Jul 23, 2010

Flashback Friday- The Formal Dining Experience Edition

This week I started a mammoth project which involves scanning the photos of at least 2 lifetimes. My brothers and I are in the process of sorting through my mom's stuff to prepare her condo to sell. There were a ton of family photos in there, some as far back as our grandmother's childhood. We agreed to split the modern photos randomly 3 ways- we all pretty much have photos of our own kids, but wanted some of them with their cousins. But when it comes to the photos of our childhood, our parents' childhood and our grandparents' childhood, we all wanted copies. So I piled the photos into the van (this helped a little to convince me to pass on some other stuff!) and then on Monday I started scanning.

I decided to not really edit- I would scan everything (except really blurry or things like the photo of an unidentified baby from the neck down). What dominated the first batch of scans were a number of photos of really rather formal dinners:

This was my father's side of the family. His mother died when he was quite young, and he grew up in a household with his father and four aunts. We always called them collectively "The Aunties". I don't remember being particularly impressed by the cooking of The Aunties, what I remember is the formality of the whole occasion. I think these photos are probably a holiday because my uncle and his family were there too, but they would put out a spread like this on any random Sunday, too. And for The Aunties, good manners were beyond crucial.

I am not sure if the formality was a sign of the times, or if it was just something our family did. These photos are from around 1960 I believe. I find it particularly funny that in this one, my poor brother appears to be crying, my dad is looking at him with a bit of a disgusted look, and my uncle is tensely trying to pretend nothing is happening. I am sure The Aunties are telling my mom to control her kid! (We always became property of Mom when we misbehaved!)

Lest anyone think it was an isolated phenomenon, here we are at my mom's parents' house! (Actually not "we" as I am not born yet in any of these!) My grandparents were across the street neighbors, so on occasion we did two of these elaborate formal events IN ONE DAY!

Evidently this formality has not carried on into the newest generations. I always beg my sons to "at least pretend you were raised by humans" so perhaps that is a sign they are not quite so well versed in the finer points of ettiquette.

This post is in response to this Flashback Friday post over on Christopher and Tia!


Kunklebaby said...

Very cool! I love old family photo's. It's really cool of you to scan them & share among the family.

i love the term "aunties" too. :D

Christopher And Tia said...

I love seeing old photographs from holiday dinners!! (whether that was an actual holiday or not) Theres just something about everyone dressed up around a large table, with homemade food, that really stays with my heart. I guess I remember family get togethers and stuff, from when I was younger. When my grandparents were still alive, when we all acted together as a large family. It didn't last long. But one of the very reasons that I wanted to have a large family, was so that someday we'd hopefully have big dinners to look forward to. Dinners in where I'd spend hundreds of dollars on food, and hours and hours in the kitchen, and everyone would dress up and sit together and enjoy it all as a big family (happy or not, they'd better do it!). This was a great flashback post, Maggie.

Maggie said...

Oops! My cousin pointed out that the last photo is NOT at the other grandparents house. Sorry, I was confused by the cast of characters!