Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Drivin' the Model T...

Years ago, I had custom sepia style note cards (below) made as a gift for my grandmother (LaViolette) and aunt (Mildred). I used a photo of them smoking, when they were teenagers in the 1920's. They got a big kick out of these note cards, and my grandmother had so much fun mailing them to her friends. You can order your own custom cards here, or order some from your local print shop.

Above photo, left to right: Aunt Mildred (about 13 years old), their friend Snookie, and my grandmother LaViolette (about 16 years old)—wearing their one-piece swimsuits and smoking cigarettes at the local "swimming hole."

Mildred and LaViolette, weren’t allowed to eat any processed foods growing up. Their father didn't allow them to even eat cornflakes cereal—only whole foods for longevity. It is still debatable who was the favorite of their parents, but I think Mildred was her dad’s favorite and LaViolette was her mother’s favorite. Their father thought both of his daughters should be able to do everything that the boys could do, and therefore taught them both how to drive their Model T Ford when they were only 10 years old. They were the only girls in their neck of the woods that knew how to drive, and later in their teens "chauffeured" all of their friends to parties—including the boys.

Above, left to right: LaViolette and Mildred in their 70's—they still liked to have a good time and go to parties...playfully showing some leg. The sisters in about 1915.

During prohibition, when they were teenagers, their father would let them get dressed up and attend parties at speakeasies in the big city. Mildred begged her dad to buy her fishnet stockings (and he would), and he also let her wear his fur coat when they went to parties (he was a fur trader).
Above: The original photo of my grandmother, that I used for the note cards.

In their early teens, my grandmother cut her and her sister’s long hair (and their friends too) into a short style which they called “the mannish dip.”
Above: My grandmother (on the left) looking boyish with her cropped hair and "wrapped bosom," with a friend—dressed up and going to some party in the 1920's.

My grandmother had large breasts which weren't very fashionable then, and would wrap herself in a towel to flatten her appearance when they got dressed up—while Mildred had a more fashionable svelte figure. They had many fun and care-free times as teenagers.

I'm attending my grandmother's memorial this week in celebration of her long life. I will be out of town until next week, but will be back next Wednesday!


Christi said...

What a wonderful life she lived.

ayem8y said...

Have a great time remembering your grandmother. Get out the model T, wear a one piece tank to the swimmin’ hole, style each others hair in a mannish dip and don’t smoke too much.

Uncle Beefy said...

What a wonderful tribute to your grandmother! Sounds like she was great fun to have around and she's be pleased with your honoring of her.

Be well. See you when you return! :)

.savannah. said...

both of them seem like truly amazing women who have lead fabulous lives. they sound like tons of fun to be around. kudos for writing this sweet tribute!

jason said...

Wonderful photo...wonderful stories...but more wonderful woman!

MJ said...

playfully showing some leg

My new role models.

Imagine having a friend named “Snookie”… you don’t hear THAT name anymore!

I remember my old relatives referring to the “Mannish Dip” as the “Boyish Bob.”

You and your grandmother were blessed to have each other.

Long live the spirit of LaViolette!

Scott Fazzini said...

Mr. P.- What a fantastic post, and what fantastic women! They don't make them like that anymore. Thanks for sharing!

home before dark said...

Lovely. Touching. Heartfelt and Dear. To LaViolette for daring to be herself.