Saturday, July 9, 2016

Sepia Saturday #338: 'How do you think we look in this, love?'



When I saw the inspiration image for today's Sepia Saturday, I was reminded of a street photographer's image taken of my mother, my brother and a friend outside Clery's Department Store on O'Connell Street, Dublin in the summer of 1956. That was the year in which my father, mother and brother emigrated away from Ireland.

During that year my father emigrated first, sailing from Dublin onboard the T.S.S. New York on 10 April 1956, bound for Halifax, and then Montreal, Canada, in order to settle into his new job, and find a home for his little family. My mother and brother followed seven months later, first flying to Liverpool, so they could visit with Mam's brother Patrick, and then embarking from the port of Liverpool onboard the ocean liner Carinthia on 31 October. 

Although I do not have any of the letters my mother and father sent to each other during those seven months they were apart, within their collection of photographs I found that street photographers image, along with additional photographs which my mam sent to my dad during that time. It is lovely to read the message on the back of each one, and have this little window into their lives at a time when I was not yet a part of their family.

The message on the back of the photo reads:

To Michael, All My Love, Mary.
How do you think we look in this, love?
The little girl is Michael's pal.  xx
The message on the back of the photo reads:

Kay and Michael.
To you Daddy with love from Junior xx
Avoca June 24th 1956.
The message on the back of the photo reads:

Kay, her boyfriend Eamonn, Gerry and I, and Junior on Kay's knee
with love
Avoca June 24th 1956
Unfortunately, I do not know the identity of the little girl who was my brother Michael's pal. Since Michael was named after our father, he was sometimes called Junior, thus the salutation 'from Junior'. Kay is Kathleen Ball, one of my mother's sisters, and Gerry is Gerard Ball, one of her brothers.

If you would like to read more about my parents' experience of immigrating to Canada, please visit:
'Toward a brilliant dream': An immigration story and 'A ship of dreams, on a journey toward the future'.

Be sure to stop by the Sepia Saturday blog to connect with others who have been inspired by today's image.

©irisheyesjg2016.

20 comments:

  1. How thoughtful that your mother wrote a message on the back of the photos. Surely she expected your dad to know everyone. While visiting the various Sepia blogs, I have been struck by how well-dressed everyone was when they went out in public. Your mother's dress and little sweater in the first photo are lovely, so stylish and so 50s.

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  2. Thanks very much for your comments, Wendy. I have so many photos I wish my mam had written messages on, so I would know the names of those pictured. Funny that she noted the names on these. I love the style of the day. My mother was always very well turned out, no matter the occasion, but I wonder that she could chase down a toddler while wearing heels. :-)

    Cheers,
    Jennifer

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  3. Lovely photographs and family memories. I really like the composition of the last one, and everyone looks so happy to be together.

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    1. Thanks very much for your comments, Jo. I love the last photo; they all look so happy, as you say. My uncle Gerry had a terrific sense of humour, so I'm guessing he had the driver doff his hat so he could pop it onto my mam's head.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

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  4. Jenn, your mom looks beautiful, and your Auntie Kay too. :-). I love the old fella with his jaunty hat and the smoke hanging out of his mouth. Your dad must have loved receiving these with his family so far away.

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    1. Thanks very much for your comments, Charlotte. I feel the same way about my mother and my aunt in these photos. Both beautiful, inside and out. I love that 'fella' too. I'd love to know his name.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

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  5. I wish all my photos had those little personal comments too. Makes the photo even better.

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    1. Thanks very much for your comments, Kristin. I feel the same way about the rest of my photos too. It's lovely to see those personal little notations.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

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  6. Yes, the little comments and identifications on the back of our photographs become more and more valuable the older they get.

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    1. Thanks very much for your comments, 'anyjazz'. You are so right. I feel as though I can hear my mam's voice as I read some of them, and it's great to know exactly who the people are who are pictured.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

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  7. What lovely photos of your family at a very important time in their lives. Perhaps that's why she wrote on them, because the photos were going in the mail. It's true that people dressed far more formally then...I wonder what my descendants will think of my very casual style? Thanks for sharing another insight to your family.

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    1. Thanks very much for your comments, Pauleen. It was indeed an important time for them, and I believe my mother addressed them to my father as a sort of keepsake. They were looking forward to so much, but there was a great deal of uncertainty too. Her words are a way of holding onto a precious moment.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

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  8. Excellent post, sharing photos which had the personal comments on the backs! The sentiment shared between your mom and dad while they were apart was evident in those comments. After all, in the 50s we knew not to be very gushy.

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    1. Thanks very much for your comments, Barbara. Those comments certainly meant a lot to my dad. When he was ill he admitted that he had felt a little frightened at the prospect of Canada, and my mother's letters and the photos she sent him uplifted him and buoyed him to take to the tasks at hand.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

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  9. I imagine your father was thrilled when he received each of these photos. I still have snapshots my mother sent my dad when he was overseas during the Korean war with the messages on the back. I know they made him homesick.

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    1. Hello Tattered and Lost, thanks very much for your comments. I feel the same way. It meant so much to my dad to receive photos, cards and letters from my mam and brother as it did for your dad t receive photos from home.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

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  10. Lovely candid shots and very useful annotations. Your mother was very stylish.

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    1. Little Nell, thanks very much for your comments. I feel the same way; my mother was indeed very stylish, in fact she was her whole life long.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer
      Jennifer

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  11. Such a lovely treasure the photographs with a message. The first one is striking with the elegant lady and the two delightful children.Wonderful memories.

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    1. Thanks very much for your comments, Titania. I feel the same way; the photographs are indeed a treasure. My mother would be charmed to be referred to as elegant.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

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Cheers, Jennifer

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