in the box of photos!

Open Print Exchange #3

We’re into the third round of the Open Print Exchange which is now being held annually.  To see more about the previous print exchanges I’ve participated in, check out this tag – Open Press Project.  This year, I had started on something different and became increasingly frustrated with my 40-something-year-old eyes and the need for reading glasses and was just in a creative rut, so I scrapped the first print and went on to something I know and love – cameras.  I picked up the little Brownie Starmite II at a barn sale a few years ago, and was delighted to find exposed film still inside the camera.  I sent it off for processing, and you can see the results here.

I took some creative liberty with the body color of the camera, and I have an idea to print this again with a few different body colors just for fun.  The paper is handmade paper from recycled political ads from the 2022 election season.  We, as a household of two voters, received over 3 lbs of paper mailers which is incredibly wasteful and has a limited (if any) impact on a growing population that doesn’t use postal mail except for packages.  I find it pretty tone deaf for candidates who tout their platform as being pro-environmental protections, yet continue to engage is such incredible wastefulness.  And there’s no way to opt out either (I tried, honest).  So, instead of adding more stress and wastefulness to our recycling/trash stream, I decided to try to recycle it all by hand and turn the hateful mailers into something beautiful.  Anyway, the print is done with Cranfield inks, and the blocks in the image at the top are two lino blocks.  The paper is 7 cm square (roughly 2.75 inches).  I do enjoy working at this small scale since it’s a challenge and actually kind of fun, but my eyes were just giving me SO much trouble this year, and I’m maybe mourning the loss of my youth to a certain degree too.  I know this is inevitable, and it’s a part of aging, but I’m finding the changes in my vision harder to accept than the wrinkles and achy joints.  Anyway, I’m still happy with how this came out, and it’s a fun project to keep me in practice every year!