Men in Hats with Cats

Pam #1

Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: Hailing from McMinnville, Oregon, October 3, 1911!  Still yet another terrific turn-of-the-century postcard from the great Pacific northwest. Evidently McMinnville is in the heart of the wine country, between Portland and the coast – these fellows look as if they may have been imbibing a bit, or preparing to, but that is pure speculation on my part.

Here we are cats and all ha ha is inscribed on the back with the date and the location. It is a photo postcard and these gentlemen are all dressed up and raring to go I’d say. Of course I love the fact that they are holding these two tabby cats – wearing typical looks of cat concern. The cats are identical so I take them for siblings. The one on the right is clearly considering making a break for it, and the guy holding him seems well aware of the cat’s intention to become a projectile any moment. The other guy is holding the cat in what my family refers to as cat prison – the two-handed you ain’t goin’ nowhere hold. (My father gets credit for naming this cat hold.) As a result he is able to look squarely into the camera. (His suit is a bit ill-fitting; too big for him. Perhaps it was a loaner? Growing into it?)

The guy in the lower left looks like a bit of a bum for my money – not as natty as the others, pork pie hat shoved back on his head; couldn’t be bothered. No cat holding for him – he’s too cool. I love that these guys, all dressed up, bowler hats and all are posing with these two kitties. Tabby cats always strike me as especially scrappy, so they seem a good choice for these young gentlemen. Cool with cats, I’d say.

Snapshot of Dad



Pam’s Pictorama (Family) Photo Post:  You would think that given my predilection for early photos that I would have tons of old family photos, but in reality I am not the keeper of many. I found this one of my father in an old desk years ago and framed it up so as to slow the disintegration.  I have always been fond of it – as I am of the small cache of photos that I do have around. I will probably get to sharing some others over time in different contexts. (A heads up that there’s a super one of my mom surrounded by toys one Christmas morning when she appears to be about seven. She doesn’t like it however, which is one of the reasons I have it – she didn’t want it.)

This one came to mind when I was working on my other motorcycle photo posts (The Mysteries of Felix and White Cat and the Art of Motorcycle Riding) and I got it off a top (cat protected) bookshelf and asked Kim to scan it for me.  It was taken on June 18, 1952 and someone (not my father) has scribbled “eeee gads!” on the back with the date. Dad is a handsome devil (still is!) and he’s got his best JD thing going on here. I assume it was taken in Washington Heights and that this was probably the motorcycle he subsequently rode across the country. The story goes that it made it out there, but then died on him and, broke, he had to hitchhike home.

I don’t know much about motorcycles, but I figure it is safe to assume that this one was old in 1952. Since this is 1952, I also assume it is after he returned from a stint in the army, in the Arctic, filming manuevers during the Korean war – which ultimately lead him to getting a masters in film at BU on the GI Bill, and his eventual career as a camera man for ABC news.  Much of that still ahead in this photo; it’ll be about eight years before he meets my mom as well, ten before my sister Loren is born, and twelve before I show up. (Almost 19 years before my brother Edward is on the scene – shout out to Ed!)  He’s not so good on dates these days (in fact, never his strong point) so I am doing some guess-timate work. Wonderful though, to have this photo and a record of my dad poised to set off on a great adventure.