22 May 2011

Uncle Al Must Be Nuts

Ever since my previous post, I've been studying (some would say obsessing over) that picture of my mother's brothers and sisters. The more I look at it, the more I'm convinced that my Uncle Al can't be right. Those kids can't be who he says they are.

If you're bored by my fixation on old family photos, now would be a good time to go read something else.

For one thing, it looks to me like the third kid from the right in that photo is a boy. Uncle Al says it's my Aunt Virginia, but if so, she's got a boy's haircut, and she's wearing shorts. If this is 1927, give or take a couple of years, girls don't wear pants, even to play outside.

Another reason I think Uncle Al must have his siblings scrambled is that there's another photo, with some of the same kids in it. I don't know when it was taken, but I'd guess maybe a year or so later. In this one, I'm pretty sure I know who's who.

In the center is my grandmother, Helen Catherine, looking, if I may say so, like a woman who's had twelve children. Around her, clockwise from the top:

Marie Helen (my mother)
Virginia (scowling at camera)
James Carl
Harriet Ann (sitting next to g'ma)
Corrine Audrey
Pat Mae (on grandma's lap)
Alfred Paul

The Alfred Paul, in this picture, looks very much like the third kid from the right in the other photo. The one Uncle Al said was a girl. I don't think it was a girl. I'm thinking it was Uncle Al.

If that's true, the other picture couldn't have been taken in 1927, because Alfred Paul wasn't born until March of 1928. So I'm back to not knowing who the kids are in the other picture, but here's my guess: let's say, instead of 1927, it was taken around 1934. Let's say all the kids in the picture were siblings, not neighbors. And let's say that the girl 4th from the right, scowling at the camera, is Virginia, because my mom says that in every family picture she ever saw, Virginia was scowling at the camera. I'm pretty sure the girl third from the left is my Aunt Harriet, and despite Uncle Al's assertions to the contrary, the boy third from the right is Alfred Paul. The others might be:

Pat Mae, about 1
Fred (about 18)
Harriet Ann (17)
Marie Helen (13)
George Francis (15)
Virginia (11)
Alfred Paul (6)
James Carl (8)
Corrine Audrey (2)

This still doesn't quite work. Some of the ages don't look right, and some of the kids in the first picture don't seem like they could be the kid in the second picture just a couple years later. But that's OK. I'm not sure I'm ready to have the mystery solved. I kind of like looking at the picture and wondering who those kids were.

I really need to get out more.


  1. I agree with you on this - there is no possible way the boy on the left (Fred) is 18 in that line up. I'd say 15 tops... If you count down from there, does any of it make sense?

    Reminder to all picture-taking people. LABEL YOUR PHOTOS ... YOU WILL NOT REMEMBER WHAT OR WHERE THEY ARE.

  2. LOL, my cousin and I are going through same thing. Dates don't fit, timelines off---and we both hate math. But isn't it fun??!! My partner has a pic of her folks, she google mapped image the fence in background, then area in Michigan and it is a rehab/sanitorium! Her mom is "living" there. Partner used lupe to see details and there seems to be someone hiding in bushes!! I LOVE old photos.

  3. I find old photos especially those of family interesting. Hunting down names, dates, places is intriguing.

    Keep applying logic (yeah shorts on a girl in that era?) and having fun!

    I will try to leave this comment again last night I tried numerous times with no joy.