Another Sepia Saturday! This week’s theme image shows a woman and a dog, and hey, I have LOTS of photos of a boy and his dog! The boy in question is my grandfather, Leon Kitko, and the dog here is actually named on the back of the photo as, “Tippy.” There’s even a year, 1946, so Leon was 13 here. The photo was taken at the family home in Blain City, Pennsylvania, and it’s a familiar background that shows up in lots of photos Leon had a number of pets over the years, and it’s sort of neat to see them all chronicled in SO many years of photos. I know I include my pets in lots of photos, and somehow it’s nice to see that this photo of a beloved pet has been around for almost 72 years!! Short and sweet this week, but it’s a good match to the theme, so I had to go for it.
Our Sepia Saturday theme image this week featured a woman on her wedding day in 1928 in Canada. Well, fortunately, I have photos of a wedding in 1927 in Canada that line up pretty well! Above, we have Bessie Melita Creber on the left and her mother, Mary Jane (Battin) Creber on the right. Melita (or “Meta” for short, as it appears on the back of other photos) was born 1 August 1899 in Plymouth, Devon, England, daughter of Mary Jane Battin and John Samuel Creber. Her family, along with two siblings, left England for a new home in Canada in 1911. Meta is just a year younger than my great grandmother, and both their mothers were sisters who must’ve kept in touch over the years. On 18 Jun 1927, Meta married Alfred Norman Harris in Montreal, Canada at the Trinity Memorial Church. I’m not quite sure where these photos were taken, but it’s probably Alfred’s mother’s home in Montreal. The couple appears to later have lived in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada where both Meta and her husband passed away in 1985 and 1969 respectively.
This also lines up with a previous Sepia Saturday posting (#233) where I posted a larger group shot of the wedding party. It’s pretty great to find a match to the theme image so close in time and place, so I knew this had to be the one for this week!
Earlier this year, I sent in a roll of film we found in an old Kodak Vest Pocket Autographic camera to Film Rescue International for their cycle starting April 1, 2014. The camera was in my grandfather’s office and was presumably my great grand uncle Herb’s at some point. Herb probably took it off to war with him and after he passed away, my grandfather kept the camera since he was quite the shutterbug. As far as turn-around time goes, I had a link to the scans in my inbox on May 16th. It ended up costing $34 for 5 images which is steep, but I’m not sure I would’ve trusted film that was over 30 years old to just anyone. Even though Kodak Verichrome Pan is more stable than other films, it could have been anywhere between 30-50 years old, and the possibility of some lackey at a lab not familiar with developing old film screwing up what may have been priceless photos was just too much of a risk to take. As it turns out, there was nothing really precious on the roll, but it’s great to know for sure, rather than sit around wondering what the heck is on there. I am VERY happy with the level of communication and the extra care they take to manage expectations. Expired and old film is a real crapshoot and sometimes you win big, sometimes you lose big. I opted to download the free scans (at 532×864, 300 dpi), but if I wanted quality copies, I could’ve purchased the full resolution download for $.99 each with a 20% discount if I placed an order in the first two weeks. The images are available on their website for a full year. They mailed me the developed negatives in plastic sleeves along with the original spool and backing paper.
The images are below, and that first image is the one I shot out of the front door of grandpa’s old house when I realized there was still live film inside. Clearly, I’ve got some practicing to do if I want to use the camera again, but it appears to be light leak free which is a plus! The next three shots are of grandpa’s junkyard in the snow which helps me date them to somewhere in the 1970s probably and the last one is the view from great grandma Olga’s house. It’s a view that shows up over and over again in photos, so it’s one I’m very familiar with, even if the house no longer exists.
Left Photo: We have, Left to Right, Ellechien Dijkemna, Geertje Bouwman, and Willemina Dijkema. “Elly” and “Mien” were sisters of my husband’s paternal grandmother, Hilje Dijkema. Geertje is probably a family friend of some sort – I haven’t been able to connect her to the tree yet. I have to imagine that Hilje took the photo since she’s in the next photo.
Right Photo: Left to Right are Ellechien Dijkema and Hilje Dijkema. Different dog in this photo!
The set looks like a nice afternoon out somewhere. I can’t tell if they’re actualy camping or just using the tent for shade. Either way, it makes for a charming set of photos for this week’s theme, showing that the three sisters spent lots of time together as young girls.
When the prompt for this week came up, my mind almost immediately went to this photo. Five young men standing outside a fair that apparently runs September 11-14th and may be a circus from the Barnum & Bailey sign in the background. The young man in the light colored hat, second from the right (including the lurker in the background by the door), I believe is my great grand uncle Harry Oscar Frederick “Fritz” Powis (b. 1 May 1903, Blain City, Clearfield, PA; d. 22 Jun 1972, Philipsburg, Centre, PA). The man standing to the left of Fritz, I think is either George Riley or Floyd Shank. I have another photo with two men in uniform, one of whom looks an awful lot like the gentleman in uniform here, but I don’t know who is who in the other photo! I hit two of the themes this week between posing and lurking, and how about the tie on the man on the far left! As far as a year for the photo, I’d guess somewhere around 1919 or so. I’m not sure at all who the other two young boys are or the man in the tie. Still, it’s a neat photo, even if it’s a bit faded and worn!
On The Left: My grandpa, Leon Kitko (b. 20 Mar 1933, PA, died 18 Jun 2011, Clearfield, PA), holding a rabbit. It’s a rare photo of him with a beard – he kept his face clean shaven nearly all of his life except for a brief period around 1954 where he shows up in a few photos with a beard. A rabbit really isn’t an unusual pet, but among the many photos of their pets, this is the only one that isn’t a cat or dog! I never heard stories about a rabbit from grandpa, but it’s clear he had one at some point!
On The Right: My grandma (step-grandma.. Leon’s second wife, not my biological grandmother, but I always knew her as grandma), Romayne (Greenaway) Kitko (b. 30 May 1936, PA, d. 7 Jan 2013, Clearfield, PA). She was quite the musician her whole life from piano to organ and even the accordion! This is a scan from a negative, so I don’t know when exactly this was taken, but I’d assume sometime in the 1950s. She’s sitting at the back of her childhood home at the well, perfectly posed and coiffed, playing on the accordian.
Short and sweet this week! It was nice to be able to include different photos from this set of grandparents who have both passed away. Having memories like this and photos from their younger years really helps keep the memory alive and I’m so glad I have a chance to share them with Sepia Saturday as well!
I really love it when a Sepia Saturday prompt really makes me think or leads me to a new discovery. In this case, it’s definitely a new discovery and the prompt helped me link up a few pieces of an old puzzle. In the trunk of photos from Grandpa’s house, there was a large-ish photo (about 8×10) of a native tribe’s band. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why my great-great grandmother would’ve had such a large photo of a band like this, and left the mystery behind since there were SO many more to work on. Here enters this week’s prompt where I nail two categories, National Costumes and Hidden Meanings. Below is a photo of the Ogonomowok (or Oconomowok, spelling is different from the drum to the banner) tribe band. It’s the only photo in my collection that really fit, so I figured I’d go with it, even if it was a mystery. I started zooming in on the faces, and poked around the newspaper archive to see what came up for the band. There’s an article from June 14, 1917 in the Altoona Tribune in Pennsylvania stating that the tribe band participated in a parade ending the Great Council of the “Improved Order of Red Men.” Great grand uncle Alfred Herbert Powis (b. 28 Oct 1892 in Blain City, Clearfield, PA; d. 6 Jul 1926, Clearfield, PA), affectionately referred to as “Herb,” was in a number of bands throughout his life, and the trunk had a bunch of photos of him posing with his trumpet. Looking closer at the photos, it looks like the man standing up, 5th in from the left, is Herb! I’ve added another photo in for comparison’s sake to see if you agree or not. In the other photo, he’s very clearly identified with an “X” over his head. The second image is dated as, “Herbert, 1918, overseas,” so it seems that these two were taken within a year or so of eachother.
As far as Hidden Meanings, Herb was 100% British, the first son born in America of two parents from England, so I was stumped as to why he was in a Native American costume. The band members do have different colored costumes, so I wondered if perhaps people with Native American heritage were in the darker uniforms, and ordinary band members were in the lighter uniforms, or if the band was just for fun and had little to do with the tribe other than the namesake. The Wikipedia article linked above though, clued me in that the organization was a fraternal society established to promote Liberty and defy the tyrrany of the English Crown, using rituals and regalia modeled after Native American tribes. In fact, Wikipedia goes on to point out, the organization was Whites Only until 1974! So, the “National Costume” is a “Hidden Meaning” in and of itself. Turns out the photo was absolutely nothing that I assumed it to be at first glance. I won’t get into how I feel about an organization of white men using Native American dress and terms to form a fraternal order – that’s something for another post.
In closing, I want to thank Sepia Saturday for challenging me to explore these old family photos and bringing about new discoveries!
Click either image to view the news clipping full size
I went back and forth on this week’s theme since I have plenty of letters, but very few pictures to go along with them. The letter is written to Nellie Gasparri in the photo on the left (b. 9 May 1924, Dysart, Cambria County, PA, USA, d. 9 Oct 2007, Pittsburgh, Allegheny, PA, USA), my first cousin, once removed, or my mom’s first cousin (her mother’s sister’s daughter). It was written by Angelina Guerrini who is Nellie’s Aunt (her father’s sister). From what I know from living family members, Nellie never learned to read or write in Italian, but had a friend who read/wrote back letters for her. This particular letter was one in a series of letters written to Nellie that she saved for many, many years. After her death, relatives found them and didn’t know what to do with them, so they ended up with my mother somehow who fairly recently found them in a drawer while cleaning and passed them on to me. I had studied Italian at University as well as taking a semester abroad, so about 12 years ago, I was just about fluent. It’s faded a lot since then, so in order to translate these, it’s quite a process. First, I try to figure out what was written and type that up – it can be a struggle between the handwriting and spelling/grammar issues, but fortunately it’s just about the same region where I took my semester abroad, so that helps! Then, I run the translation through Google Translate to see what it comes up with, correcting the Italian side to fix spelling issues. Finally, I go through and do my own translation on top to fix odd phrasing that Google doesn’t really translate well and make it sound more like it was written in English. Some of the phrases don’t translate well from Italian to English, and I tend to go for a more literal than flowery approach in terms of translation. I’m always open to correction, so if you happen to be Italian and want to help me out, please leave a comment!
San Valentino, 6 April 1947
After several days of delays, I have come to respond to your dear letter that I received with much pleasure, to hear that you remember me with much affection and that you are in good health as are your brothers.
As for me, always little is well, but nothing is so serious, just a little bit of organic deterioration. My husband and my daughters are doing well. My husband is 60 years old, and I’m 50. Grandmother is also well, she is 84 years old. I haven’t had the courage to tell her the news of the death of her son, and I think that’s because my brother has found a wife so cruel that the old woman could not ever see her and stay in good health. They have a 4 year old daughter and live quietly, but I ought to say very little to you about the awful things they did to this poor old woman.
If you send something to grandma, send it to me or write it to me because she doesn’t know how to read or write and she’s deaf such that to have her understand, it takes time, and even when you repeat it, she substitutes whatever she wants.
Dear Niece, I am happy to hear you explain in your letter so many things that I wanted to hear about you and your brothers. Now all that remains is the desire to have a little written also from him and I’d even like to have a photograph, but first we must send you ours. I would like to know about the brother that isn’t in the army. Your aunt told me he works – what does he do?
I received the letter from your aunt with the photo of your father. It made me happy and at the same time a little sad that he isn’t around anymore. I don’t know how to find peace. You tell me that you work in an office. I’m happy to hear that, and I hope you enjoy it.
I’m sad that I can’t give you any help being so far away. You sent us the package and you said you can send another but what can I send you? Do you want anything that I could send to you? Tell me please! Let me know if you read my letters yourself or if you have someone read them to you the way I do the with your greetings to me, your friend Gina Canali.
Thousands and thousands of dear greetings and kisses from us that you will pass on also to your brothers, your aunt, and even these coming days I’ll write more to you.
Many dear kisses from me, your aunt, Angelina Guerrini.