Saturday, January 8, 2011

Maybe Our Camera Didn't Work in Winter Except This Once

We are having frigid temperatures and snow here in Ohio. I hoped to find some old photographs of family in snow or winter. Of all the photographs in or out of albums, this and one close-up taken at the same time are the only ones I've found. Either no one thought to take photos outside in winter or the camera didn't work.

This is a photo of my sister and me on the front porch of our house on Furnace Street in Mineral Ridge, Ohio. I can guess that the photographer was not my aunt who became a fairly proficient amateur photographer. That leaves either my mother, my father, or my older brother (who would have been about 14 or 15) as the photographer. I almost think you can see the photographer's reflection in the window on the right. Almost....

As are so many of our other family photos, this one is crooked. I posted another of my brother and cousin that was, if possible, more crooked than this. I think these days even amateur photographers are more aware of what they see through the lens of the camera and are concerned about taking good photographs. I included a straightened copy to the right. After straightening it I cropped it but not too much of importance was lost.

The steps to this house were somewhat steep and not very deep. There was no handrail on either side or in the center. Once a lady coming to pick up a watch that my father had repaired (or leaving after picking it up) fell on the steps and broke her wrist. I don't remember if she expected my father to pay the medical bills or not, and I think it was before he would have had insurance to take care of such things.

I had forgotten that the sidewalk at the bottom of the steps was not paved but made of stones laid in a path. And I can't remember now if at the end of the path was another step or two down to the street. Thank goodness for photographs to help us remember so many of those little details that escape our memories.

You can see that the house was a duplex. I remember three of the families who lived there when I was young. Perhaps another time I'll include them in a post.

Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, if you're in the midst of winter, I hope you're enjoying it. Take a winter stroll over to Sepia Saturday and see what photographs other folks are sharing this week. Perhaps you'd like to share one of your own.


  1. I like this post, but I have to say that you and your sister must have been cold with only socks on your legs instead of tights!

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  3. Sorry, I had many typing errors!

    This is a lovely photo but as the first comment said, you and your sister must have been cold in your skirts and socks.
    I am suffering from a real muggy heat here so snow sounds wonderful to me right now.

  4. You look to be wrapped up nice and warm in the photograph. Hope you're keeping warm, today.

  5. What a charming photo! I like how you can see the reflection of a tree in the window. I can remember wearing dresses with socks to school and church in the winter time...back in those days girls always had to wear skirts or dresses.

  6. Very charming, even more so because of the crookedness. You just have to tilt your head a little.

  7. The porch is reminiscent of the one at my paternal grandparents' house. Their sidewalk was paved and there was a planting bed next to the street filled with rose bushes which my grandfather lovingly tended. There was a "vacant" lot between their house and the house next door which was owned by my great-aunt (Grandpa's sister) and her husband. The in-between space had a vegetable garden and fruit trees and a big lawn for doing cartwheels and watching the clouds and for big people sitting in the shade and talking.

  8. My first thought was how cold we must have been, too. These days no one would send a child out dressed like that! But girls usually only wore pants at home when I was a child growing up. It was always a dress for school, church, and shopping.

    In the winter little girls sometimes wore leggings. They were pants but were made out of the same fabric and of the same thickness as a coat. They were warm but they were not comfortable.

    Meri, your grandparents' yard sounds enchanting. The summer day that you describe sounds very inviting just now (except to Marilyn).

    Marilyn, I'll trade you weather for a few hours or a few days....

  9. I love those photos...even the crooked one.

  10. There is something wonderfully evocative about the photograph - a moment frozen in time and two children almost frozen in time as well.

  11. When I first looked at this, I wondered about the bare legs, no snow pants, no tights? No boots? That seems different. Maybe this was one of the first snows or one of the last before spring, just around the corner?? I have few winter photos as well, I don't think they took many back in those days outside. That front porch looks like ever so many back in PA>

  12. Alan, you nearly always make me laugh. We were almost frozen, I'm sure, and now we really are freezing!

    Pat, I wonder if we were headed to church the day this photo was taken. Church was just around the corner, in which case maybe my mom felt like we didn't need more clothing. Then again, maybe the first snow had come the night before and it was already warmer. I'll have to ask my sister if she remembers when this photo was taken.

  13. please don't talk of broken wrists as i currently have one in a brace right now after falling on the ice as i was crossing to the other pavillion last week...
    oh well!!
    it only slows down my typing, which isn't fast to start with...
    i'm also a stickler fro horizontal and vertical lines. i accept crooked when it enhance the dynamic of the photograph, otherwise, i expect to see straight lines.
    lovely girls you were!!

  14. I remember going to church with just socks and coats when it was cold but not fridgid in Detroit. You two don't look like you are cold. I wondered what that post was in the middle. Didn't even think about a duplex! I did notice the glass milk jars on the porch. I like a straight photo too. Maybe we are destroying history with all the straigtening.

  15. Happy that it did work, winter or not, and able to capture such cute and happy children!

  16. Great post! I'm glad you included the "crooked" photo as it gives us a feel for the photographer. The house reminds me of my grandmother's. Same kind of steps. Cold outside, warm memories inside!

  17. Ticklebear, I'm sorry about your wrist. I broke mine a few years ago and it slowed down everything. Hope yours is better very soon.

    Kristen, I forgot to mention the milk bottles. I always remembered them as half gallons but the jars look like quart bottles. Hmmmmm.

    I don't think we're destroying history because I still have the crooked original among my photos and I still have the crooked scan on my computer. I think it would be bad (and probably destroying history) to cut the original. I hadn't thought about that before.

    Neetzy, I suppose lots of houses had steps like those during that time period. Back then we had porches and enclosed steps; these days people have decks and open steps.

  18. I zoomed in and I'm not sure if it is the reflection of the photographer. It's an interesting feature of the picture though.

    We didn't have railings on the front step of the house we just sold. I was always worried something like that would happen, but thankfully, it did not.

    Those are very lightweight shoes for winter! Up here in Canada, we'd have our high, thick-soled boots on for sure.


  19. Yes, sometimes I go ahead and correct them but other times I leave them to show what kind of photographers we had back then. My problem is people didn't know how to use the focus on the side of the box camera or could have moved closer or farther away to get a good picture. I like the two of you on the front porch.

  20. I forgot to mention that my doctor who delivered me as a baby was Dr. Armitage. I don't remember his first name but there was a family of them in Osceola, Iowa.


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