Saturday, January 12, 2013

Septia Saturday: 2013 January 12, Bathing Suits and Beaches

I have followed  Sepia Saturday for quite awhile, but never quite got my act together to participate.  The 159 topic is about bathing suits and beaches, so I immediately thought of the following pictures from my archives.
Aggie McPherson Fiske,
my grandfather's sister, at
Crow Wing Lake, MN
From the Archives of JGH & Roots"n"Leaves

Aunt Aggie, as she was known in my family, was standing barefoot at the edge of Crow Wing Lake in northern Minnesota and fully clothed.   The occasion was a big family get-together in the summer of 1918, when she was about 30 years old.  I can't imagine Aunt Aggie in a bathing suit, but from the pictures of this family gathering, her dress was frilly and light in comparison to most of the heavy, full skirts and shirtwaists --  and if any of the ladies went swimming, it would have been fun loving Aggie.

My Uncle Ralph often told of swimming in the lake with his brothers, sisters and cousins.  I am pretty sure that my McPherson aunts and uncles did not have swimming suits when they were kids and  lived in Minnesota, but rather popped in the lake in their scivvies  -- or just bare "nekked", as my uncle would say.

Beach party with my Aunt Bertha (3rd from left) and
her daughter Cleona (in striped top and black trunks.

The picture to the right shows a beach party which included my Aunt Bertha (McPherson) Clouse, third lady from the left, and her daughter Cleona, in striped top and black trunis.  Bertha and her husband Cecil had a very active social life and were involved in a number of business, political and community affairs in their town of Calipatria, California.

I liked this picture as it showed a variety of bathing apparel for men, women and children.   There are several possibilities as to the location of the beach.  Although the site could be a number of southern California coastal towns,  I think the distance was too far from Calipatria.  The most likely site is the Salton Sea, a shallow, saline lake, just a couple of miles north and west of Calipatria.

Lake Hemet, in the Mt. Jacinto forest lands, was also a favorite summer time retreat.  When the temperatures soared in the desert, those who could afford to travel to the mountains did so.  Every summer, Bertha took her daughter Cleona to the mountains for a month or so.  Sometimes she also took her younger sisters, Helen, Verna, Betty and Olive Lorraine on their sojourn to the cooler mountain vacation spots.

1936, Gail, Harold and Ruth on the
banks of the Feather River near
Clio, California.
From the Archives of JGH & Roots"n"Leaves

The bathing attire in this 1936 picture to the left is very different from the southern California style in the above 1933 picture.  The picture  was taken  on the banks of the Feather River, near Clio, California, in northern California.  My father, Harold McPherson, was flanked by his young sister-in-law, Gail Sigford and my mother, Ruth Sigford McPherson.  My father and mother (and me)  had traveled from Stockton to Clio to visit my Sigford grandparents and Gail.

I am not sure if there was much swimming done on this visit.  The Feather River is cold; my mother couldn't swim and was afraid of the water; and I never knew my father to swim, but possibly he learned some rudimentary strokes in Minnesota. Gail, however, was a beautiful swimmer and moved effortlessly through the water- like an otter.

A sunny day for my mother Ruth and her first grandchild Lois
From the Archives of JGH & Roots"n"Leaves

Fast forward thirty years, and here is my mother, Ruth,with her first grandchild, our oldest daughter, Lois.  The two of them are sunning themselves on the dock at the Hill's family cabin at Lake of the Woods, located in the Cascade Mts. between Medford and Klamath Falls, Oregon.  Although mother did learn to swim, she was never very comfortable on the water - and certainly not in small boats, such as the canoe to the right.

NOTE:  What a fun project to do on a cold winter day.  Here in the hills of southern Oregon, the sun is shining on the snowy hillsides, the trees are tipped in white, but I only thought of warm beaches in Minnesota, California and Oregon.  What a nice way to spend the morning.

~ ~ ~
 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications


  1. Lovely photos Joan. I especially like the big group photos, perhaps as we "never" went to the beach in groups. I like them swimming nekked..kids love that. My granddaughter has enough swimsuits to fil a shop but they do have a pool in their yard. My mother never did learn to swim.

  2. You've made a great start to Sepia Saturday; I hope we'll see many more of your posts. You've discovered the power of old photographs to transport you to a different time and place.

    By the way, you may not be aware that you have word verification switched on; most of us on SS have switched it off with no ill effects - as long as you have moderation enabled. It can sometimes put people off making a comment.

  3. I am so glad you have joined us. And what wonderful old photographs as well. A classic Sepia Saturday post, one which will be enjoyed by all our other members as well, I am sure.

  4. Welcome to Sepia Saturday! Dang, I live between Sunriver and La Pine, and you are the nearest Sepian to me; I am thrilled.

    I was reading all of your names, and many are the same as those in my family back in Arkansas. My Grandma is Agnes, my Dad is Ralph, my Great-Uncle is Cecil and I think that we have a Bertha someplace. I loved all of the pictures and stories that you posted today.

    Oh, my husband grew up on the Trinity River, and I have posted many pictures of his family on my blog, as well as my family (Drain and Eugene and Junction City).

    I am your newest follower and am happy to meet you!

    Kathy M.

    1. How nice to hear from you, Kathy. I grew up in Klamath Falls and spent quite a bit of time at Sun River and points on the east side of the Cascades.

      Sounds like we have connections in similar areas, as my sis and a niece live in the Eugene area. Maybe our paths might cross one day -- other than the internet. Looking forward to reading your posts and getting to know you.

  5. Welcome! Seems like this week's prompt encouraged several to take the plunge and join in. Thinking of sunny days at the beach is wonderful during the winter.

  6. So glad you have joined us and with such a fascinating post. Im impressed that you can be so sure of the dates and locations. This is not always easy to do so long after the actual event.

    1. Thanks for the welcome, Bob. It was easy to date the pictures as each came from a group which included a baby --- if you know the baby, they make it really easy to date the pictures. Thank god for little babies, so to say.

  7. Welcome to Sepia Saturday. Your post is so full of detail and great pictures. I look forward to more Saturdays with you.

  8. Very evocative photos - welcome to Sepia Saturday and thanks for sharing them.

  9. It seems this weeks' Sepia Saturday serves like a magnet to many Aunties. Auntie Miriam will be happy with all this company from all over the globe :) Welcome to SS, Joan!

  10. Thank you for the warm welcome, Peter. And a toast to Aunties, here and there and wherever.

  11. Welcome! We are happy to have you join us.

    You're so right, Sepia Saturday projects can warm up the coldest day, or even cool us down on the hottest.

    Your photos are lovely, and I love your description of fun-loving Aggie. I suspect there may be a streak of that in you. Am I right?


  12. Interesting contrast between the 1933 and 1936 styles for men.

    1. The years in which the pictures are pretty accurate, what with the ages of kids involved and happenings. I think the difference in the styles for men, and actually women too, may have been the difference between the more affluent San Diego/southern California crowd and the working-class, more rural folks of northern California.