Monday, September 14, 2015

Sepia Saturday 298: Benz and Paula





The best match I have for the photo prompt this week is my sister-in-law Paula with her beloved Benz. They were inseparable. He died about a year ago, and she's still recovering from the loss. I'm expecting that she'll foster or adopt another of these terrific Springer Spaniels soon. 


Beth sent me this photo of herself at about 9 or 10 with her spaniel Blackie. Beth was probably at an age between that of the two girls pictured. The older girl is Sylvie Anita Gabriel Denise Irene Marie Szenchenyi whose official married name became Countess Sylvie Szapary de Muraszombak Szechysziget et Szapar, by marrying a Hungarian Count. Sylvie was one of five daughters of Gladys Vanderbilt and a great great-granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt. Four of the daughters married titled men and became Countesses. I guess once you had all the money you could fathom, you went after titles. In the name game, I think Beth won the prize - two syllables, Beth Cobb, and no "s" or"z" or "y". 
Next I found this Christmas photo...Eilleen, my older sister, and I are celebrating with our big cat Sandy.
The second was about the same year - Eilleen and I are sitting on the stairs at my grandparent's farm. Things haven't changed much for me - to this day I'm still wearing my pajamas late in the day, sometimes all day. Since retirement, I've taken a page from Hugh Hefner's fashion book, although he wears a handsome smoking jacket and is never seen with bare feet. Eilleen and I look like we've been in the liquor cabinet...I don't remember why she had the Life magazine or why we have the odd expressions on our faces. Probably our Dad choreographed the little tableau with something in mind. 


Curiosity being a disease without hope of remedy since the advent of the internet, I slaughtered half the afternoon sleuthing the Life magazine cover. It was the May 6th, 1946 issue featuring a photo of Margaret Leighton in her Broadway debut as the Queen in Henry IV with Laurence Olivier and Ralph Richardson of the Old Vic Repertory theater group. And now I have a possible reason for the strange expressions on our faces. I'm guessing Eilleen had been reading to me from the magazine about Margaret and Henry IV - she liked reading aloud - and like two little hams we were imagining life beyond the Manitoba prairies. 
Life Magazine, May 6th, 1946
Margaret Leighton
Finally, I have the two of us years later - with a pet and stairs in the photo (an attempt to incorporate the elements from the prompt). Eilleen was in University; I was probably around 12 or thirteen and at that awkward age when I was camera-shy and preferred to hide behind the cat. Sandy had shuffled off his mortal coil, and Blackie was then in residence.



Blackie joined our household by employing an old cheap trick. Picture this: A cold and blustery morning. My mother, the first one up in the house, opens the door to bring in the milk. There, squeezed between the screen door and the storm door was Blackie with four newly born kittens. It was clearly the old "new mother, tiny kittens, -10 degrees" caper. No questions asked; the con worked. A box was prepared quickly, and the new mother and kittens were ensconced in our bedroom. She was with us for about ten years. 

Join the throngs of dog walkers (real and imaginary) over to Sepia Saturday for more stories. Imaginary dogs are my cat's very favorites. 








15 comments:

  1. It must be lovely to be sisters and the best of friends. Well done with the sleuthing too!

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  2. It was...thanks. I miss my sister but writing about her is like visiting her again...one of the pleasures of Sepia Saturday.

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  3. You and your sister were very sweet little girls. Great to be able to identify the magazine and imagine its connection to your funny expressions.

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    1. My sleuthing is pitiful compared to other Sepians who find an amazing amount of information. But I'm working at digging up more from each photo.

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  4. A nice post. You did well finding sisters and steps!

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  5. Cats are tricky like that. How fun to have an old magazine in a photo just to look back at what made it so significant in its day.

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    1. Your comment made me laugh. Tricky would have been a better name for that cat.

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  6. A delightful post, and your family photos are lovely. Cute kitty-cat pic at the end too.

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  7. I've not joined in with Sepia Saturday this week (a bit short on time) but I am reading all the posts and wanted to say how much I enjoyed your post.

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  8. Lovely pet memories. We had 3 cocker spaniels over 30 years and know what it is like to lose a beloved pet.

    Family History Fun

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    1. Yes, it's so hard to lose them. But they're worth it.

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  9. I just love the photo sitting on the stairs, pyjamas and all. Girl talk, even at that young age. Another photo that has more to it than meets the eye at first glance.

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  10. Our family often dates photos by the dog or cat in the picture. Without children of a measurable size, sometimes a pet is the deciding factor for getting the year right.
    I laughed when I saw you'd found the Life magazine cover. Just seconds before I had zoomed in to see if I could recognize anything.

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    1. I'll never have your sleuthing skills but you are an inspiration to at least, try.

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  11. Cats know exactly what they want and know how to get it. Dogs want whatever we want them to want an know how to get us. Can't live without them. So clever of the kitty to bring her babes to the door.

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