A Family Picnic, 1918

Dear Readers,

My Dad was going through some old family photos recently, and ran across some fabulous 100-year-old snapshots of my great-grandfather, his parents & maternal grandfather, and some other relatives/family friends on a picnic in upstate New York!  

  July 4, 1918. Great-Grandpa George (front right, holding out his glass) wrote on the back of this shot, "On the Goodwin Road" and then carefully listed out the names of each and every person in the photo, in nice black ink.  Photography was Great-Grandpa's (shown here during his college days) big hobby, and he documented everything nicely, thank heavens. 

July 4, 1918. Great-Grandpa George (front right, holding out his glass) wrote on the back of this shot, "On the Goodwin Road" and then carefully listed out the names of each and every person in the photo, in nice black ink.  Photography was Great-Grandpa's (shown here during his college days) big hobby, and he documented everything nicely, thank heavens. 

Doesn't that look elegant?  It feels like they stepped right out of Downton Abbey, gentlemen in their starched white shirts and ties, ladies in frilly frocks (hats carefully hung on a fencepost in the background).  My Great-Great-Great-Grandpa P. (seated on the fence, rear) even brought a newspaper along!  They have little baskets and pails to carry the picnic spread, a glass decanter for the drinks and real glass cups, and just look like they're having a grand old time.  Doesn't that make you want to go on a picnic?

  A snapshot Great-Grandpa George took when they arrived at the picnic site, gentlemen in full three-piece suits and ladies showing off their magnificent summer hats...love those hats, ladies!  

A snapshot Great-Grandpa George took when they arrived at the picnic site, gentlemen in full three-piece suits and ladies showing off their magnificent summer hats...love those hats, ladies!  

When I think of 1918, I think of World War I still raging on in Europe ("In Flanders fields the poppies blow/Between the crosses, row on row"), and of the Spanish flu ravaging the world.  And yet, life went on as usual for at least some, although I'd imagine that most of my family members (shown here) experienced loss from one or the other of these two devastating events.  History books often leave out the good times, the laughter, focusing solely on the notable wars, battles, and plagues.  

There were good times, too!  That's life for you, an ongoing juxtaposition of pain and suffering and laughter and love (and even some goofing off):

  Great-Grandpa George (standing, wrapped in a blanket) wrote on the back of this snapshot, "Herbert  [far right, seated] -  wigwam keeper; George - Indian standing!"  This shot provides a better view of the scrumptious picnic, which looks like it involved some fluffy homemade biscuits and fried chicken.  Is that cider in the glass jug?

Great-Grandpa George (standing, wrapped in a blanket) wrote on the back of this snapshot, "Herbert [far right, seated] - wigwam keeper; George - Indian standing!"  This shot provides a better view of the scrumptious picnic, which looks like it involved some fluffy homemade biscuits and fried chicken.  Is that cider in the glass jug?

Are y'all ready to dig out your suits, best summer frocks, and biggest sun hats, and head out on a July 4th picnic now?  Let's go!

Yours Truly,

Sarah

P.S. A huge thanks to my Dad for sharing these fabulous photos! 

 

Hello To My Readers: Québec!

  A beautiful café in Montreal, where my mother liked to stop for coffee when she and my dad were living there in 2014

A beautiful café in Montreal, where my mother liked to stop for coffee when she and my dad were living there in 2014

Dear Readers,

My web hosting site, Squarespace, recently started providing me with a big map of the world for analytic purposes, showing me what parts of the globe my readers are accessing Four Cats In The Kitchen from!  I have no idea how Squarespace does this, but it is definitely a cool feature. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to start saying hello to y'all out there in the Big Wide World, and to thank you for reading. 

The very first shout-out goes to my readers in Québec--bonjour!  My parents were sent to Montreal for work a few years back, and wow--GORGEOUS city!  Beautiful cafés, lovely local markets with super-fresh produce...I was ready to move there.  Although it looks like it gets really, really cold in the winter.  From the pictures my folks sent me, Montreal looks like the city stepped right out of France, very European, with delightful architecture and a walkable layout (including lots of public transit and massive underground markets).  

The French influence in Québec is so charming--I love French culture, food, and customs!  My mother found it a little less charming, though, when she realized she'd have to learn French just to be able to read the street signs to get around town.  Nevertheless, learn French she did (and some of the linguistic variety spoken in the province, Québécois, which is practically a language of its own)!   I thought she adapted really well to life in Montreal: Mom's quite the world traveler, and loves exploring new places. And her ability to master new languages is pretty impressive.

My dad tells a funny story of how every time he'd walk to work in the morning during the winter, he would find colorful little doggie booties along his route: you know how those chemicals they put down to melt ice on sidewalks make dogs' paws sting?  Well, the locals solved that problem by putting little canvas booties with velcro straps on their dogs' feet, to protect them from the chemicals, but they would always fall off again while the dogs were out on walks. 

Yours Truly,

Sarah