Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Vintage Summertime Photos

It's still quite warm here, but the days are getting shorter.  Summer is winding down.  I can hear the prep school football team practicing in the athletic field nearby.  Labor Day is just around the corner, but school has already started for some.

I remember when it wasn't just a cliche—we actually did have to write about "What I Did on my Summer Vacation" in grade school.  The assignment was especially fun for me when I had a long family road trip to describe.

How did you spend your summer?

Did you do any boating?

Catch any fish?

Picnic in the park?

While I was putting my sewing room back in order this week, I found these old photos of summertime activities from the early 1900s through the early 1940s. Unfortunately, I don't know most of the people in these pictures, only a few who were distant relatives (the ones in the photo above).

Maybe you took a trip to see the falls?

Showed your prize steer?  No?  Me either.

Farmers generally didn't get to enjoy a summer vacation, but there were still social occasions, like this barn raising.

And a lot of hay to cut and stack.  This rig was called a hay derrick, according to the handwriting on the back.  This was undoubtedly a labor-saving contraption 100 years ago, but it still just looks like hot, hard work to me.

You know what they say:  If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Looks like this unknown man's pet crow is ready for a bike ride.

That reminds me of a story.  My dad and his brother had a pet crow.  They found the bird when he was young and named him Pete.  Pete the crow followed the two boys everywhere.  When they'd walk "uptown" (that's old Wisconsinese for the vicinity of Main Street), Pete would follow them, flying from light pole to light pole all the way.  He'd sit on Dad's arm as he strolled down to the pond to go fishing.  They hand fed Pete and played fetch with him, and he was a good retriever, especially of shiny or sparkly objects.  Unfortunately, the boys momentarily forgot about that when on the 4th of July, they lit a firecracker and threw it.  Pete swooped down to retrieve it...and met his sad demise.

I hope your summer goes out with a bang, just not the incendiary kind.  Enjoy these waning days of August.  Watch for shooting stars, chase a few more fireflies, and take a dip in the water while it's still warm.  

Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to check out the other Vintage Thingie Thursday links at Colorado Lady.


  1. I think I've said this before but I'm envious of all the old photos you have. My family are all chucker-outers and we dont have anything vintage in the way of family snaps. Well I guess those pictures of me as a child would be considered vintage now but you know what I mean !

  2. What a wonderful collection of photos... I feel bad the for the boys & Pete!

  3. Nice old photos. Too bad Pete the crow was such a good retriever.

  4. I loved all your old photos. They seem to tell a story of their own. You came up with a great idea and post for today.

  5. Love the pics! I've got to get my scanner up and running - I've got boxes and boxes of my grandma's old photos in the attic that need to be put on disc. And the story of the crow is priceless! Remind me to tell you the one about my grandma's cat....

  6. What a wonderful post! I love your vintage photographs, they are awesome. I treasure the ones I have of our family! Oh my,my, poor Pete!

    Have a great day!


  7. Nice old trip down memory lane. I admit, I like crows, too. I feed them grapes and bread scraps. Hey, they gotta eat, too!

  8. Oh no! I actually winced when I got to the end of the story about Pete. You are such a good storyteller!

  9. I liked the pet crow story until you got to the part about the firecracker!

  10. Lovely old photos!

    Poor Pete! The two boys must have been so shocked. I saw a science shows on crows once. They are incredibly intelligent. Unlike all other birds, knowledgeable crows will fly towards the sound of a gunshot because they know there might be leftover scraps!

  11. Love these photos...I don't if I should laugh or cry over the crow story!

  12. Sad ending for Pete! Cute story though.

  13. Wonderful photos. I shudder at the thought of poor Pete.

  14. That picture of the fish on a string is a pure CLASSIC!!! I so remember when fishermen kept every fish they caught.

    Now, Fisherhubby and his ilk practice catch and release and you don't see those big stringers anymore!

  15. I love these old photographs. I ended up here, because I was searching for "pet crow" on Google. I have a family story of my own and I'd like to write a blog post and illustrate with an appropriate photo. Would you be willing to let me use the one of the crow on the bike handles? I'd link the photo back to this post, of course. Actually, I'd love to post it to pinterest too, if you haven't already.


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