Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Way Back Machine


The Time: May 6, 1948
The Place: La Grange Township High School Social Room

I adore this photo. On the back of this picture in my mother's handwriting it says, "Thursday Millinery Class Annual Style Show - La Grange Township High School Social Room ..... Yunkers, Zocchi".

Yunkers and Zocchi refers to the woman serving tea and the woman facing the camera. They were friends of my grandmother and two of the greatest characters of my youth.

What type of role models were they? Different, that's for sure. They both showed me about being colorful and larger than life. They were dynamic and interesting women who never stopped learning.

"Yunkers" was Edna, who is standing and facing the camera. In addition to becoming a milliner she learned china painting late in life. This woman made up for lost time by becoming one of the most prolific painters ever. She would take the train into Chicago with empty tote bags and returned with tons of china blanks to be painted.

My grandmother had an entire set of hand painted dinnerware. When she passed away I was lucky enough to had received the beautiful large punch bowl and punch cups. Everything is edged in 14 karat gold. When we moved in this house I hired a decorator to help with color and furniture ideas and she almost fainted dead away when she saw the punch bowl set. I'll take some pictures and post them during the week.

The woman seated and serving tea is Martha and she was a character beyond compare. She would fly off to Cuba to party with bullfighters. She probably met Hemingway because she always seemed to travel in exotic circles. She learned Esperanto and in addition to being a milliner she was a seamstress. She studied formally and knew absolutely everything there was to know about fabric. She was an avid herb gardener and studied this subject also. She became an expert and was head of the herb gardens in the horticulture program at a local college.

These women epitomized living a colorful and interesting life. I loved them both!!

I would love to hear about colorful characters in your life.


Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Yes, both grandmothers had a batch of whacky gal pals. Not quite as colorful as the two you describe here, but wonderful and very encouraging of any of my youthful activities.

Have a great Sunday. I usually don't tell folks this, but stay off your knees!

Brian Barker said...

I hope I am not intruding but I would like to say that pioneers like Martha have helped to make Esperanto what it is today.

Namely a living language!

In Esperanto we would say "dankon Martha" Thankyou, Martha

Pieceful Afternoon said...

I had a great uncle who was a Quaker - good devout man, grew strawberries and let our children dip them in the sugar bowl right there in the garden, had amazing vegetable gardens and pool table in his pool shed - much to the chagrin of his "proper" - though delightful wife. We all adored him and were happy when he married into our family after his third wife passed away - he married our grandmother's younger sister.

Cottage Rose said...

I just love the photo and the story that went with it. You sure can tell a lovely story, I felt like I was there with you and them. Such lovely ladies, in that era women were not meant to go out and became women of the world. So to learn new things and travel, how exciting to have known such amazing women. You were a very luck lady. Have a great day, and thank you so much for sharing these lovely ladies and their life.


Marilyn said...

I love the picture and you are so lucky to know the history behind it. I can't tell you the boxes of photographs I have but no idea who the people are or any of the stories that go along.
I always think about that when I use my digital camera and load the pictures on my trusty Mac.... I can't imagine my grandchildren gathered around a computer going through "discs" : (

StitchinByTheLake said...

Great picture Suzanne. It remiinds me of the "teas" we used to have in our home economics classes in the early sixties. Blessings, marlene

lifeinredshoes said...

Let's make a movie, I want to be Martha!

Karen said...

My Great-Grandmother was a Suffragette in NZ. She was a bit of a firebrand, from what I have heard and she passed all that along to my Grandmother.

My Grandmother campaigned to get women the right to be elected to the NZ parliament.

When I was about 4 yrs old, she got angry about the lack of a children's playground where we were living. So she marched both of us down to the Mayor's office, sat me on his desk and told him, in no uncertain terms, that she and I would not be leaving until he promised me that a playground would be built. She also informed him that she played Bridge with his wife and that he really did not want his wife angry with him.

The playground got built and opened about a year later.

She also went back to University, to compete her degree after her kids had grown. Something that not many women did in those days.

She was a colourful, incredible woman. When you looked at her, it washard to imagine the volcano that was burning within, as she looked to be such a mild woman. :-)

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

Oh, I love this post! I love these type of women...they are so inspiring.

My mom's best friend was my inspiration...a free spirit for sure, she lived all over the world and her favorite saying was "I'm never lost, I'm just taking detours."

Louise said...

How wonderful to know such people.