Saturday, May 29, 2010

Keeping up with the Joneses!

While browsing photos, I stumbled upon some of my mother-in-law's family pictures. Phyllis Jones Williams was previously pictured in her elegant 1950's dress at a New Years celebration.

I do not know many details, but I will speak from remembered snippets heard at family reunions. The Jones were Welsh miners who immigrated to Pennsylvania to supervise laborers in the lucrative northeastern coal mining region. A young Grandpa Jones is pictured in the straw hat. A member of the family became a brewmeister at Stegmaier Brewing in Wilkes-Barre. I also do not know the identity of the children in the little ox cart. I am quite sure they are siblings of my mother in law. I do know that they lived for a time in Williamsport before building a house in the back mountain of Wilkes-Barre. Phyllis used to tell me about her father's wonderful victory garden! Grandma Jones was a severe woman who made the female children wash the kitchen floor every morning before going to school.

They were depression era children and lived a frugal existence. Hard work was expected and valued.

There are only two surviving members of this generation. Their children gather every August for a family reunion. Perhaps I will show these pictures and get some more stories over the summer.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Moo for Shazza

I am skipping Sepia Saturday to post a painting. I have been meaning to post paintings for a while but have been experiencing either technical difficulties and/or lack of time. Since I am now in full acceptance of the realization that I can only post once a week, I am posting a bovine for Shazza.

Background: I first painted "Moo" when I was a resident artist at a Lancaster gallery. I had to crank out five to six paintings every other month for a year (while working full time and raising two children). Anyway, I painted this, hung it and "hated it". Although I measured, the head seemed disproportionately huge. That with the effect of the hidden hoofs made the animals appear awkward.

I revisited the painting before my March Elizabethtown show and decided to re-size the head a bit. Now I think it appears too small. (If you look carefully, you can see the ghost image of the old chin) Anyway, Shazza and quite a few other people liked it. This will be my contribution to my sister's new store! Visit her at her new blog.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Happy Days - Tube Tops in 1953

I didn't know they had tube tops in the fifties! Pictured here are my mother-in-law, Phyllis, (right), her older sister, Bernice. I am not positive of the identity of the man looking in the truck. He was either their father or grandfather. I do like the truck!

A family picnic with another sister (Bev?) and sister-in-law, Claire.

Phyllis and Bernice laughing it up for the Holidays!

Thanks for visiting! Dig up some Sinatra and Have One More for the Road!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy New Year 1950something

This appears to be a New Year Celebration. I am guessing it took place in the 1950s.

I do not know all of the revelers pictured, but the gentleman on the far right was my father-in-law, Ralph Craig Williams. To the right of Ralph is my mother-in-law, Phyllis Jean (Jones) Williams. Both are now deceased.

Ralph was a U.S. Marine and the only survivor of his platoon at Iwo Jima. He was apparently left for dead and later identified by his dog tags. He received a purple heart.

His nickname was "Squire" and was known to be an outstanding salesman. He apparently suffered from the then rarely-understood post-traumatic stress disorder. I heard that he was a wonderful man who ran into some troubles. The life of a traveling salesman did not mesh much with family life. He divorced Phyllis in the early 1960s to live a "fast" life. He died lonely and penniless as a result of alcoholism in 1984. Unfortunately I met Ralph on his deathbed. From that brief meeting I realized that the man was a charmer. If only circumstances were a little better, I am sure he had many stories to tell.

Phyllis struggled as a single mom. It was not as acceptable in the 1960s. She was extremely dedicated to her three children, Craig, Gail and Douglas (my hubby). She made sure that all three children graduated from college. She was a fierce and passionate woman. We had some memorable arguments. I grew to love her as I came to appreciate her. She passed away from cancer in 2005.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Rose Harrison Earns Her Wings

In the 1950s there was not a more stylish profession for women. My mother earned her wings after completing some college and professional airline hostess training. I believe she worked for Continental Airlines. Women had to be at least 5'6" tall and were subject to weight restrictions. She lived quite the glamorous life flying between New York and Chicago.

My father became a police officer in New York City. Walt was interested in Rose for several years. I was told that mother and one of her girlfriends "stowed away" my father and a friend in the luggage area. Mother finally agreed to settle down and marry Walter in 1958. Rose had to turn in her wings, Walter made a career change after being stabbed below the chest on Canal Street.