November 10, 2012

Sepia Saturday #151: Sisters On Tour

My Great Aunt Lucy Bates, and my Grandmother, Katie Harris (nee McNeil)


Oh, I struggled with this week's prompt; indeed, I did!

At last, I have managed to forge a connection between the image of ladies at a busy switchboard, with this photo which I  believe must have been taken around the same time.

It's the clothes that led me to this conclusion - those triangular lapels and the 3/4 length, A-line coats.

I'm told by my mother that this photo was taken at the Peterborough Lift-Lock in the 1940s.

Shortly after my aunt (and God-mother), Kay was married in 1945, she and her husband William (Bill) Hawley moved from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, to Peterborough, Ontario where Bill had just landed a job with General Electric.

Unfortunately, when Kay got pregnant, her first child John, did not survive and afterwards, my grandmother came up to Ontario to spend some time with her.

Apparently, my Grandmother(b.1896) and her older sister, Lucy (b. 1894) were very close and often traveled together.  Lucy came on this trip up to Ontario to be of help to Kay and to keep Katie company.

There wouldn't have been much to see in Peterborough, Ontario, in the 40s, so it's no surprise that they ended up visiting the huge (and somewhat famous) lift-lock (completed in 1904) on the Trent river.

Incidentally, my mom says that her aunt Lucy was a milliner who had a hat-shop in downtown Glace Bay.  She was reputed to be one of the best-dressed ladies in town.  Lucy, had "the loveliest skin" because she used to rinse her face with lemon juice every day.  (I must try that.)

I'm a little surprised that neither Lucy, nor Katie is wearing a hat. On the other hand, if Lucy WAS a milliner, this could well explain my own personal fetish for them.

Now, luck proves to be on my side yet again, as I have just discovered through a Voter List for Glace Bay in 1940, that Lucy had a daughter who was a switchboard operator! This list also indicates that Lucy was a "dressmaker".  Perhaps the millinery business came later.

Woo hoo! How's that for tying things together?


Check out these links and you'll find a photo of the lock as it was in the early 1900s, and also a wonderful sepia photograph of three of the men who built it.

Archives of Ontario

The Eco-Senior blog

Here's what the locks look like today:


Don't forget to visit the Sepia Saturday blog and read all the wonderful results from this prompt:


34 comments:

  1. I think it's a wonderful tie in, after a walk through some interesting and sad time after the loss of a new baby. But I think I shall give that lemon juice a try, Ha! Ha! It's so funny the things they did back then with staples right out of the cupboard- no big expensive facial supplies for our parents and their parents. My mother used to rinse my hair with vinegar! For that extra shine, or???

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    1. Thanks, Karen. Yes, I think vinegar would have been for shine, all those old tricks,eh? You used to be able to buy a shampoo called BODY ON TAP in the 70s; it had BEER in it! They don't sell it anymore, strangely.

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  2. You found a link to the theme! It is funny how some come so easily and other are almost impossible. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey to the prompt.

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    1. What's even funnier, Liz, is how I struggled to find a catchy subtitle ( unsuccessfully, I think). Any suggestions?

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  3. Hi Kat: I noticed your blog has been "discovered" by Geneabloggers. You're part of the crowd now :) Welcome!
    And as far as tying this week's theme and your post together, I notice you have been saved by the bell. That's what we call a late call :) (Sorry, pun intended.)

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    1. Hi Peter,

      I have been seeing the Geneabloggers badge on sites for a while and decided to take the plunge. I sent th an e- mail to be approved. Happily, they did!

      You're fast becoming my Punniest Online Friend!

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    2. Finally I have something to add to my name on my business card: Peter A.Th. Miebies P.O.F.

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  4. You tie everything together perfectly. But whether it is your family history posts, your poetry or your cookery blogs - everything is always tied together perfectly. Sepia Saturday has gone from strength to strength during your stewardship. Thanks again Kat.

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    1. Well, thank you Alan! Sometimes I feel a bit stretched, but I think I've finally found a good balance.
      Re: Sepia Saturday

      I was happy to do it, and really enjoyed the task, and getting my feet wet in the SS sea again.

      Kat

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  5. PS Only now do I notice your Aunt Lucy's remarkable right shoe :)

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    1. You'll laugh when I tell you that I actually went back to the photograph to have another look at that "shoe"!

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  6. I used to play cricket for Peterborough (England) which sits on the River Nene. Its bridges are nowhere near as impressive as that lift bridge in Canada - thanks for the links.
    For a moment I thought Lucy was shackled to that bollard.

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    1. Thanks for that bit of info, Bob; it will no doubt come in handy when we're watching our nightly dose of your game-show POINTLESS (online).

      "Bollard", great word, that!

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  7. What a fun picture of your grandmother and great aunt! And it's funny what Peter said about Lucy's right shoe. I had to take a closer look because at first I thought something was on her foot.

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    1. I hadn't paid any attention until Peter's eagle-eyes spotted it. Now the shoe seems to have taken on a life of its own!

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  8. A great use of the theme. I thought it was an odd boot too. The lock is also an impressive bit of engineering.

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    1. Thank you, Mike. I drive myself to distraction sometime, but I do try to stay with the theme. It's not necessary, of course, but my A-type personality demands it!

      Impressive engineering? Indeed it is!

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  9. Ah-ah, wicked the way the mind works, given a little luck and persistence. Good tie with the theme!! Lemon juice?!? Only if you moisturize with some heavy duty cream. My maternal grandma believed in moisturizing with lard (saindoux in French). She had beautiful skin. Her use of this may have stemmed from the 1929 crash, as money was not spent on frivolity and she had a few kids to raise... I'm only speculating here, but it seems the only reasonable explanation why someone would smear lard on her face.
    :D~
    HUGZ

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  10. Now that is interesting, TB, because the French word, "saindoux" is ringing a bell for me, and I don't know that I've read too many lard boxes. Could it have another meaning as well?

    Regardless, I think pork fat is the last thing I would put in my face. They had some odd ideas in those days, but I guess, "needs must" eh?

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    1. Isn't it something like Crisco? I don't use this stuff but it used to be quite popular, back in the days.
      :)~
      HUGZ

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    2. It IS lard! The weird thing is, that French word just sticks in my mind. I have a very strange brain that holds onto the most bizarre things for decades! "Saindoux" just rings a very large bell!

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    3. Perhaps we ougtha leave your brain some mystery and not reveal too much. But who knows, you may yet have an Eureka moment and recal what it is about Saindoux that you think you remember.
      ;)~
      HUGZ

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  11. I join Peter and Jana in thinking Lucy was wearing a big ol' fat slipper. I kept waiting for a story on how she broke a toe or something. That aside, I enjoyed this humorous post with its history, family story, and beauty tips.

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    1. No such story, Wendy. Now if I had been the one in the picture, most likely I would have fallen in the canal or something!

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  12. It looks a bit chilly so I imagine they loved those coats. :-)
    Regards,
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

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  13. Yes, Theresa, I bet it was! And those coats were probably wool and very well made!

    Thanks for the visit,

    Kat

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  14. They look like they are out for a day at large. I love the pose with arm in arm...slowly I am getting through Sepia on Monday... a few more to go..

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    1. Yes, Pat, I love that arm-in-arm pose too! And I am SO late that even if I do respond, lots of people won't even see it!

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  15. I'm late getting through all the posts as well.... It takes a bit of time to get through 31 + our own. I enjoyed the lovely pictures of the sisters. Their fondness for one another shines through.

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    1. I know. I'm finally caught up. Hurray!

      Thanks, Kathy. I think so too.

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  16. I think the subtitle was appropriate and loved the last minute tie in with a phone operator. The lock in impressive.

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    1. Yes, that last minute find was a surprise, but it made me feel better about it all.

      Thanks, Kristin.

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  17. So the lift-lock was the local tourist attraction, huh? I like the way you circled the post back around to the theme at the end! :-)

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    1. Thanks Teresa, it was a neat trick, but totally accidental!

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