Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Archive: Vic's Photos (#12)

Dear George,
I’ve been posting one of my dad’s family photos from the 1940’s and 50’s once or twice a week since I began this blog, and then I started posting accumulated batches of them as archives every few months.  My brother Peter reprinted many of Vic’s photos as postcards which he sent to family members, and the photos here are from Peter’s project as well as from family albums.  A large number of these are also available on my Flickr website:  

My parents met while my dad was in college or law school at the University of Wisconsin.  This is the earliest photo I’ve seen of them as a couple.  They’re certainly dressed up, my mom (Doris) looking like a flapper (which she probably was in the late 1920’s) and my dad (Vic) a dapper young man about town. 

My mother looks very pretty against this backdrop of a snowy U.P. winter.  She and Vic were married on June 1, 1932, in Omaha.  Doris was 22, Vic was 24.  They lived in Omaha for a short time, then moved to Menominee where Vic began his law practice.

I’m not certain but I’d guess that this photo was taken sometime before my birth in July 1937, perhaps in 1936 or 1935.  Doris and Vic look very happy together here.  It was the midst of the Great Depression, and they had very little in the way of money, worldly goods, or security.  As did many couples and families, they struggled and eventually made their way to a better life. 

It’s a shame we can’t remember anything about our first year or two.  This is me in a tub in 1938, age one.  I look sort of serious, perhaps wondering what I’m doing in the world and why my father is pointing that strange machine at me.  

This is my Uncle Ralph Buscher as a young man.  He worked at my grandfather's Rexall Drug Store in Marinette, and he was my boss when I clerked there in my teenage years.  Ralph sang in a prize-winning barber shop quartet and a Marinette church choir.  He and my Aunt Martha lived at Pine Beach with our cousins, Ann and John, and our grandfather, V.A. Sr.  

This is my paternal grandmother and grandfather, Olga and V.A.L. Sr.  I didn't really know Olga who died on July 22, 1942, but who had suffered a major stroke several years before and was bedridden.  I learned from family history that she was an important figure in the state Republican Party in Wisconsin and influenced my dad's going to law school (having told him that he was a good talker).  V.A. emigrated to the U.S. from Sweden with his family as a teenager in the early 1890’s, worked in a lumber camp, went to pharmacy school, and opened and ran drugstores in Marinette and Menominee throughout his career.  Close to his four children, their spouses, and his nine grandkids, he died on Nov. 20, 1959.

My dad took an annual photo of our family every summer, almost always at our house on the Menominee River.  This one was in 1953.  Vic had a gizmo which enabled him to set the camera up, then run over and get in the picture before the shutter opened.  Peter’s at the left (age 8), then Steve (12), Vicki (6), and myself (16).  This was a big year for me since I got my driver’s license and could take the family car to cruise around town with my chums. 

Jean Worth and his wife Margaret were among my parents’ very closest friends.  Jean was the editor of the Menominee Herald-Leader during my youth, and he was widely known in the region as the U.P.’s most accomplished historian.  Their three daughters, Dooley, Jean, and Ann were childhood friends of my siblings and myself.  We spent many fun times at the Worth’s hunting camp at Cedar River, about 25 miles north of Menominee.  

This is my freshman hallmate and Antioch college friend, Arnie P.  I visited Arnie's White Plains NY home in 1959, and he drove up to Menominee with me that winter.  There was a blinding snowstorm in Wisconsin and the Highway Patrol closed Highway 41 north of Milwaukee, but we took a two-lane back road and made it through the three-foot snow drifts  We didn't see another car for 150 miles.  Arnie and my dad had a lot of good conversations at river house.  Vic was disappointed that Arnie didn’t enjoy his required military service.  After Arnie graduated from Antioch, he went on to become a psychotherapist.  

This is my mom, Katja, and myself at the Menominee C&NW depot in the late 1950’s.  On at least one occasion Katja and I traveled from Springfield, Ohio (near Antioch in Yellow Springs) to Menominee and back by train, nearly a 24-hour journey each way.  Vic and Doris were probably seeing us off on our way back to college.  

From the cigarette in my hand, this was definitely taken when I was on a visit home from Antioch, maybe in 1959.  We’re out near the driveway at our house, with the Norway pines and the river in the background.  If it was 1959, I would have been 22, Steve 18, Peter 14, and Vicki 12.   

This is my Antioch College psychology professor, Clarence Leuba, his wife Frances, and their daughter.  I worked as Dr. Leuba’s teaching assistant for Intro Psych in 1958-59, and he was my main adviser for grad school planning.  My parents met the Leubas when they came down to Yellow Springs for our graduation and then several months later at our wedding.  They all hit it off together and became friends.  Professor Leuba taught at Antioch from 1930 to 1962 and lived in Yellow Springs until his death at age 86 in 1985.   

This is my sister Vicki in her early teens.  Vicki could be serious, and she could be lots of fun.  I left for college when she was 8, so I wasn't around much for her adolescent years.  All of us kids got resistant to having our pictures taken, so that may be the case for Vicki’s non-ecstatic expression here. 

This was taken of me in 1960 in Yellow Springs.  My parents and siblings drove down for my graduation from Antioch in June of that year, then again for Katja's and my wedding in late August.  We were certain we were more than old enough to be getting married, though I look pretty young in this photo.  

Here’s my sister Vicki (left) and her best friend Kiera, either at the O’Hara’s house on Green Bay or perhaps at our house on the river.  Our families were close, and the girls were inseparable from the time they were toddlers.  Vicki went to church with Kiera’s family so often that she wanted to become a nun herself.    

Peter came of age in the rock and roll era, and he had the most distinctive hairstyles of the four of us siblings.  I’m not sure if Peter’s style was directly patterned after Elvis, but I know it involved a special greasy mixture and careful pruning.  We teased Peter about his hair style, but he shrugged it off and did his own thing.  

Here are my brother Steven, Katja, and I on an unknown second floor building patio.  Because we’re well-dressed, I initially thought it might be our wedding.  However, that was on a very hot August 28th, and we wouldn’t have been wearing heavy coats.  More likely an Ann Arbor get-together.    

My brother Steve and sister-in-law Margie were married on June 20, 1964, in Elmhurst, Illinois.  Katja and I were delighted to have a second married couple in our cohort, and Margie brought a vivacious spirit to our family.  Steve and Margie were great dancers and made family gatherings full of fun.      

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