Part of my puttering involved the slide scanner and my dad's boxes of thousands of 35mm slides. This time, I concentrated on images from the 1940's and 1950's, including a set from Mom and Dad's first year after their marriage.
They met in Atlanta during World War II. Dad, an X-Ray technician in the service, was stationed at Ft. Oglethorpe at the end of the war, and my mother was working at Grady Hospital, having put her graduate work at Emory University on hold for The Duration. They met at a roller rink, where Dad had gone to accompany one of his buddies who was courting Mom's glamorous sister. The match that actually struck at the rink, though, was ignited by Catherine Murphy and Sgt. Lynn Harrington.
Before being drafted in 1942, Dad had just started his career as a teacher in a high school in Mount Upton, a tiny town along the Unadilla River in Upstate New York, and he was mustered out as close to where he had been roped in as the Army could manage in the hectic, happy days after the end of the War. Shortly after they married, he was transferred to Patchogue, New York (on Long Island), and shortly after that, he was free. He went back to the Unadilla Valley with his Georgia bride, and back to work at the Mount Upton school. That was not surprising; where they lived then was astonishing.
They settled in to an abandoned farm on the top of the western Unadilla slopes, a place they always after referred to as "the Old Farm." The plan, overly-ambitious from the get-go, was to refurbish the place into a decent homestead from its terminally dilapidated condition. Here are a few of Dad's photos from that adventure:
The farmhouse was beyond repair, rotting away. (I don't know who the people are in the above photo; Mom and Dad are certainly not among them. They're probably family members, since folks from Dad's family in Syracuse visited their project often.) Mom and Dad set up perpetual camp in one of the smaller outbuildings, and worked to transform it into a viable living space.
Mom's hammer-wielding technique could use some work itself here, but there's no mistaking the determination on her face.
this document from 1876.
A fine home along the approach road to the Old Farm, winter '46-'47. The Old Farm site is up the hill behind us from this vantage point.
This sort of thing must have been an enormous shock to an Atlanta gal's system -- but she weathered 37 more Upstate winters with aplomb before they, in retirement, moved back South.
But the Old Farm remained in them somewhere deep, and appreciation for what it meant, both historically and as part of a fundamental worldview, managed to work its way into me somehow.
This year's was a good Thanksgiving for me, all things considered. A very good one.