Monday, June 13, 2016
Vic's Photos: Archive #13
Our Family (1953)
My dad, Vic L., took lots of photos of our family, friends, and home town in the 1940’s, 1950’s and beyond. My brother Peter resurrected many of these from Vic’s negatives, and he mailed postcard versions to family members for several years in the early 2000’s. I’ve been posting archived batches of these images every few months. Earlier postings can be retrieved by searching “archive” in the box to the upper left. I wish I had been as conscientious as my dad was in recording family history. It keeps our early lives fresh and accessible.
VA Sr.’s and Olga’s family
This is a family portrait taken about 1939 of my paternal grandparents (V.A. Sr. and Olga), Vic, my mom, and Vic’s siblings. Standing in the back row from the left are my mother Doris, my dad Vic, and my Aunt Martha. Seated from the left are my Uncle Kent, my grandfather V.A. Sr. holding me on his lap, my grandmother Olga, and my Uncle Karl (Kent’s twin brother). V.A. opened drugstores in Menominee and Marinette in the early 1900’s, and my uncle Kent and my aunt Martha’s husband Ralph Buscher operated the respective pharmacies when V.A. retired in the late 1940’s.
The Tourist Information Lodge
This is a winter scene of the Michigan state tourist information lodge on Ogden Ave. at the foot of the interstate bridge in Menominee. We lived a half block away in my preschool and kindergarten years. The best sledding hill in Menominee was right behind the tourist lodge, and our moms would take Sally F. and me there on winter outings. The tourist lodge burned down sometime in the 1960’s and was replaced by a brand new log building.
This is my mom and myself somewhere in Menominee County in the springtime, about 1940. A very idyllic scene, though I’ve lost all those memories.
A Young Cowboy
Here is something else that I don’t remember – my fleeting childhood horseback career. My mother enjoyed horseback riding from her youth in Omaha, and she would ride now and then at the stable located near the intersection of Riverside Boulevard and Highway 577 at Menominee’s city limits. In this photo I’m wearing a full outfit of cowboy boots, hat, and chaps, so maybe I had more horse experience than I now remember.
This is Boswell school in Menominee’s west end, my first grade school. I went to Boswell for kindergarten, walking four or five blocks each morning with my five-year-old friend and downstairs neighbor Sally F. I can't remember anything that happened in kindergarten, though our walks to school were more memorable.
The First Day of School
Here are my mother and I at my first day at kindergarten at Boswell. My mother, at the center of the picture, is talking to one of the teachers, while my slouchy, head-down posture suggests I was on the verge of emotional collapse. That’s probably accurate. I had an anxious time entering new, unfamiliar situations as a child, and I didn’t do much better thereafter.
This is my close childhood friend, Skipper Burke, probably about age 5 or 6. Skipper and I were in the same grade in school, though he was always taller and more worldly was than I was. We both lived in the State Street neighborhood in the early World War II years and were regular playmates at his house or ours. In some ways Skipper was my first mentor in life, particularly in terms of instructing me about girls. His family owned a summer cottage at Pine Beach on Marinette’s outskirts, and our parents would socialize there while we kids swam at the beach and the pier. Skipper moved with his parents to Minneapolis-St. Paul when we were in the fifth grade, a sad loss for me.
Father and son in the river
My dad and I are in the water at my grandfather’s cottage along the Menominee River shore. In those early days my dad spent more time in the river he did later on. I think it's because the water for river house came from a pump near the driveway, making use of the bathtub prohibitive, and so we used the river for bathing. I doubt if the water was that hygienic, but it was our best available option. When we eventually got indoor plumbing, it was only we children spent time in the river.
A Menominee River stump
I’m sitting on a big stump in the Menominee River. The river, of course, was a major thoroughfare for the logging industry until the early 1900’s, and, even when we lived there in the 1940s and 50s, there were many submerged stumps and deadheads that were remnants of days gone by. One of our occasional pastimes was to row across the river to the channel and bring back a large stump to dry out on the riverbank.
Snow at Caley's
This is a winter picture (circa 1946 or 1947) of myself, our childhood friend Tom Caley, and my brother Steve. I think the photo was taken in the Caley's yard at Northwood Cove on the Green Bay shore, just north of the city limits on M-35.
This was taken on my tenth birthday in 1947 at the outdoor fireplace on our front lawn. I was entering the fifth grade at Washington School that autumn. The main thing I remember about fifth grade is that the wicked children teased the teacher unmercifully and made her cry almost every day. She resigned in the middle of the year, and then the substitute teacher became the new victim.
Frank St. Peter
Frank St. Peter was one of my close friends in childhood and adolescence. We played softball and cowboys and Indians in our State St. neighborhood, rode our bikes, swam at Hinker’s coal dock in Green Bay, had snowball fights with older kids from down the block, and went off to YMCA and Boy Scout camps together, including Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.
At my age twelve birthday party
These are my three siblings, myself, and my friend Frank on our front lawn, next to the Menominee River. It was taken at my twelfth birthday party on July 21, 1949. From the left: my brother Steve (age 8), my brother Peter (age 4), my sister Vicki (age 2), and (in the background) Frank St. Peter (age 12).
Green Bay Sunset
This is a handsome black and white photo of a Green Bay sunset and sailboat from the Menominee shore. Color photography in the 1940’s was not yet in vogue, and, even though Menominee sunsets deserved color, black and white captured their elegance too.
Arts and crafts
We did lots of arts and crafts projects at Washington Grade School, and my parents always encouraged us to continue those activities at home. This is a symphony orchestra that I made out of miscellaneous materials. Probably because of parental praise, I carried over those crafts activities into adulthood, though I haven’t done much A&C for quite a while.
Another birthday group
This is another of my birthday parties at our house on the river, probably my eleventh. From the left: unknown kid, myself, Frank St. Peter, Tom Caley, Bill Caley, Jim Jorgenson, unknown kid in front of him, Skipper Burke, my brother Steven in front of him. Birthday parties were exciting because of getting a bunch of gifts. However, they were also anxiety-provoking because the birthday boy got paddled due to others’ jealousy from his getting all the presents.
Here I am, about age ten, with some of the comic book-inspired drawings that I'd done with colored crayons. This was taken in Steve’s and my bunk bedroom at river house.
Dave and Steve
Steve and I are looking over a cartoon. I read the latest comic books every week at my Uncle Kent's Rexall drugstore on Electric Square, and my goal for adulthood was to become a professional cartoonist. I wish I had my comic book collection now. It would be worth a fortune.
Here is my younger brother Peter at age two or three. Peter always had a sweet disposition, as well as a good sense of humor and a tendency to occasional impishness.
This is my sister Vicki at age two. It's a great photo, and she looks very sweet. I was the first child in the family and Vicki was the fourth, with a ten-year time span between us. That’s a big age difference for little kids. Among her three brothers, Vicki was closest in childhood to Peter who was just two years older than her.
Birthday No. 12
This is another picture of my twelfth birthday party in the dining room at our house on the river. Standing from left: Tom Caley, Bill Caley, Skipper Burke, Frank St. Peter, Jim Jorgenson, Darl Schmidt. Seated: Peter L., David L., Steven L. These were important figures in my early life. I think this was the final birthday party that I had as a kid.
This is my brother Steve and myself on a camping trip. This was probably taken at Mason Park a mile up Riverside Boulevard from our house. I’d say that Steve is 8, and I’m 12. One of the virtues of living in the county is there were several good camping places available within a short distance. I’d hitch a red wagon behind my bike to transport our gear, and we’d pedal our way to our campsite. I still enjoy camping, in part because it takes me back to bygone days.