Friday, June 25, 2010

Father, Daughter, Swimming Hole

In the swimsuit is my grandfather, W. C. Robert Meinzen. Beside him is his son-in-law and my father, Lee Doyle.

What a swimsuit! I usually think of younger men wearing this style but by all appearances, Grampa seems comfortable and confident. On the other hand, I'm not quite sure how to read my father's expression. Dubious, perhaps? I think this photo was taken in the early 1940's.

Grampa grew up in Steubenville, Ohio, which borders the Ohio River. We understand that Grampa swam in the river when he was a youth. My brief research into swimsuits suggests this one may have been a 1920's-1930's style. He probably didn't have the opportunity to swim often enough to warrant buying a new suit every year or two.

I don't know where this photo was taken but I suspect it was somewhere near Lake Milton in Mahoning County, Ohio. That seems to have been the usual destination for swimming about the time this photograph was taken.

The next photo is of my mom, Audrey (Meinzen) Doyle, taken when she was perhaps 12 or 14, between 1927 and 1929. I don't know the location of this photo either but it looks like a small, rock-rimmed pool. Safe. Mom never learned to swim and claimed she didn't enjoy being in the water. But to a child/youth on a hot summer day in the 1920's, what could have been better than a dip in a pool, large or small?

Which brings me to the last image. It's a very poor photograph, and I apologize, but I just couldn't resist posting it with these other two. I can almost feel the hot sun and cool water. The photographer captured the action at that split second when the water droplets sprayed the air, just before they fell onto the other bathers; captured the little "Dutch Girl" imp in the center when she was just about to bounce down and thrust her hands into the water to splash the others. I love this photo. It speaks to me of the exuberance, the joy, the delight of summer play in the swimming "hole."

In this photo the spray of water seems to be coming from opposite the photographer. When I enlarge it I think I can just see the outline of an adult behind the splashing water. Can you? Who was teasing these swimmers?

Do you have family photos of swimmers, imps, players-in-the-water? Do you have favorite memories of times spent with friends or family in swimming holes or pools?

Happy water play to you!

This is a Sepia Saturday post. If you like old photographs you might enjoy other Sepia Saturday posts, too.

Copyright © 2010 by Nancy Messier


  1. The photo of your grandfather in his swim suit is beyond priceless!

    The picture of the little kids in the water reminds me of a trip we took with our kids when they were about that age. We drove through Yosemite one day and it was hot and crowded so we decided to leave. We stopped along the Mercede River to cool off. The girls stripped down had had the best time playing in the river. It was the highlight of our trip to Yosemite!

  2. Hi, Nancy! Thanks for reading my blog! I actually did the banner for my blog in PowerPoint and then saved it as a .tif image. I learned how to do it from this post at Bootcamp for Genealogy Bloggers:

  3. The photos are excellent Nancy. Your Grandfather swim suit was zanny. Its porbably been lost with time. Your father was a handsome man with a caring kind face. Lovely to see.

  4. Oh, I can just see Alan snatching up that watering-hole image for SS #30!

    I am still laughing about the expression on your dad's face. A little typical son's embarrassment? What a swimsuit!

    The one of your mother is so good and I do detect a slight discomfort, perhaps in her expression.

    Loved these!


  5. They have so nice smiles and they look happy.
    Do you have plenty of those old photos?

    They are so interesting and tell many things of those days.
    Thank you for your visit my site!

  6. There's a wonderful Stan Laurel look to your grandfather. Great shot.

  7. What wonderful pictures! I especially like the "swimming hole" one - it really reminds me of what it felt like to enjoy summers as a kid! Thanks!!

  8. oh how refreshing....your father's thoughts may have been, "Oh Dad for Heaven's sake!" Nothing beats water on a hot day. Wish I had photos of the old swimming hole where we went in my childhood with aunts, cousins, uncles, etc. but no photos exist, guess no one thought to record those moments. We are in southern IL at an RV rally and yesterday spent a day in Paducah KY where the Ohio River is muddy as can be; our waiter cautioned it is always like that down here where it is hot and humiod and likely no one would be swimming in it. Nice cooling post!

  9. Thank you all for visiting and commenting. I appreciate it. It's so interesting to read others' thoughts and responses to family photographs.

    Michelle - What a fun story about your trip to Yosemite. You took photographs of your girls, of course?

    Jennifer - Thanks for reminding me about bootcamp for geneabloggers. I'll have to check out that post (since I haven't read them all.)

    Crystal Mary - Yes, the swimsuit is gone. I may have seen my grandfather in it once or twice but I never again saw it after that. I agree, my father was a very handsome young man.

    Kat - I think Alan will pass on this one. There are so many other Really Great photographs this time! That expression of my father's face shows up in other photogaphs, too, and I always chuckle when I see it. It can be read as slight embarrassment at being caught in the act (of mischief), or embarrassment at his situation even though it's not of his making. Sometimes it's just the cat that swallowed the canary look.

    Leena - I don't have very many old photographs and I'm afraid if I'm not careful, I won't be able to participate in Sepia Saturday very long (or I'll have to do reruns and refocus the viewers' eyes).

    Tattered and Lost - You're right about the Stan Laurel look and I never noticed it. Maybe because I remember my grandfather as being more than serious, it wouldn't have crossed my mind. I haven't been keeping up with your blog and just went to have a look. I sure enjoyed the photographs of the little ones - and your commentary!

    Leah - I agree--it reminds one of summers as a kid. I can look at that photo and almost feel the fun.

    Pat - It's surprising that we have these photos in our family. It seems that most people (except my grandfather) were very modest about being photographed in swimsuits. I suppose the little ones in the water didn't care, or maybe didn't notice. I think they also didn't care about how clean the water was, unlike most people today who would rather swim in a clean pool than a lake or river. I hope you stay cool and have fun on your trip.

  10. These photos all made me smile and all for different reasons. Absolutely splendid. This post is full of joy and absolutely brightened my day. Thank you!

  11. Like everyone else here, I'm enchanted by your grandfather's swimsuit and your dad's dubious expression. Your mother is a charmer, too. I'm happy you posted that final shot of the kiddies being splashed. It's timeless.

  12. Splendid photographs Nancy. And as we are just starting what promises to be the hottest day of the year over here - a most suitable subject. Thanks so much for sharing them with us.

  13. Lovely Summer Photos Nancy.I love your Grandfather's swimsuit!

  14. What a great expression on you father's face! Priceless. And I love your grandfather's swimsuit too.

    I really like the photo of your mom as well. She reminds me of someone, but I can't exactly put my finger on who...

    And lastly, what an adorable last picture. That little "Dutch girl" has quite the headful of hair. It looks like the girl on the left, with the bandanna on her head is pointing at the little girl. I bet she was a handful. Too cute!!

  15. Christine - I'm glad the photos gave you a smile. Thanks for coming to visit.

    Enchanted Oak - Thanks for visiting. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos.

    Alan - I hope you're staying cool! Thanks for coming to look.

    Tony, thanks for looking at the photos.

    Natasha - I wish I knew who the little "Dutch girl" is. I wonder if she grew up to have the personality we imagine she had in this photo. Thanks for visiting.

  16. Those bathing suits that men had to swim in would be awful. Too much drag and you would have to really tread to stay afloat. Like he vented side on it though.


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