Ray was a lawyer (I think specializing in land titles? Does that make sense to any law people out there?) for the Chicago Title Insurance Company office in Nashville, TN. He was involved in civic life as a Shriner and married Doris in the mid fifties'. One thing Doris and Ray liked to do? They liked to take trips, and they liked to take pictures. Lucky for us! Even some of the mundane pictures are absolutely adorable to the outside viewer, and here we have a set of Kodak snaps taken in 1972 during a trip to that swingin' town, Montgomery, Alabama.
Though the caption that provided the location and the year was the only one written on any of these photos, the picture above seems to be Ray coming out of either a restaurant or his hotel. See his "vacation-ready" white Bermuda shorts, blue collar shirt, and matching mid-calf socks. Cigarette in one hand, camera bag in the other, this man is ready to r-e-l-a-x. His tiki companion isn't half bad either. WHY IS THE COMMERCIAL DECOR OF THESE MODERN TIMES SO DRAB, DRAB, DRAB?! I'd give anything to walk into a Holiday Inn or a Shoneys, even, and see a freaking knockoff Polynesian fertility idol, there before God and everyone. Am I right?
geologic time scale positioning near the top of the box, mark it as from the same year and I think the same vacation. Poor Doris is in her nightgown with curlers in the back, keeping her priorities straight and pouring out some nice fresh coffee into an oversized mug. I would bet dollars to doughnuts she was probably shrieking five seconds after the flash went off with a "WHAT ARE YOU DOING TAKE PICTURES OF ME WHEN I'M NOT DRESSED?" as any well-turned-out-woman, present company included, would do when confronted with a camera lens in the horrible, pre-Folger's portion of vacation morning. Ray's holding some kind of silver object and smiling for the camera like he doesn't even know it's wrong!Where are they in this picture? The ceiling and curtained window suggest some kind of travel-trailer set up, but later we see them in a hotel, so I'm not sure what the deal is.
I think (think?) I remember this as being downtown Montgomery. We went once on a family vacation instigated by yours truly, the dyed-in-the-wool bibliophile, to visit homes of southern writers' within driving distance of Nashville. We saw the house Tennessee Williams was born in which is! Not! in! Tenneseee! ((surprise!!)), but in Columbus, MS. We saw Rowan Oaks in Oxford, MS, home of William Faulkner (who I'm still crazy about), but most importantly, we saw a house in Montgomery, Alabama that F. Scott Fitzgerald lived in with his town native wife, the mad, bad, and dangerous to know Zelda (alias, the very most glamorous couple in the world to me at the time). I just about died looking at real, belonging-to-them photos of each other and one beautiful, falling apart ostrich feather fan Scott bought for the princely sum of $20 and sent as a present to his not-yet wife sometime in the late teens'. So I've been the one time-- it was a weird, hot, smelly kind of day. This could be the place! Anyone know what kind of car that is?
Here, Doris makes a more glamorous appearance in an illusion lace dress and a perfectly coiffed helmet of her pretty blonde hair. The woman with them is in a lot of photos, but I can't for the life of me remember the connection from the first time I went through the boxes. I'll have to dig through another batch and figure her out at a later date, but imagine she's a really good friend or sister of one of the two of them. I wonder, based on the hats and blowers', if it's some kind of New Years' celebration. Wouldn't it be too cold for short sleeves/ too hot for what they're wearing later if it was December? I have to become a better photo detective!! Or figure out who the woman who gave these to me is so I can call her up and ask. The latter might be the easier option.
Here are some waiters from the fancy early 70's nightclub the gang has assembled themselves in. They look like they could be brothers, but it's probably the bow tie lending credence to the air of fraternal resemblance. Or the sideburns.
At first, I was like...dang, look at all those angry, sullen looking people at that night club! And then I thought back to photos of taken of myself and friends when three sheets to the wind, and intoxication looks a lot like "super ticked off" as often as it doesn't. These people have had one too many proto-Alabama Slammers (they weren't invented until 1975, so says they) and are rarin' for the band to play "Auld Lange Syne", already!
This last quartet of photos is my favorite from the whole set, showing what looks like the after part of the post-bar portion of their night, back at the hotel. The family friend in pink is joined by her husband in a great pale green and patterned tie combo. Why you're flashin' that dough, Mr. Anon? Do you see the night table contains one super seventies' lamp, one travel clock, one empty glass of some type of scotch, no doubt, and one ashtray? Can I please time travel back into this happy room?
Ray's dressing loud and proud in his preferred blue color palette, joined by Doris and Mrs. Anon. Do you see the dress-in-cleaners' bag next to the fur stole hanging in the closet? You never know when you may need a fur stole on vacation back in the day! In this, as in 90% of the photos of the two of them together, I love how Ray is looking at Doris.
Watch out, assembled party! Those curtains might reach out and bite you! See the starburst clock hinted at towards the lefthand side of the frame? And the brushed aluminum light fixture? Mr. Anon has a bottle of some kind of liquor in each hand, and Ray has a glass. This can only lead to....
We love it! We love Doris and Ray. Can you remember any outrageous-but-beloved clothing choices of your relatives as documented in hilarious family photos? Ever been anywhere suitably vintage for New Years'? Spill the beans already!
Hope you guys have a great weekend, find some great stuff at the sales, and report back here Monday for more vintage curios and curiosities.