Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sepia Saturday 238 : 26 July 2014


Alan from Sepia Saturday says:  

If you would like a sign as to what to do for Sepia Saturday 238 ...then look no further than this 1935 picture of Broome Street in Manhattan which comes from the Flickr Commons stream of the New York Public Library. If you want to be on theme, you can choose any type of sign you want, or any other visual clue you can find in the photograph. If you prefer to be off-theme, then that is entirely your choice.

Several photos spring to mind with this theme.  My father,  having trained as an architect,  could write a mean Garage Sale sign when required - and birthday cards - and notes from the tooth fairy - and signage for children's birthday parties - my Witches Party stands out the most in memory - boy we had fun that day.  But here is the first sign I remember at one of my birthday parties.  I think this may have been my 6th Birthday party.  If you zoom into the sign there are six candles on the picture of the birthday cake.  If I rescanned this photo I might be able to make out what I think are the names of the guests written underneath the greeting.



I think this may have been the rather famous birthday party where I opened the door to my guests, took the proffered gift and then firmly shut the door in their faces.  The wails of disappointment brought my mother to the door and I received a rather short sharp lesson in good manners that I think I may never forget !  Not quite sure who the children are except for dear friend Judith on the left in the tartan and I think that is Elizabeth Ann my neighbour who lived across the road  - the tall girl in the white pleated skirt on the right.  Note the Vulcan oil heater in cold old Canberra in May - my birthday month.  And the records lined up on the right hand side - I'm thinking A Hard Day's Night and James Last and the very scary Night on Bald Mountain would have been in that selection. (I hang on to those records like grim death).  

Those white bits in the photo are streamers hanging down.  I suspect the feast includes cocktail sausages or frankfurters as we called them and the ubiquitous fairy bread.  I suspect that's chocolate crackles (rice bubbles coated in cocoa) and butterfly cupcakes next to Judith and I think I can spot my mother's famous chocolate iced birthday cake sprinkled with silver cachous at the end of the table - mm mmmm.  See that black kettle on the shelf to the left of the fireplace there?  I've still got that.  I wonder what the story is behind that kettle?  Must ask my father.  And those Parker chairs that the children are sitting on and the dining table - we use them today.  No waste here in this family.  Recycle Reuse (subtext - thank goodness for parents).  The sofa on the right is long gone.



This is another lovely photo and either my maternal grandfather or my maternal grandmother very helpfully wrote this on the back



So do you think the date is 1940 or 1948?  I'm thinking 1940.  And I think this is a photo of Kit, my maternal grandmother.  I'm here to tell you that Leura is spelled LEURA not LEWRA.  Can you read the sign?  It says " Refreshments served at this window Iced Drinks Cordials Icecream Sodas Milkshakes and I think it says 6d on the end which means I think sixpence.  Once again I am happy to be corrected.

Leura Cascades are in the Blue Mountains here. 



To my knowledge there is no Kiosk there now more's the pity, but I am happy to stand corrected.  My mother would have been 5 or 13 depending on what you think the year is but I reckon it's earlier rather than later.  In Australia our dates are written backwards to an American way of thinking so this means 10 March rather than the 3 October.  It was a Sunday.  We'd really only been at war since December 1939.  Pearl Harbour and the Japanese subs in Sydney Harbour hadn't happened yet. 



Here's another photo that I haven't looked at closely before.  I think it might be Shirley but I have to check with her son Douglas.  Where is Normandy Lodge I wonder.  More questions to ask of relations.






























I particularly like this photo from my father's album.  Why waste money on timber or metal when you can get a mobile sign like a sheep?  What is Voco I ask myself? I think this is taken around Tamworth or Dubbo or Gilgandra - sorry to be so vague - I wasn't born then.  I think this was taken c 1948 or 1950.  My father was visiting his uncle Ossie Carrett.  Ossie was my grandmother's younger brother.  If you search Trove for Voco the most prolific entries are from 1920-1939 and then it drops right off.  So maybe this photo is earlier.  If you search for Laurel Kerosene as per the truck on the right hand side Trove produces results for 1930-1939.  Mind you, we all drive around vehicles long after we paint the signs on them so I think it could still be later.  Anyway, Voco, I think, stands for Vacuum Oil Company and if you believe the advertising, this is what it does...


courtesy of National Library of Australia Gilgandra Weekly and Castlereagh 2 October 1930

According to Trove, Ossie took over the business from Coleman in 1941.

courtesy of National Library of Australia Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate 9 August 1941

What else can I give you in terms of signs?  (Yes I know this post has gone on far too long.  You'll just have to suffer a bit more and then I'll shut up. ) When we went overseas and I was a young Gel (hard G not soft), I was fascinated with the clever advertising.  It seemed so much more sophisticated and advanced than that at home in Orstralia.  I took photos of it.  It doesn't look fabulous now of course - probably very ordinary - but I'd be grateful for translations.



These photos of billboards were taken in Europe in late 1979.  I particularly liked the drop coming off the orange.  We just didn't have that ...what would you call it?  Clarity?  in our advertising at the time.

Last but not least here is a photo of my dear mother, coming out of the local shop on the Leura Mall.  From memory it was more of an IGA (small supermarket) than a Delicatessen.  You could enter the shop from the back in the car-park and walk right through to the front.  I don't know if it still exists.  I think not.  When was this taken?  Hmmm....big fat guess maybe late 1980s or 1990???  So it really just scrapes by on the Sepia front doesn't it?



Who else remembers that marvelous film Delicatessen with the wonderful Dominique Pinon from 1991?



Happy days.  Head on over to see what other signs full of portent there may be here.


20 comments:

Wendy said...

Your family went all out on birthdays. I think we got cake, ice cream, punch, and a pretty little plastic basket of mints and nuts -- The End.

I vote 1940 on the photo. Wouldn't it be fun sitting at that rustic table enjoying a really good milkshake? Now that's a treat!

Sharon said...

The only things missing from your party are Cream Puffs and Honey Joys! Otherwise you could have been talking about one of my childhood parties.

You have prompted me though. Childhood parties, including games played, will be a subject of my own notes!

Jo Featherston said...

An interesting and varied collection. I'm wondering which one is the birthday girl in that first photo, and why someone would photograph your mother coming out of the deli?

Alex Daw said...

Thanks Wendy. The Leura Cascades is a short walk but I'm up for a milkshake anytime!

Alex Daw said...

Ooh honey joys kinda rang a bell. I had to google them. What did we call them? I'm trying to remember. Maybe it was honey joys but I've forgotten.When I moved to Queensland I had to learn to stop calling frankfurts frankfurts and start calling them cheerios.

Alex Daw said...

Dear Jo, oh I forgot to say which one is me. Silly me. I'm the one up near the heater with her hand up hear her hair looking up at the sign. That person taking the photo of my mother would be me. I was experimenting with black and white photography and an SLR (again) in my late twenties.

Anne Young said...

I recognise the heater under your birthday party sign as we had the same one :). A modest number of guests at the birthday party too made life more civilised for all.

Alex Daw said...

Yes Anne. I remember a rough rule of thumb being the number of guests to match the number of years. What do you think? Perhaps there were six guests.

Anne Young said...

It looks like six guests to me. Should have noted our parents' wisdom, we always had what turned out to be too many guests at our children's birthday parties.

Nancy said...

I love the memories you shared from your birthday party. It's funny that you took the gift and closed the door behind the giver. I wonder what those little girls thought: a game, perhaps? Or, who knows! I think it's wonderful that you still have some of the items in the photo.

I think a sign on a sheep is very innovative. Its portability makes it very appealing.

Alex Daw said...

Yes Anne, I don't think I cottoned on to that rule until too late in the game too.

Alex Daw said...

There's a bit of me Nancy that thinks "Oh no, let it go!" when I see how much I recognize but then I have always liked old things I suppose.

Mike Brubaker said...

I too have photos of foreign signs that I saw on holiday. I think when we can't understand the words we interpret images and designs differently and see creative ideas that appeal.

genepenn said...

What a trip down memory lane - just so much to enjoy in this post. The heater - I think yours might be gas, we had an Oil Vulcan heater that looked like that in the sixties - right up to 1995, loved the stack of LP's on the shelf, and mention of all the party food. Did you have Jelly Cakes - i think Chocolate ripple cake came later. We have an architect friend whom we visit and in his sitting room are chairs he designed and made himself. He later sold the design to Parker.

Alex Daw said...

Phew! I was beginning to wonder if I was a bit weird there for a second. I'm glad you do that sort of thing too.

Alex Daw said...

Genepenn I want to say that ours was oil too. Jelly cakes...don't know them I don't think. Sigh...Still so much food to eat in the world. Will I ever get there? Ooh I'd like to see those chairs your friend designed.

Helen Bauch McHargue said...

Great birthday party story. I can remember being very taken by foreign ads too. The 'personal' news is amusing..imagine reporting on somebody having a cold. Life was simpler then.

Alex Daw said...

Thanks Helen-ooh goody another person that likes foreign ads. And yes that Personal column is ...well....personal!

Little Nell said...

An altogether interesting post and that photos of your mother as she leaves a shop, seemingly unaware, is a treasure.

Alex Daw said...

Thanks Little Nell. A treasure that grows more dear with each passing year I must say.