Saturday, October 11, 2008

Antique Photos

In his youth, my maternal grandfather, Clarence Hafford, joined the Chautauqua Circuit as an accordion player. It was a traveling group, offering lectures, concerts, plays, singing, dancing, and other entertainment, a bit like Vaudeville, I take it, perhaps ratcheted up one or two cultural notches (or not).

(Wendy, if you read this, why don't you tell us The Rest of the Story about that accordion?)

I don't know where my grandfather's particular circuit went, or exactly when these pictures were taken, but my best estimate is, within a year either side of 1920. I think they are charming and interesting, so I wanted to share them with you. I'll put a few more in another post.

You can click on any of these images to enlarge it.

Shopkeeper Opening Up

"Miss Clemmons" Grandpa told us this was the sister of Samuel Clemmons, aka Sam Clemens, aka Mark Twain. She gave lectures about her famous brother. I think it must be his daughter, though.

Grandpa in the foreground, Miss Clemmons hamming it up with other ladies of the Circuit.

Barbara and I once dubbed this picture, "Fords Fording the Ford."

Gamblers on Train. I believe the man looking at us on our left is my grandfather. To catch him cheating was half the fun when he played cards with us.


Michelle M. said...

Those photos are really neat. Thanks for sharing them.

Anonymous said...

The Rest of the Story: there isn't much to it. I used to see the old accordion up in the attic every time we visited, so I finally asked Grandpa if I could have it. He said he would be happy to give it to me on one condition: I had to learn to play it!I was 13, and Mom paid for me to take a year of accordion lessons. A year was enough, even according to my teacher, who knew I just wanted to play it for fun and not seriously. My friends and I took it with us Christmas caroling that year. Larry carried it for me from house to house, because this was not one of your modern small lightweight instruments, but an old big HEAVY one. Alas one year it finally started to wheeze on certain notes. It had finally met its demise, but not before giving me great pleasure.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Wendy! You've left out the best part of it.

First, it was Grandma, not Grandpa, who said you could have that accordion if you'd learn to play it. And if you would not tell Grandpa!

So you got the accordion fixed up, took those lessons for a year until your teacher told you she had taught you all you needed to learn, and then you brought the accordion with you to our family Christmas gathering in Bay City, Michigan. Where Grandma and Grandpa also were.

And while we were all together in one room except you, you strapped on your accordion and came into the room playing a Christmas carol, which we all sang. With everybody sort of smirking, wondering what Grandpa's reaction would be. When the singing was over, he said, "I used to have an accordion a lot like that one." And we all laughed and told him the truth, that this WAS his old accordion!

Just Mairs said...

Thanks so much for sharing those photos and your memories - what a treat! I actually have a degree in Theater History and those photos would be much coveted in the circles in which I once ran! lol