Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ready for the Prom?

My brother and I have been revisiting old pictures and gathering stories from our Dad and have  put together a couple different slideshows to tell the family story.  If the kids ever have any interest it will be there for them.

This is a photo I never saw or knew about until sometime last week.  Those who know my Dad will recognize him in his foxy straw hat and double-breasted suit, smoking the heater, and my mother is sitting in the passenger seat.  In a real convenience, the car door clearly swings wide open.  Dad's brother Kermit is standing to the right and Mom's sister Idena is on the left.

Just for a little geographic identification, we're sure the photo was taken at what Mom called "the Old Bisbee Place", where her family lived when they returned from North Dakota.  There's a story about the property in Iowa and in North Dakota, but it goes beyond the bounds of this post. Anyway, the road that you see over Kermit's left shoulder we are pretty certain is the Iowa/Minnesota State Line.

The Bisbee place is about 5 miles East of the Deer Creek Valley Lutheran Church.  Dad's maternal grandparents had a farm on the Minnesota side just across the road from Bisbee's, and he grew up on a Minnesota farm about 3 miles west of Bisbee's.  Dad met Mom at the DCV Church, worked at the Deer Creek creamery for a while after they married, and farmed just west of Deer Creek, mid-point between Deer Creek and the Minnesota farm that my great grandfather homesteaded in 1870.  When I was born in 1944 our family of five lived on "the Old Radloff Place" mid-point between my two grandfathers.  And all these points were on the State Line.

The history we've been collecting and the mapping we have done have rung my bell following my post recently about the transitions from child to parent, from those days to these.  Both sides of my family were friends back then, as this picture shows, because they lived so close together, attended the same church or school, dated each other's siblings, and so on.  The likelihood of that happening today is slim or none, with farms being sized at 700 acres and up, schools becoming county-wide and social life taking on a different turn as well.

There were 16 siblings between those two families, creating many fond memories for me at an average of four children per sibling.  I have flashbacks of a sort now that I have grandchildren in two families and they scream with excitement when the last family arrives for a family event.

Dad still has pretty good recollection on most of these things but I have yet to get the story behind this picture.  It almost looks like they're going to the Prom, although Mom and Dad had to be in their early 20s on this shot.  And she and Idena are not wearing flowers either.

Here's a real aside in this story, recalled because of that lack of a corsage . . .  For all those dances we attended in high school, when it was imperative that you buy a corsage for your date, every guy was concerned about the inappropriate placement of the corsage, because you didn't want to crush the corsage on a slow dance, but you wanted to dance close.  Remember? So the "arm corsage" became an option.

One classmate, whose name shall not be shared here, needed to buy a corsage with a Gardenia flower, perhaps because it was her favorite flower, I don't really recall.  When he picked it up at the nursery he was very taken aback because the corsage was so - o - o - o - o long!  He just knew it would cover her entire arm, and he was flustered as to whether he should give it to her.  Being the fine fellow that he was he could not refuse to pay for it, so there he was, corsage in hand - his hand - and all akilter over the right thing to do.

He wound up giving it to her and indeed it covered her arm, looking as much like a shield as a corsage.  But it was OK because that relationship came to an end, and life moved on.  It's just kind of hard to think that my Mom and Dad, or yours, may have had any of the same awkward situations.  They were just always seemingly above those things, or so we'd like to think.

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