Alan chose this rather nice 1909 photograph which features in the Flickr stream of the National Archives of Norway. He noted that if one is of a theming disposition, you might want to go to the ballet, or the dancehall, or the theatre or anywhere you find lots of chiffon and over-dramatic poses. I have some of those, but I kept going back to a more simple life. So for this 237th Sepia Saturday offering, I present the following 1930 photo.
|Fifth Grade Irish Dancers from Altamont Elemetary School, Klamath Falls, Oregon|
May 7, 1930
To me, this has always been an interesting photo that was taken at the end of one phase of life and the beginning of another. My mother, Ruth Sigford, was the dark-haired girl, 2nd from the right. At this time, my mother lived with her parents, her younger sister Gail, her older brother Clem, and one of her older twin sisters on what they called the "McQueen" place. This was a nice little farm located a few miles southeast of Klamath Falls and a farm where they could grow or raise most of their food.
My mother and aunt Gail told a number of stories about living at the McQueen place. Evidently, during the Prohibition years liquor was "run" out of the McQueen place and both my mother and aunt remember the basement storage for jugs of whiskey. I am sure that this was an irritant to my tea-totaling grandmother. Mother and Gail were the youngest of the family, and they remembered snuggling in their upstairs bed,deep in the quilts that Grandma pieced, and enjoying the aroma of Grandma's fresh baked bread or biscuits, and sizzling bacon. It seems that the years at the McQueen place were good years for the Sigford family. A welcome reprise from the difficult years after losing the only home they ever owned to fire, followed by several years of subsistence farming only to be wiped out by a year with no rain. Such was the life of dry-land farmers in the Klamath Basin.
The family had had a good summer of 1925, when Grandpa with his team of horses worked on "rocking" the road from Agency Lake to Klamath Falls. When they got back to Klamath Falls, Grandpa had enough money to get them situated onto the McQueen place. Grandma's life too must have been a bit easier as the children were older. During this period she had time for luxury sewing and a number of doll quilts, rugs, and such were made for my mother and aunt Gail. But all was not perfect. My uncle Clem loved football, but they lived far enough from the high school so that he couldn't get to football practice. According to his younger sisters, his life was ruined and he ran away --- tho not far. Grandpa found him the next day up, some twenty miles or so north, near Algoma, where he had "hopped" a freight train. Once Grandma's beloved Clemmie was back in the fold, she started lobbying for moving in town where Clemmie could play football -- and hopefully not run away again.
And so this picture taken at the end of the school year of 1930 marked the last year the Sigford family lived at the McQueen place. They did move to town, and although the Wall Street Crash which occurred six months before had not yet affected this part of southern Oregon, everything would again change for my mother's family. The family would no longer live on a farm with chickens, a cow, and a garden. Work became hard to find. My grandpa, nearing sixty years of age, could only find work at the CCC camps. Grandma depended on county assistance for food and clothes for her children. Their lives, like so many others, spiraled downward into poverty.
Seventy years later, on my mother's 80th birthday, our family threw yet another annual birthday bash for our mother, complete with skits by grandchildren and great grandchildren. One of the acts, was a re-enactment of these Irish dancers of my mother's childhood. She laughed and told stories, and commented that our quick- homemade-makeshift costumes were not quite like the one she remembered. However the circle was brought full close in the joy and laughter of the Irish jig.
Sepians have for our entertainment.
~ ~ ~
Sepians have for our entertainment.
~ ~ ~
© Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications