This photograph was taken about two years after the one of my grandmother Fannie at Sugar Island. Grandma Graham was my grandfather, Mershell Graham’s adopted mother. Mary Virginia was born in April 1920 so she would be 2. Clifton was the son of my grandfather’s adopted brother, Clifton. Mershell Jr was born in June of 1921 so he must be about 1 year old. My mother was born in February, 1923 so my grandmother may have been just pregnant with her here. The park tables and benches are so unanchored. They are all cement now.
8 thoughts on “Belle Isle – Summer 1922”
It amazes me how evokative many American place-names are.Sugar Mountain really exists!!!! (I always thought it just a figment of Neil Young’s imagination!)
I don’t know about Sugar Mountain, this was Sugar Island. Maybe named after Sugar Maples growing there? Now I’ll have to go look for Sugar Mountain.
I love these photos you have been posting taken during summer long past. Despite your calling the tables “unanchored,” they all look so rooted and speak of a calmer, more ordered life, surely made possible for the children by the hard work and values of the parents, grandparents, and larger community. And just to look at them–especially the ones on the water in Athens, Tennessee–in the July heat we’re currently experiencing up here is cooling to the brain and calming to the nerves.
I meant the park benches and tables looked like they were just sitting out there, not chained in place or anything and yet, there they were. Now all the park stuff is cement, impossible to steal. Life was surely different for that generation. More ordered in that household. Mershell died after he was run over by a truck on the way back to school. He broke away from the sister there with her hand on his head and ran into the street. Later, the youngest son also died. Mary V. later had problems with drinking.
P.S. One of my favorite photos of my own son is similarly of him at 8 months old, standing similarly on a picnic table in August, when we were living on the farm, with the grownups in the photo looking fondly at him, one with a hand outstretched over his head as if in benediction. J
I love those photos of the youngest being looked at adoringly by everybody else in the picture.
This is how we should remember them when things were simple and they were young and full of Living.
“…young and full of living”, I like that. I don’t think things were ever really “simple” though.
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