As it's Friday, I was flipping through my flashdrive of family photos and trying to decide which one to show you all. What would be more appropriate, seeing as it's July 5th, the day after the day upon which our nation's birthday is celebrated, than selecting this patriotic photo?
Marked "1917" in the margin of the snapshot, you can see ten little girls dressed in blinding all-white frocks, wearing the headpieces of the American Red Cross nurses' uniforms. Many service and volunteer groups, for both youth and adult members of the WWI home-front, knitted socks and rolled bandages for the war effort. While there's no other information on this photograph, I'm assuming that among the members is someone from my grandma's Massachusetts family, though which little girl is anyone's guess. Personally, I hope it's this one:
Miss Personality 1917, right? She looks like a pint-sized Joan Blondell. How sharp is that blonde bob under her little cap? I was able to find this photo from the same year, in Grandview Heights, Ohio; it looks like the "wear white, we'll look like we're all in the same uniform" organizing tactic was just as effective in the Midwest as it was in New England. I thought this photo might be another children's service organization, and maybe the members were all dressed up for the portrait-- turns out, the kids are garbed at WWI nurses and soldiers to attend the Texas funeral of Frank Maresh, a local fallen soldier. Macabre, people! That is downright creepy!
Speaking of creepy, did you see the shadowy presence in the background of the photo?
I tried to close-up on the matronly figure standing behind the screen door in this photograph, but her face was lost to the shadows. I love how you can see she's wearing some kind of apron, but that's about the most detail you're going to get. I wonder if she was the group's den mother or similar.
Last but not least, a detail I almost missed entirely because of how washed out the white makes the definition of the photo!
AAAAAH! Did you see the little kid laid out like a practice patient in the center of the photograph? It wasn't until I went in to do a closeup of the woman in the house that I realized they're standing around a stretcher, on which is placed a little would-be casualty. Can you imagine what an opportunity it would be to "ham it up" in the role of the victim? I not-so-secretly envy the kid the position she's in. "Doc, my eyes! MY EYYYYYES, WHY CAAAAN'T I SEEEEEE....", followed with much appropriate-to-the-time-period stage acting of wringing hands and groaning. That would be my approach. See, I've got my plan all mapped out here. Just waiting for my big break!
What do you think of this photo? Do you have any neat WWI-era photographs in either your own collection or your family's? I'm still kicking myself I didn't buy a panoramic photo from this same time period of some British soldier who were bivouacked in some extreme, Downton Abbey style castle in the French countryside, and stood in front of it for the photo. So EPIC a scene, people; what was I thinking.
I have to get back to work, but you guys have a fabulous weekend! Fellow Tennesseans, I hope we get some of that sunshine we were so cruelly denied on Independence Day. I'll see you on Monday! Til then.