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Thursday, 14 November 2013

Seoia Saturday - A Sentimental Journey


Sepia Saturday give bloggers an opportunity to share their family history and memories  through photographs.

I featured Doorways to Life in a recent August prompt, so had to think hard  about this one, without repeating photographs.  
I remember my mother wearing an overall (plus her hair in a turban) for washday Mondays - but in no way would she have had her photograph taken like that. 
So here is a sentimental journey  into family memories against a background of doors and windows.

 "There was a little girl who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead".
 I am the little girl, perched on the step of our back door, though the curl soon disappeared and I have never known my hair anything other than naturally straight.  
The same back garden.  This is a  younger image of my mother as I can only remember her with grey hair - I have no recollection of having a kitten either. Nowadays I think we would move that dustbin out of the way before taking a photograph!

A happy photograph of my mother Kathleen Danson and her sister Edith. - 1930's.  
Both Edith and Kathleen enjoyed fashion, and made their own clothes on a treadle machine - their house did not have electricity until 1958.  They regularly went dancing at the Winter Gardens, and the Tower Ballrooms in Blackpool - where my mother met my father. 

My father with my mother on the right and her sister (my aunt Edith)  on the left.  I guess this was taken around 1941 before Dad went off to war.

In 1936 before he married, my father went to work in Liverpool and had digs with the Pettigrew family. He recollected that  "My landlady Mrs Pettigrew was on the stage at one time with Rob Wilton, (a well known northern comedian) and   her husband was the manager of the Shakespeare Theatre in Liverpool.  Her daughter was called Renee"

Dad remained in touch with the family long after and I have memories of us visiting them  in Liverpool in the early 1950's and playing with Mrs Pettigrew's granddaughter Gaye.  

However I did not like it when the conversation turned to their war time experiences of being  in the air raid shelters during  the heavy bombing inflicted on the city.

The photograph in the doorway of their home shows my mother at the back, with Renee in front with Mrs Pettigrew behind Gaye.  I am the little girl (almost cut off) with the toothless grin  and crochet square cardigan - one my mother's handiworks, as was the smocked shirt worn by my brother Chris (with his head down).   

Thirty years on and this is my little daughter playing hide and seek in a doorway at the ruined Heritage Castle near Hawick in the Scottish Borders.

Hermitage Castle  was a favourite outing and here on the right in the white coat is my aunt Peggy who emigrated to Australia in 1949 shortly after her marriage.  She returned for her only visit c.1980 and came up to Scotland. Here with my Aunt Edith (her sister), myself  and my young daughter.

Daughter (in work uniform)  now grown up and proudly showing off her new home.
Photographs that all bring a smile to my face!

Copyright © 2013 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved



  1. A wonderfully happy progression of family photographs. Your Mom & aunt are to be commended for sewing their own clothing on a treadle machine! And quite fashionable duds they were, too. Loved their smartly cocked hats. On your father, too, in the next photo. Confident adventurous people will do that. :)

  2. Your mom and aunt were certainly accomplished seamstresses.

  3. Nice photos, but it seems sad that you only remember your mother with grey hair.i assume she went grey early. Also sad that your aunt only returned once. My mother-in-law came to Australia as a war bride, but has returned many times. She's now in her late 80s, and since my father-in-law died in 1992, she has gone every year to visit her mother and siblings.

  4. And so they should! (bring a smile to your face)

    Edith and Kathleen were real fashion-plates, weren't they?

  5. They certainly brought a smile of near recognition to my face. Same period of time, same northern doorways, same background events.

  6. I remember Rob Wilton and can still hear his voice saying, "The day war broke out." Great collection of door photos enhanced by those they frame,

  7. Doorways, family history -- such a nice connection!

  8. Lovely photos and tales along with them...the sisters in the 30's made me recall my relatives early use of treadle machines...look at the clothing they designed and made using that, remarkable. The doorway photo with the Pettigrews is also interesting, comparing faces of the crowd and had you not pointed it our, I would have missed the person in the doorway. A great post

  9. You remind me of our 'link' having mothers as great seamstresses. You have also reminded me to chase up some photos of clothes mum made herself.

  10. I didn't go searching for a series of family in doorways, but this makes me think I should!

  11. What a little cutie you were Sue and how lovely your crochet cardi is!

  12. The 40s photo of your mom and aunt is great. The 40s clothes had such a clamerous look to them -- classy, mysterious, and lovely. Nice pics.

  13. All wonderful warm images. Question...did your daughter take to the stage? I hear a show tune coming on.

  14. It's good to see Edith and Kathleen again. I remember a post you did about their sewing skills. I'm sure I would have liked knowing them!

    Your daughter in the doorway is the quintessential welcome to a new home.

  15. You are adorable. Great happy family moments to treasure here!

  16. Charming photos. Edith and Kathleen had the lovely slim figures to show off their elegant clothes to best advantage.


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