A great surprise at my family reunion yesterday in Warsaw Virginia. My Aunt Jane gave my brother and I an old photograph of my father (on the left) with his Brother, my Uncle Bunt. The location of the photo is unknown (pre geotagging) but my Aunt guesses it is around 1940. My father would have been 30 years old at the time and his younger brother would have been around 21 or 22 and in the Coast Guard.
The picture still lives in an old frame. I snapped a photo of it from my IPhone and plan to scan it later. And although it looks like I put a Hipstamatic filter to it, it was already colorized the way you see it now. I guess back then color photography treatment rendered some pretty cool effects. Kind of funny to think we now build technology on our most advanced devices to mimic this bygone look.
My father was always a snappy dresser. And of course no one would be seen without a cigarette in those days. I don’t know if my father would wear a bow tie on just any occasion, so I think this photo could have been taken during Thanksgiving or Christmas. My father is wearing what seems like a wool overcoat and his brother is in uniform on leave from his Coast Guard duties.
I used to see more of a resemblance to my brother in older photos of my father. But now I see a lot of me. Although I am not as close to a great dresser as my father was in his day.
Another great treat was able to visit my father’s birthplace and farmhouse in nearby Emmerton, VA. My father was born in 1910 in this home pictured below. My Half Brother Fran has owned the farmhouse, called Miskell Hall, since my father passed in 1987. Getting on in years himself, he is planning to sell it and the vast amounts of farmland. Yesterday may have been the last time we could see it.
When my brother Tim and I were younger, our family would go to the farmhouse every July and celebrate family reunions there. It was a great place. As a small child running through fields of endless corn stalks you felt you were on another planet. We have fond memories of that place. I had always remembered an amazing watercolor painting of Miskell Hall and in fact, during our drive down from Baltimore yesterday I asked my brother what he thought happened to it. We thought it got lost or given away after my father died or perhaps Fran had it in some storage locker. To our surprise when the current tenant of the house welcomed us in, there it was hanging front and center in the living room. (last photo below)
The tenant explained that when she moved in, the watercolor painting was left and she has hung it in the living room ever since. When we said we remembered the watercolor fondly, she offered it to us. We declined and my cousin Lou who was with us assured it’s safety if the farmhouse was sold.
I feel so fortunate on this Father’s Day to have been given so many memories and enjoyed them with family.