Sepia Saturday 305 – Just a Little Hot Air

Oct / Nov / Dec 2015

Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images.

It has taken me until Sunday to think of a photo to fit this week’s theme:

bubble gum

Me at the Hedrick Y. Taken by Grandma Abbie.

Me. Blowing my first bubble gum bubble. You might think it’s a bit of a stretch.

Let’s be honest. It wasn’t the first bubble I blew. I blew my first successful bubble, ran to tell my grandmother, who got her camera and we went back outside so I could blow another one for posterity. I don’t know how long she had to wait for me to master the correct form again and fill the stretched out gum with just a wee bit of hot air, but I did eventually manage to recreate the moment. And I look pretty pleased with myself.

Fly on over to Sepia Saturday to see what other bloggers have offered for the theme.

Vintage Baby Cards = Vintage Me

When I was working on my last post, The Book of Me – My Birth, I found the gift cards from a baby shower and lots of other cards sent to my parents when I was born. I love the style of these cards from the 50s and, although I hate to admit it, these vintage cards date me as vintage too.

I thought I’d share a few of the cards – either because they are cute or depict the style of the day – or because I thought the present day descendants of the senders would like to see them.

This first one is strictly shown for its style.
kathy baby card 1 front

kathy baby card 1 front inside1


kathy baby card 1 front inside2

kathy baby card 1 front inside3

The card below is from my great aunt and uncle – Woodye Webber Kessler (my grandmother Abbie’s sister) and Orville Kessler and their girls. This card is hand made – I assume by Aunt Woodye. All of the little babies are cut out – possibly from another card. I love the little diapers on the clothes line that she cut out and glued into place. And it is all so neatly done!
kathy baby card from Woodye kathy baby card from Woodye inside


This note makes me want to know more.
kathy baby card Grandmother Smith

kathy baby card Grandmother Smith back

Effie B. Hall Smith

Effie B. Hall Smith

I don’t know who wrote the note. It is addressed to “Dear Grandchildren” – I assume this means my parents. The note refers to Grandmother Smith – my Dad’s grandmother. Did Grandmother Smith write this note about herself in the 3rd person? That’s what it sounds like to me.

She apparently made a quilt and blanket for me. I never knew my Great-grandmother Smith and I didn’t know that she made these gifts for me. I wish I could see them or know what they looked like!

I think this is the only picture I have of my Great-grandmother Smith. It looks to me like she is crocheting a big afghan or blanket in this picture. She must have been a woman who liked to keep her hands busy.

This last card is from my Mom’s brother and his wife. (Click to enlarge.)
kathy baby card Al and Miriamkathy baby card Al and Miriam inside

It looks like all of the cards were once glued into a scrapbook and later torn out. I also found a scrapbook page with a few notes (written by my mom) about a baby shower given by my Grandmother Abbie and a couple of other women. Grandma Abbie was a crafty lady – I bet she did the napkins folded to look like a baby gown – or at least found the idea for them.
kathy baby shower scrapbook page

Baby Shower
Hostesses Doris Karell, Alma Oliver & Abbie Smith
The napkin

Cream & sugar served from small baby bottles with tops cut off nipples.
Hazel brought blanket with dummy inside to look like baby. Used mirror for face.

The scrapbook page is folded over and this is what is on the reverse.
kathy baby shower scrapbook page reverse

… the details of a couple of games that were played at the baby shower. The list looks like words to unscramble. The difficult-to-read note says: Also passed around tray of different articles you take a good look then tray is removed you write down items you can remember.

There are many more cards, but I think that’s enough to share here. I enjoyed looking through all of them and imagining the ladies at the baby shower.


The Book of Me – My Birth

Note: As described by the creator, Julie Goucher at Anglers Rest, “The Book of Me, Written by You” is an opportunity to remember, explore and rediscover things and memories of our own and perhaps those relatives you know in addition to sharing oral history. Ultimately, this is the creation of a legacy for the future. 

scan0001 (2)Some people have heard stories about the day they were born, but not me. Maybe the fact that my parents separated and divorced by the time I was two has something to do with it.

What I did know is that I was born on October 13th, a Tuesday, at Ottumwa Hospital in Ottumwa, Iowa and that the doctor who delivered me was Dr. Perkins.

I talked to my dad on the phone this week and asked if he remembered anything about the day I was born. He has always had a fantastic memory and is quite a story teller, so I thought he would remember some details, even of this event that took place almost 60 years ago.


A covered bridge on the Skunk River in Keokuk County, Iowa. Destroyed in 2007. Wikimedia Commons, DELTA C.B.: 76’ 1869 BURR OVER N. SKUNK RIVER, Author: JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD;

What he seemed to remember most was the day before I was born. He and my mother went for a drive around a scenic area not too far from where they lived – along the North and South Skunk Rivers in Iowa. My parents lived in Mahaska County, near the towns of Fremont and Hedrick. The north and south tributaries of the Skunk River converge in Keokuk County, which borders Mahaska County to the east and I believe this is where they spent the day. He remembers this as a very enjoyable time, spent looking at the scenery and driving at a leisurely 15-20 miles per hour.

Dad remembered the exact time of my birth – 12:54 P.M.(!), but he seemed a bit foggy on when they actually went to the hospital. Dad remembers Dr. Perkins coming by the house and telling them to get ready and go on to the hospital. He would be there when they arrived. We decided Dr. Perkins must have come by first thing that morning. The closest hospital in the area was in Ottumwa, about 15 miles from their home.

He remembers them both being nervous, but especially my mother. This was at a time when mothers were usually sedated and fathers were sent to the waiting room, so I believe that is what happened at my birth. When I asked if everything went off without a hitch, he said, “Well, no. It wasn’t real easy. It took a while,” but he didn’t give me any further details. Dad said he was very concerned by the marks on my head – from the use of forceps – but that the marks soon went away.

After spending the day at the hospital with us, Dad left to go home for the night, but he didn’t feel like going home and needed something to settle his mind. The movie “Shane” was on at the theater, so he went to the movie before going home. He doesn’t remember if he fell asleep in a chair that night or if he went on to bed.

I was sure that I have my baby book around here somewhere, but I haven’t been able to find it. 🙁 I did find some other documents from my birth, though.

The hospital gave my parents a certificate of my birth – not official, although at the time you could use it to verify a baby’s birth for a variety of purposes – as clearly stated on the bottom of the certificate. I don’t think it would do me much good today, though. Should I decide to run for President, I guess I’ll need to provide a government issued document to prove my birth.

The back of the certificate has my footprints and details my weight and length.
baby footprints

This statement shows that we spent two nights in the hospital, the charges totaled $67.73, and that I received oxygen while I was in the hospital. I wonder why?
Hospital bill for my birth

And here is the front of my birth announcement.
Birth announcement

Thanks to participating in The Book of Me, I was prompted to ask my father for more details about my birth and I am happy that I did. I belonged to a little family that didn’t exist for very long. It was good to hear the memory of a happy time for everyone involved.

If you are interested, I found this video from 1950 about what to expect when delivering a baby. It gives a little insight into the medical practices and mindset of the day.

If any family members around at the time I was born have other details, I’ll hope you’ll leave a comment or email me!