A Real American Story

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This is my grandfather, Sharkey George, (lower right) playing a game of cards with his friends in Detroit in 1957.
Sharkey was born in Tel Kaif, Iraq, and was one of the first Chaldean immigrants in the US when he moved with his family to Detroit in 1922.
In 1950, with a meager $400 loan and a battered old milk truck, he, his brother and his father started a small Detroit dairy business called Melody Farms, which would soon became one of the largest family-run ice cream companies in the Midwest by the 1990s.
I am so proud of my grandfather and his real American story; he just turned 94 and still lives in the Detroit area with his wife of 67 years, Rita. ~shared by @gsgeorge

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My Magic Box of Old Family Photos

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“My Grandmother kept a box of old photos in her attic & we used to go up there on rainy days & sit on the floor in the dusty light & go through them & she would tell about witches & broken hearts & how we came from royal blood & it was all there in the pictures, she said & then we’d lose the light & we’d all go downstairs for dinner & in our secrets hearts we sat taller knowing once we had ruled the world.” ~ @brianandreas, Ancient Kings /// Meet Mamie Hytes Callahan Terry. Circa 1940. My grandmother. She was from an upper class family, she loved reading, spoke French, German and loved to bake. She had black hair and pale blue eyes.

My grandmother was a direct descendant of Hugh Capet, the first crown king of France. Louis XVI was her cousin. We are also cousins to most of the other royal families throughout Europe.

She was an amazing woman, although I never has a chance to meet her, except through photos and history like this. She died at age 50 from a brain aneurysm when my Mom was only 17 years old. ~shared by @roberto_2012x

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A New York City Childhood Classic

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This Thursday, we’re throwing it *way* back.

Back to New York City, to classic childhood in the 1940s. And to pure JOY.

The boy in this photo is my Poppy, Nicholas F. Nicastro, back in his heyday.

This photo was taken in the late 1940s when Poppy won the New York City soapbox derby championship!

After winning big in New York City, Poppy was sent to Ohio to compete at nationals. Although he didn’t place, his big spirit won my heart and the hearts of many others.

A “Soap Box Derby” is a soapbox car racing program for kids, which has been run in the United States since 1934. World Championship finals are held every summer at Derby Downs in Akron, Ohio. Cars competing are unpowered, relying completely on gravity to race.

My Poppy always treated everyone with kindness, and in return, was loved by so many. We lost him this past May but he still lives with us in spirit. ~shared by viv1010

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Why Should We Save Family Photos?

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It takes too many years to appreciate our parents. At first, they are giants and superheroes; powerful and omniscient. Too quickly, they become ATMs and a ride; miserly and confining. You begin to wonder how such unenlightened, intolerant people survived when they were your age.

Then you grow up. Maybe get in trouble. Maybe get married. Have kids. And you need them. Finally, you go to them as peers, only to discover that they have somehow grown small and old. Until they speak. And then, you feel knee-high for a moment. They are giants and superheroes. You want to sit down and ask them to repeat everything they tried to tell you for the last 20 years.

But this time you listen. And maybe grab a pen.

These are my parents. Mom and Dad spent the late 1960’s and early 1970’s traveling together all over Europe before landing in Connecticut to have us kids. I’m really fortunate that Dad considered himself somewhat of a photographer. He was an expert at the tripod and self-timer. ~shared by @shawnmcarson

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My Father’s Favorite Photo of My Mother

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My Mother’s birthday is today. This photo was taken in 1930 at Cedar Lake, Wisconsin. She was on summer break from Marquette University in Milwaukee. This was my Dad’s favorite photo of her. If Mom was still with us, she would be mortified by me placing this photo into the feed.

For those of a different generation, please note: the bathing cap, shoes and suits were made from wool at that time.

It was a charming time for her; she loved school. The Depression was going on, but she was at the lake and enjoying college. But she never forgot the soup and bread lines in Milwaukee.

She taught her children to look out for others; to never waste any food. The Depression did not mar her day-to-day existence like others at that time, due to her father and uncles owning a coal business. Coal was the chosen fuel, at the time, to run factories and heat homes.

Her favorite saying about living life was: “Do not put all your eggs in one basket.” Happy Birthday Mom. Thank you for all you taught Joe and me about how to live. Also…she loved cake. ~shared by @tejas42

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An Antarctic Adventure in Family Photos

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Baby, it’s cold outside!

Since everyone is saying we’re having “Arctic” temperatures this winter, I decided to share a photo of my Grandfather, George Tennant, who was actually in the Antarctic while on the Byrd Expedition from 1928-1930. He was the Chief Cook.

There’s even a photo of him holding a penguin, which was featured in National Geographic.

He had a mountain named after him, Tennant Peak, which was discovered in January 1929, and named by Byrd for my Grandfather. ~shared by @mooninthemeadow

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Picturing my Grandmother

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I have been missing my Grandma Evie like crazy lately. She was awesome. Raised 11 kids with my Grandpa in Brookline, Massachusets. A big ol’ Irish Fam.

Their home on Walcott Street was magic.

When I was stressed with work, or life decisions in general, she would have me play cards with her, or work in the rock garden, or prep food in the kitchen. And whatever we’d do together, it would always distract me enough to clear my head.

She knew that I would marry my husband the minute she saw us together. She was graceful, shrewd, complicated, smart and beautiful. And she had a way of making me feel better. Always. ~shared by @volatileladymer
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A Portrait of Mid-Century Childhood

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I found this photo of my Mom, Marlene, from about 1954. She was right around my daughter’s age. My Mom was an Air Force brat; they moved A LOT. I know they were in El Paso, Texas when she was 11, but this is a while before that. So, it may have been taken in Norfolk, Virginia, where she was born and where my Granddad is from.

Her father (my Granddad) was a very strict military man and she was a conservative “good girl.” I think this photo does capture her love of nature and who knows, maybe there was a mischievous girl inside who wished she could play more.

I just love this photo so much; it really says “50’s rural America” to me.

shared by ~@elizabethandrus

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An Appalachian Mother’s Legacy

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This is my beloved mother, Gatha Jean. She was born in 1934 in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky. She grew up poor and fought being labeled a “hillbilly” most of her life. She did, however, learn to appreciate it and late in life was a proud hillbilly.
My Momma passed away in February, 2013 and I am so very grateful that before she passed, I had a chance to sit with her as she told me what she could remember about our old family photos, including this one.

This photo was taken in Bellingham, Washington in 1961. My Momma was 27 years old (the same age my daughter is now) and she and my father were going out. She’s wearing a dress that she made by hand and she’s holding the ever-present ciggy.
I love this photo because my Momma looks happy. She looks hopeful. She looks carefree. And from all the suffering she had already experienced up to this point in her life, I know that wasn’t really the case. My Momma struggled throughout her life with anxiety, mental illness and lack of self-worth. This was ironic because she was absolutely brilliant and a member of MENSA. It wasn’t until she was in her 60s that she finally recognized her worth and took control of her life.
When I look at this photo, I see my mother’s beauty, strength and resilience; she was definitely a fighter. Also, I love her shadow. It always stood out to me, as if it were another person. I made a piece of jewelry with the photo of my Momma on the front and her shadow on the back.
I take great comfort having her shadow with me, even more so now that she’s gone. ~shared by @holddear
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Priceless Family Pictures from World War II

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On the right is Josephine Sarah Brong, a.k.a. my Great Aunt Jo, working as a parachute rigger at Marine Corps Air Station Ewa, 17 miles west of Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.
My mom has dozens of Aunt Jo’s photos from this period. Most of them were taken during leisure time (many picnics and luaus on the beach), but there are a few of her working, like this one. I think she was 28 when this was taken.
Riggers specialized in packing and repairing parachutes. Marine Corps Air Station Ewa was attacked by the Japanese on their approach to Pearl Harbor. When America entered WWII, the base became a center of aviation activity destined for combat in the Pacific Theater.

Aunt Jo enlisted in mid-1943, beginning with basic training in Georgia and continuing to Hawaii. She was in the “Marine Corps Women’s Reserve”, but, as a child, my Mom was always told that Jo was a “Lady Marine.” Mom says Aunt Jo used to talk about riding home to Ohio from California on a “troop train” that was so crowded she had to sit on her foot locker the first few days.

After the war, Jo went to Chicago and studied at Vogue Design School on the GI Bill. She remained there until 1961, then returned to Ohio after her parents died (my great grandparents) to be near her sister (my Great Aunt Helen), living and working in Cleveland.

She finally retired in 1982 and moved back to her childhood home in North Canton, Ohio, to live with Helen. As a child, I visited them a few times. Aunt Jo passed away in 2003. I wasn’t close to her, so now I feel grateful to know about her life and her participation in the war effort, belonging to a very meaningful period in the history of women in this country. My Mom and I really treasure her photos. ~shared by @annamowry

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