Tuesday, December 2, 2014
An Ethical Dilemma
So, what do you think?
Is it a problem that I'm finding my great-grandfather, as seen here in this circa 1890 snap, more than a little dishy?
If nothing else, he had great taste in ties. And his given names were Lucius Madison, which is in itself pretty fab. He was a country doctor, and I'm more than a little troubled that I find myself thinking, in an idle sort of way every now and then, about his bedside manner...
It's not a snap I'd seen previously. My Dear Sister, you see, is in the process of having her entire (vast) trove of family pictures digitized, and while together (along with our Cousin the Architect), we spent a big chuck of Thanksgiving weekend poring over tintypes, daguerrotypes, crinkle-edged Brownie snaps, and eventually even Polaroids, trying to puzzle out whether that girl ended up being Aunt Edith (who in old age had a moustache to rival Lucius's), or whether it really was possible that someone once found that style attractive (the early '20s have a lot to answer for, if you ask me). It was both great and a little melancholy-making - all those people, known and unknown alike, gone before, and their comfortable small-town lives with them.
One picture was of the annual dinner of our local Chamber of Commerce, 1909 edition; a solemn array of men (all men, of course) in faultless evening dress (another great-grandfather among them), all crammed 'round the extra dinner tables that filled someone's fairly uncapacious dining-room, so crisp and sharp one can almost smell the roast beef and boiled potatoes doubtless waiting in the kitchien. Several were of staff outings from our family store, from the McKinley era right on through the edge of the Second War (I don't know if staff outings faded away later on, or whether they were no longer august enough occasions to require photographs; Father Muscato might know, if caught at just the right moment, but otherwise it's a mystery lost to the ages). The secretaries' and salesgirls' hats alone form a kind of social history all on their own, going from archduchess-style confections of flowers and feathers arranged as if on vast flat platters right through rakish little numbers like those one might see Thelma Ritter or Mary Wickes adjusting in the mirror at the end of another long day.
But fascinating as they all were, I have to say - none have quite the je ne sais quoi of Great Grandpa Lucius here...