Saturday, December 12, 2009


This file is a cumulative archive of “Vic’s Photos” that have previously appeared in the righthand column of this blog.  The photos have been changed every week since July 2009, and, because they aren’t automatically saved on the blog, I’ve decided to store the old ones here for a new viewer’s potential interest.  Updated additions will continue to be made from time to time as photos are posted.  My dad, Vic L., was an excellent photographer who documented a lot of our family’s world from the late 30’s to the late 50’s and beyond.  My brother Peter restored and shared with our family many of these images from Vic’s original negatives, and his project is the source of the photos contained here.    

STEVE AND MARGIE (posted 5-17-10)

Steve and Margie met as college students during spring break vacation in Florida.  My recollection is that they fell in love on the spot.  Steve was going to Northern Michigan U., and I believe Margie was at Carroll.  They married after college graduation.  As you can see in the photo, Margie was darling and Steve was handsome.  I’d say they were the most fun couple in our family, had a wide circle of friends, and were wonderful dancers.  They moved to a Detroit suburb when Steve entered Law School at Wayne State, and, because I was finishing up graduate work an Ann Arbor, we were able to get together numerous times.  Many good memories. 

BATHING BEAUTIES (posted 5-10)

An enjoyable thing about growing up on the Menominee River is that, once we reached our teens, our family home became a frequent gathering place for our friends for picnicking and particularly for swimming.  My friend Bob A. helped us build a fancy raft floated on empty oil drums, and we spent many hours cavorting in the river.  These are three of our female friends from those days: (from left to right) Sally F., Nancy J., and Sally H.  I grew up in the same Ogden Avenue house with Sally F. (her family on the first floor, ours on the second) and she is my oldest friend in my life.  The two Sally’s were best of buddies.  Sally H. was the head cheerleader at Menominee High, and Nancy J. was the head majorette for the school marching band.  We had a really good friendship group throughout our high school years.


This photo is from our front lawn on the Menominee River.  Needless to say, the river offered myriad adventures, and the green rowboat was our vehicle.  We’d travel along the shore to explore lagoons to the east and the west of our house, row across the river and explore Pig Island, or go west to Pig Island’s tip and enter the mysterious channel, a silent place inhabited by blue heron, lilypads, and ever-present deadheads from the logging days some seventy years before.  I enjoyed reading about Huck Finn’s Mississippi adventures as a teenager because it reminded me of growing up on the river.


Jean and Margaret Worth were close friends of my parents and were integral members of their friendship circle.  Jean was the editor of the Herald-Leader newspaper in Menominee, was wellknown as a historian of the U.P., and owned a large tract of land outside Cedar River, about thirty miles north of the city.  Cedar River developed as part of the logging industry in the U.P. in the late 1800’s, and the whole region is forest land.  The Worth hunting camp was the site of many gatherings of family friends, and we kids spent a lot of time roaming through the forests with their gigantic cedar trees.  When the boys turned 16, they joined the men at deer hunting camp in November.  We’d go to our hunting stations at 5 a.m., rifles in hand, and watch for deer on the trail.  I never saw one, nor am I aware that anyone in our group ever shot at a deer.  We did, however, enjoy Jean Worth’s wonderful stories about Cedar River people and the camaraderie that goes along with the hunt.

GEORGE AND VICKI (circa 1970)  (posted 4-19)

Vicki came to the University of Michigan as a freshman in 1965, about a year before I was to depart from Ann Arbor to my new job in Cincinnati.  There’s a ten year age gap between us, but we’ve always been very simpatico and enjoyed being at Michigan together.  It was a turbulent time, and Ann Arbor was a national center of political protest and radical politics.  All of our lives were pretty unsettled as a consequence.  Vicki met George in an elevator in Haven Hall around her junior year.  She was a Psych major; he was a Ph.D. student in Political Science.  They’d dated for a while by the time that Katja and I drove up from Cincinnati for one of our occasional visits.  We all went out together for dinner and dancing at a local restaurant, and we felt certain that Vicki and George were made for one another.  George worshipped Vicki, and he was a very steadying influence in her life.  Many good things came to pass in their lives (most of all children Jacob, Rhys, and Abra). 

DORIS AND VICKI (circa 1949) (posted 4-12)

Here’s our mom and her last-born child and only daughter, Vicki.  Vicki looks about two in this photo.  After three boys – David, Steven, and Peter – my parents were thrilled by the birth of their first and only daughter, and she occupied a special place in the family ever after.  While we older brothers could be pushy at times, we regarded Vicki as special too, and we all had very strong ties which extended into adulthood.  Of the four children, Vicki was closest to Doris, and this had some rewarding effects as well as some conflictful ones. 

DORIS L (circa 1935-37) (posted 4-5)

My mother was very pretty, and my father took many admiring photos of her.  She and my dad had a wonderful circle of friends, and they enjoyed a social life in small town Menominee that I’ve never seen elsewhere.  All sorts of theme parties (e.g., costume parties, art parties, poetry parties, jazz parties, etc.), community theater, organizing great books discussion groups, bringing musical groups to town.  In her younger adult years my mom was very outgoing, socially adept, fun, and a great hostess.  We were lucky offspring in many ways.

PETER AND DAVE (circa 1958) (posted 3-29)

This is my younger brother Peter (about 13) and myself (around 21) at Christmas vacation in Menominee.  My dad had bought the 1952 Buick for me from my friend  Bob  A’s uncle, and I was getting ready to drive it back to school in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  My beret was Katja’s doing.  As a French major at Antioch, she thought it gave me style and a bohemian air.  It didn’t really fit in Menominee though.  Peter’s hair style was avant garde, but he would soon progress to more radical extremes (a la Elvis). 

DORIS AND STEVE IN MILWAUKEE (circa 1951) (posted 3-22)

This is my mom and my younger brother Steven on, I believe, a trip to Milwaukee.  Green Bay, Milwaukee, and Chicago were the big city destinations from our Upper Peninsula small town.  Steve and I grew up together.  I was the shyer of us two older brothers and more of a loner, while Steve and Doris were outgoing and sociable.  In adulthood Steve enjoyed a kidding relationship with our mother, but one always accompanied by heartfelt love.

VIC IN HIS CAP (posted 3-15-10)

This is my dad, Vic L.  He was a complex, interesting, unique person.  Bright, well-read, engaged with many different pursuits, shy but still socially assertive.  He often held his feelings in, just as he’s crossing his arms in this photo.  He joked that he liked to wear a cap to keep his brains from leaking out.  My dad regularly made fun of the English language, inventing his own words and phrases in pidgin French or Swedish.  He loved nature, conversation, music, and all of the arts.  He was a lawyer, municipal judge, and prosecuting attorney in Menominee.  Plus a father, husband, friend, and community supporter. When I was a child, I fantasied that my dad might become President one day, but I don’t think it was his inclination.  

DORIS LAUGHS, VICKI AND PETER SMILE (circa 1953)  (posted 3-8)

Doris is laughing heartily, while her children are amused but more restrained.  My mom’s later years were difficult, plagued by ill health and numerous problems, but her early and middle adulthood were filled with joy.  Having fun was one of her central life values, and I think that she was disappointed that her children (at least some of them) didn’t fully achieve this, though I’ve known very few people who had as much fun as my parents and their friends. 

FAMILY TENSION (circa 1969) (posted 3-1-10)

This might well be my favorite family picture.  My brother Peter took it in Ann Arbor in the late 60’s during a time when our family was beset with generation gap strain, e.g., our small town conservative Republican parents, on the one hand, and Vicki and George riding the crest of the counter-culture at the other.  I project into this photo some long lost confrontation between my mother, Doris, and Vicki in her hippie garb, mother initiating the issue at hand, and daughter defending herself.  My dad stands aside stolidly, eyes hidden by sunglasses and hands in pockets, while George is intently attuned to Vicki, ready to lend his support.  My sister-in-law Faith in the background looks vexed and stymied as a daughter-in-law.  While we all loved one another, this scene repeated itself for at least a decade or two, then finally abated.

HIPPY PROF (posted 2-22)

That’s me as an untenured assistant professor of social psychology in the early 1970’s.  It’s a little hard to recall right now.  Katja started persuading me to grow my hair long when I was 20 and wore a World War II era crewcut.  The mustache and goatee were partly my idea since, without some facial hair, I looked younger than most of my students.  Those were the days.

SOFTBALL PLAYERS, circa 1951 (posted 2-15)

Our front yard at river house was a sports palladium.  This is me batting, Steve catching.  We played football in the yard, golf, basketball (in the back yard at the garage), archery, did high-jumping, threw horseshoes, ran races, snow-shoed, and had acorn fights.  In good weather, we spent most of our time outdoors, and our forest surroundings offered endless diversions.

CIRCUS (posted 2-8)

The traveling circus came to town every summer, and it was one of the community’s biggest events.  They held a parade down Ogden Avenue,with elephants, clowns, and many other wonderful things.  The morning of opening day, my parents would wake us at sunrise, and our family would all go down to the fairgrounds (now the airport) and watch the trainers and their elephants erect the tents.  Setting up the circus was almost as exciting as the circus itself, and it was the most amazing day of our young lives.

GEORGE AND VICKI, circa 1972 (posted 2-1)

This is George and Vicki at river house in about 1972.  Our son J is in the foreground, undoubtedly puzzled by his rambunctious relatives.  George, a serious and deep-thinking person, also had an ever-present zany side, inspired in part, I’m sure, by childhood exposure to the Marx brothers.  Vicki was filled with fun too, though she often counterbalanced George’s exuberance by showing her serious side.  We began having annual family reunions in Menominee about this time, with Vicki and George coming from Toronto and then Santa Cruz, Steve and family from Seattle, Peter and family from their many different abodes, and Katja, J, and myself from Cincinnati.  We got along really well as a family, and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as much before or since.


The Ideal Dairy was located on Highway 577, Menominee’s westward city limit, and we would pass within a block of it each time we traveled to and from town.  My father was a dedicated ice cream fan, and we were raised to believe that ice cream was a dairy product and one of the healthiest foods available.  We made regular family expeditions after supper to the “Idol” where we were allowed to select any size ice cream cone so long as we ate the whole thing.  Since the price was two dips for a nickel, we couldn’t go too deeply in debt.  About age thirteen I began riding my bike for the two mile trip to school and back, and, if I had a little change, I would stop at the Ideal Dairy.  I got to the point where I could ride one-handed and eat six dips of Lemon Flake simultaneously.  It’s one of the most pleasing memories of my life.

VICKI AND KIERA MAKE THE BIG TIME (circa 1961)  (posted 1-18-10)

This is a picture of Kiera O’Hara and Vicki L. on the local Uncle Tom Show in Marinette.  They'd been studying tap dancing with Julie Johnson (one of Vic's friends), and they report being excited and nervous about debuting their talents on television (though looking quite cool in the photo).  Kiera recalls having silver cardboard top hats with their dancing outfits.  Vicki writes, “What I remember best was my favorite step called the "\’shuffling buffalo’ .... I can perform it well to this day and sometimes can't resist demonstrating my tap dancing skills in the most surprising settings.”

FATHER & SON (1939)  (posted 1-11-10)

I always find these late 1930’s photos of my father, here at age 31, puzzling and amusing, since he always looks like a Trotskyite.  Nothing could be further from the truth, since his mother was a high-ranking official in the Wisconsin Republican Party and Vic followed in her footsteps.  We appear to have some shared focus of attention, Vic with more of a sense of urgency and of angst, while I look a bit reserved but calm.  Perhaps this is meant to be a photo of father and son moving forward to the future, father carrying the son, but anxious about what awaits them out there in this depression era, while the more naïve son is mildly curious.

STEVE & PETER PLAY CAROMS, circa 1955 (posted 1-4-09)

My younger brothers Steve and Peter L. are playing caroms in the living room at river house.  Probably about 1955 (Steve, 14; Peter 10).  The children in our family were pretty competitive with one another, and you can see the seriousness with which these players approached the game.  Steve became an outstanding pool player as he grew up, the leader among his peers, and Peter was pretty good too.  Caroms was a favorite family game, and I still think nostalgically about buying a carom board whenever I see one at the flea market.

SALLY HENES (posted 12-29-09)

I sat right behind Sally in Mr. Robare's 7th grade core class, and we soon became friends.  One day when we fooled around too much, Mr. Robare put me in the cloakroom and Sally in the outside hallway, but we communicated by knocking in secret code through the door.  Sally had a great personality and an infectious laugh.  She was my first date to a school Holly Hop dance in the 9th grade, and I was embarrassed when my fathere showed up at her house beforehand to photograph the event.  Sally became the head cheerleader in high school and was a leader of our social clique.  When Katja came to visit me in Madison in 1957, Sally arranged for her to stay in her UW dorm.  I was really happy to see her at our recent 50th high school reunion.  

MARTINA AND PAT STEFFKE (circa 1950) (posted 12-21-09)

The Steffkes were part of my parents’ close friendship group.  Martina was from Austria.  Pat met her in Europe at the end of World War II, married her, and they came back together to Menominee.  They operated the local dry cleaning shop, and later Pat became an insurance agent.  Skipper Burke and I thought Martina was the most beautiful woman we’d ever seen.  I believe that she had trained as an opera singer in Austria.  I can still vividly recall the night in our Wells Ave. apartment when my dad (Navy), Pat (Army), and Mike O’Hara (Marines) returned from the war, and the three couples got together for a joyous reunion.  Pat and Martina were very warm and generous people.  In their older years Pat and my dad had season tickets to the Menominee High School football games.  After Pat passed away, Katja and I visited Martina in her Green Bay shore home on each of our annual visits to Menominee.

MOTHER AND SON (posted 12-21-09).  Vic brought an artist’s eye and craft to his photography, and this portrait of my mother Doris and myself (age 2) is a good example.  This was taken in our Ogden Avenue apartment.  While I have no primal memories going back this far, life looks pretty idyllic at this early juncture.

ARTISTS AT HUNTING CAMP (posted 12-7-09)   For years Vic and his group of male friends maintained an oil painting group in which they picked given local subjects of common interest, and everyone generated a painting employing their own style.  Here, it’s birch trees on the bank of the Cedar River.  The participants, from left to right, are Vic Mars, Jean Worth, John Sargent, and Bill Caley.  Vic M., John, and Bill were local business executives, all of whose families lived at Northwood Cove on Green Bay, and Jean was the editor of the Menominee Herald-Leader.  I’m pretty sure the photo was taken at Jean’s hunting camp.  As amateurs, this was a pretty accomplished group, and my dad passed along his art interests to his offspring.

FAMILY FRIENDS AT RIVER HOUSE, CIRCA 1958 (posted 11-30--09)   These are the respective kids of Vic and Doris L. and of Mike and Jean O’Hara.  The front row (from the left) includes Sean O., Vicki L., Kevin (Kiera) O., and Peter L.  The back row is Michael Dennis O., Steve L., Dave L., and Terry O.  Our families were best friends, and the O’Hara’s visited our house or we their’s multiple times a week.  Terry and I were close friends, as were Steven and Michael Dennis.  Vicki and Kevin were best best friends and as tightly knit as young girls could be.  Vicki’s great aspiration at this age was to become a nun.  We did a lot of swimming in the river and Green Bay and general mischief-making in the great outdoors.

RIVER HOUSE (1942)  (posted 11-23-09)   This photo was taken shortly after the completion of river house.  The adult is my grandfather, V.A.L. Sr., and the barely distinguishable kid to the right near the water is me at age 5.  The newly created yard looks barren compared to the home we grew up in.  The small trees grew to 30 or 40 feet by my late teens: two evergreens, a weeping willow, another large evergreen, birch trees near the river bank, and a tall poplar.  My mother planted a lengthy garden next to the stone wall., and my dad and his friends erected a tall flag pole by the garden.  The lawn was our football field, baseball diamond, golf fairway, and terrain for acorn wars.  The structure in the distance in mid-river was built by a logging company in the late 19th or early 20th century for use in the industry’s log drives.  Pig Island is to the right, Riverside Cemetery is located among the trees toward the left, and the town of Menominee begins on the other side of those trees, whereas Marinette is to the right.  Though I’m undoubtedly biased, I think this is the most beautiful spot on the Menominee River.

FAMILY PORTRAIT (1947)   Family photo on front lawn of river house (from left): Vic (39), Peter (3), David (10), Steven (6), Vicki (0.5), Doris (37.  My dad set up the camera on a tripod, then triggered a delay gadget and ran back into the picture.  Looks like sweet Vicki will have to grow up in a group of older and bigger brothers, though she will enjoy a special status.

VICKI AT THE HAMMOND CHORD ORGAN (posted 11-16)   When I was a teenager, my parents bought a Hammond Chord Organ which occupied the west wall of the living room at River House.  With a chord organ, one played a melody with one’s right hand, while pushing buttons for the accompanying chords on one’s left (A major, C minor, etc.). We had a lot of different chord organ books which covered a lot of standards from the first half of the twentieth century.  Old Buttermilk Sky, Elmer’s Tune, and Way Down Upon the Suwanee River are the first pieces that come to mind.  Vicki and I were the most serious organ players in the family.  I still have our chord organ books, some of which have Vicki’s notations, evaluating various pieces.  As I type this on my PC, the chord organ is a few feet to my left, though my room is such a terrible mess that I couldn’t play it without doing some major cleaning up.

STEVEN L., Age 19.   (posted 11-9-09)   Steve was born in Feb., 1941, 3 ½ years after me, and followed by Peter in 1945 and Vicki in 1947.  Thus our family sort of had two birth cohorts, Steve and myself, then Vicki and Peter.  This photo was taken in Yellow Springs in August 1960 at Katja’s and my wedding.  Steve, looking very handsome, was my best man.  He’d just finished a freshman year at the University of Michigan, where he’d belonged to a fraternity and had a wonderful time (probably too good since it led to his eventual transfer to Northern Michigan).  If I was a quiet, shy young man, Steve, as the second born child, was the opposite – outgoing, fun, a bit on the wild side.  We all turned out to have rewarding lives, but I’d have to say that Steve’s had more excitement than anybody else’s. 

GOLFERS AT THE STAG JAMBOREE (circa 1953)  (POSTED 10-12-09)   This is a picture of Frank St. Peter (left), myself, and Jim Jorgenson at Riverside Country Club, participating in the annual Stag Jamboree.  I was good friends with Frankie from early childhood on and with Jim J. from fifth grade on.  All our families belonged to Riverside, and we started taking golf lessons probably around age 10.  We played on weekday mornings, and it was fun, though it was rare that I would shoot par on a given hole (perhaps once every hundred holes).  I usually shot about 55.  The part I liked best was to go wading in the river and retrieve golf balls that the adults had given up as lost.  When I turned 16, my brother Steven (at age 12) began to beat me consistently, and, perturbed by the injustice of this, I bought a tennis racket and took up a new sport. 

RIVER HOUSE IN MID-WINTER, CIRCA 1952 (posted 10-5-09)   That's Mike and I walking across the Menominee River ice toward our family home.  The tall evergreens are Norway Pines, and the tall hardwoods at center right are oak trees.  The river froze solidly every year from late autumn to early spring and allowed us access to Pig Island on the opposite side or expeditions to the east or west along the shore.  In December we'd keep a skating rink cleared for a while, but snowstorms would inevitably cover it up.  When the ice went out, it made a wondrous sound of tinkling bells, and my Dad would carve the date of "Chinese Bells Day" in the wooden archway between our living and dining rooms.

VIC AND DORIS, circa late 1930’s (posted, 9-24-09)   My dad rarely appears in his photos, but here is an exception, I’d guess dating back to the late 1930’s.  I view my parents’ social world in their adulthood as richer than anybody’s that I’ve encountered since.  Living in a small U.P. town with none of the cultural resources of the big city, Vic and Doris and their friends generated their own creative sources of entertainment – music, art, community theater, great books discussion groups, theme parties, expeditions with friends, etc.  Their social group had big parties all the time, discussed the political issues of the day, boated on the Great Lakes, went to hunting camp, etc.  It’s a life style model that none of their children have approximated and reflects the unique bunch of people of which they were a part.

PETER L., AGE 15 (1960)   (posted 9-19-09)   Hair pomade was "in" in the Elvis Presley era depicted in the movie Grease, and my brother Peter L. was at the forefront.  We kidded him about his look, but he took it with a sense of humor and a definite capacity for rebellion.  Now it looks pretty good.

FAMILY PORTRAIT (1972) (POSTED 9-12-09)   Back row: Vicki, George, Steve holding Jennifer, Margie, Faith, Vic; front row: Dave holding J., Doris holding Greg, Katja.  Annual family portrait and annual family reunion at Farm in Birch Creek, MI.  Dave & Katja came from Cincinnati; Steve and Margie from Seattle; Peter and Faith (harder to track) might have come from Kansas City or Minneapolis; Vicki and George, from Santa Cruz.  Peter, not seen, took the photo.  Looks like a happy bunch, and it was.

VICKI SLEDDING ON THE MENOMINEE R. (Posted 9-4-09)  This photo was taken on the river in front of our house, probably in Dec. 1949.  The ice froze like glass to a depth of a foot or more, and, when the snow fell, we shoveled it off to make a skating rink and built a ramp of snow off the bank for sledding.  We could walk to Pig Island and back, as well as up and down the river.

DORIS IN TAXC O (posted 8-26-09)   My parents, my brother Steven, and I took a trip to Mexico City in 1951.  This was inspired in part by my taking Spanish I from Miss McNeill at Menominee High.  I was designated the family interpreter as well as being required to mail regular reports back to my Spanish class (which my peers regarded as blatant brown-nosing).  We lived in a bed and breakfast operated by a host named Jorge who my parents regarded as an angel.  We took an overnight side trip through the mountains to Taxco which was a very charming city.  We also visited Xochomilco, where we took a gondola ride and the traveling musicians claimed their songs were free after the first one, but then charged my dad $100.

XMAS 1949 AT RIVER HOUSE:  VICKI, THOR, PETER.  [Posted 8-15-09]   Throughout our childhood Christmas Eve was the major get-together time for our extended family at our house on the river.  My mom would make a big turkey dinner, or sometimes goose or ham.  My dad would take a spruce tree over to the local auto body shop and have it painted white or blue for our artistic Xmas tree.  Uncle Kent & Aunt Millie would bring their kids, Thor, Stewart, & Kurt.  Uncle Ralph & Aunt Martha would bring our cousins, Ann & John.  Kent & Ralph usually brought presents from their respective drug stores.  Uncle Karl, the only bachelor in the group, would drive up from Neenah-Menasha, and, while everybody else was more moderate in their gift-giving, Uncle Karl, unfettered by family expenses, would shower all of us with expensive and tasteful presents.  This was the most exciting day of the year in our family, and thinking about it still elicits good feelings. 

DORIS L AND JEAN WORTH AT FARM.  [Posted 8-9-09]   This is my mom and our close family friend, Jean Worth, having a look at my parents' Farm in Menominee County, Michigan, probably sometime in the late 1980's.  My dad had a dam built across Birch Creek, creating the pond in the foreground.  The small building to the right, The Coop, is a two-room guest house.  My parents' two-bedroom log cabin house is in the center.  The large barn, adorned with stained glass windows made by my dad, is partially visible at the left.  My parents, with great love and attachment, completely restored this hundred-year old farm, and it has been the site for many years of our family reunions. 

STEVE L. WITH BB GUN (circa 1951)  [posted 8-3-09]   Steve is shooting the BB gun in the front yard of river house.  I'm guessing age 10.  He's facing north; the Orth's house is in the background.  Steve was a good shot, the best in our family.  We'd have target practice by shooting at floating objects that we'd throw in the river.  As we got older, my dad would bring out the .22 for carefully supervised rifle practice.  We were allowed to shoot red squirrels in the oak trees near the house, but not gray squirrels, and porcupines if we could find them.  (I should mention that all these rotating photos were taken by my dad, Vic L, in the 40s and 50s and resurrected by my brother, Peter L, in the 2000s).

VICKI L. AND HER DOLL (posted 7-25-09)   Vicki was the first girl and youngest child in our family.  After three boys (David, Steven, Peter), my parents were thrilled to have a girl, and her brothers loved her too.  It wasn't easy for Vicki to grow up in a pack of bigger boys, but she more than held her own.  As they grew older, she and Peter (two years ahead) would regularly go out to the cabin on our river property where they would have all-out, no holds barred fistfights which usually resulted in a draw.  From early childhood on, Vicki and Kevin (Kiera) O'Hara were inseparable friends, and Vicki begged my parents to let her convert to Catholicism so she could become a nun.  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for figuring out how to archive the photos and their associated stories! I heartily second your observation under Vic and Doris' photo from the late '30's re our parents' capacity for amazingly creative fun and friendships - it was a remarkable group indeed!Also - wasn't a ritual reading of "The Night Before Christmas" part of the annual Christmas Eve gathering at your house?