Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Two Photos...Too Funny

Several years ago, soon after my father died, Amy and I went through his pictures. He had written on the backs of many of them, with names and dates. Then we found this photo:

On the back my father had written "This was taken the same night."

Amy and I have laughed and told this story many times since. Luckily I recognized all of the people in the picture. From left to right they are my Aunt Thelma, Aunt Agatha (pronounced a-GAY-thuh, by the way!), Grandmama Aliph, Uncle Marvin, and Uncle Enoch.

Later on we discovered the following picture of Uncle Marvin fooling around with a mop wig and twig mustache. It was the same size photo as the previous one, with the same coffee table and vase in the foreground.

We looked on the back. My father had written, "This was taken the night before Garland run us out." 

I couldn't remember who Garland was, so a few days ago I stopped by to visit Blanche. I showed her the pictures. She not only reminded me that Garland was Aunt Thelma's second husband; she knew when the photos were taken...because she remembered when Garland ran them all out of his house!

It was 1947. My grandfather was in the hospital in Norfolk, and my grandmother and my uncles and aunts (and my father) were staying with Aunt Thelma and Garland. I guess they got too rowdy for Garland and he made them leave. Uncle Marvin does look like he was having fun!

Blanche told me that Aunt Thelma ran Garland out shortly afterwards!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article written by Uncle Marvin in the early 1950s. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous8:00 AM

    How funny!!


  2. Anonymous12:11 PM

    How sad. Folks waiting for an aging loved one to pass, before ya'll drag out that box of photos to reflect upon the events captured in the pile of pictures. We all have that box of pictures however the 21st century box of pictures will be up there in the "cloud" before you or I get there. Anyway what will the future hold for image maintenance?? Is the mask still around?

  3. Anonymous1:43 PM

    Apparently some folks are receiving this station on a different frequency than most others.

    Wonderful story, Philip, and great photo. Makes me think of the Lyle Lovett song "Family Reserve," about familiars who've gone before us.

    Recalling their faces, their adventures--or misadventures--and the life lessons learned from their influence adds perspective that enriches the lives of folks who share your appreciation of history. Recalling such antics also reveals the sparkle so often masked by dour faces in old photos like these.

    And may I suggest that SOMEONE bears a remarkable resemblance to Uncle Marvin.

    Thanks, as always.

  4. I have a friend who almost writes a novel on the back of all her pics. Including all maiden and married names and birthdate. If she has room she includes where it was taken and the occasion. l love it when she sends me pics by snailmail.

  5. Debbie Leonard7:26 PM

    Every time I think of this, it is so funny to think of finding a lone picture with those words written on it!