Men Wearing Hats in Poppy’s Yard – 1961

On May 21, 1961, my grandparents, Fannie and Mershell Graham, lined up their guests for the ritual photographs in their Eastside Detroit backyard.  These are streaky polaroids. One of the first things I noticed about the lower photograph is the uncut grass. I don’t remember ever seeing it like that.

"Theodore backyard Rance Allen"
Verso: “Our backyard 9-21-1961 (right to left) John Wesley, John Bishops son, Ernest and Shell”

In the photo above (from left to right), my grandfather Mershell stands on the left. Ernest and John Bishop’s son are in the middle and my grandmother’s first cousin, John Wesley Allen is on the far right.  I don’t know who Ernest, John Bishop or his son were and I don’t have enough information to look into the matter right now.  John Wesley was visiting from Chicago with his wife, Bobbie, who appears in the women’s line below.

"theodore backyard bobbie visits"
Verso:  “Bobbie, Bluetta, Mrs Bishop, Daisy, Fan, Alice, Abbie.   Taken by John Wesley Allen in our back yard 9-21-61.  Daisy passed 11-24-61.  Her last picture.”

We start this picture with my 2x great Aunt, Abbie Allen Brown on the left end.  Abbie was aunt to my grandmother and her sisters and to John Wesley Allen in the other photo.  Next to Abbie is my grandmother’s youngest sister, Alice Turner; then my grandmother Fannie Turner Graham; sister Daisy Turner. Next in line are two women I don’t know. I’m not sure the one second from the right is named Bluetta but that’s what it looked like to me.  On the far right is John Wesley Allen’s wife, Bobbie Conyer Allen.

All of my direct family members in these photos were born in Alabama. Bobbie was born in Sumter county Georgia.  Their ages range in age from Alice, who was 53  up to Aunt Abbie, who was 85. Daisy died unexpectedly from an aneurysm on November 11 of that same year. This was her last picture.  After that Alice moved in with my grandparents and Aunt Abbie.

For more Sepia Saturday, CLICK!
For more Sepia Saturday, CLICK!

This weeks prompt shows a row of fenced yards with three men in hats standing in the alley.


30 thoughts on “Men Wearing Hats in Poppy’s Yard – 1961

  1. Kristin, I always love reading your posts and anticpate the next shared photo. You bring life to your ancestor’s story. Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. Shows you how observant I am! My view honed in on the fences. I never even noticed the 3 men in hats. There are 2 other fellow in the yard between the darker fences, also wearing hats. You have better eyes than I. And you do always have interesting pictures and stories to go along with them!

  3. Great backyard lineups. Is that a tripod of some kind to the left of the photos, or perhaps a climbing frame for beans or something?

    1. If you look at the header photo, which was taken from a different angle, you can see that part of the “tripod” was the legs for the swing. The third part, which really was standing alone, seems to be a wind propeller mounted on a pipe. I have to admit, I don’t remember it, but there it is.

  4. It is humbling to know you’re looking at someone’s last photo. I hope I look good in my last photo — I’m usually caught off guard with some weird expression.

    As for streaky photos, I think there’s something rather interesting about that. It’s part of the history of the times.

    1. I have to admit that although those streaks are signs of the time, they just make me wish they’d used a film camera. But if they had, maybe my grandmother wouldn’t have had these particular photos, so I guess I shouldn’t complain!

  5. I don’t think it is uncut grass in the photo. Perhaps a cottage garden? It would probably look beautiful if it was a colour photo!

    1. When we went over on Saturdays and played in the yard, I don’t remember the grass ever being that long. I guess I should take a look at other photos to check but maybe because it was September he wasn’t cutting the grass as often. And we grandkids were about highschool age and not playing in the backyard like we did when we were younger either.

    1. That’s Bobbie, John Wesley’s wife and I wondered about that camera too and what happened to the photographs taken on it!

  6. Such happy times! It’s funny about the long grass, because I have some family photos too with the grass appearing so long, and I don’t remember it that way either. Perhaps we all cut our grass way shorter these days!

  7. Wow, Kristin, your family line up looks like mine. Every time they were together, there was the obligatory picture of the line up. I used to laugh at the “line-up” photos, but now I am so glad that my family took those photos of folks I dinna always know too well. Thanks for sharing your line-up.

    1. I just went back to check with the originals, they do have varying degrees of sepia, depending on how the fixative fixed. I believe I used photoshop to try and smooth that out.

  8. The men in the first photo seem to be sharing a joke that someone made just the second before the shutter clicked. I think you shared the other photo before and I remembered liking how the women have linked arms in that way of older generations.

  9. I’m loving Daisy’s apron. Reminds me of my grandmother. I have one of her old aprons hanging in the kitchen cupboard for when I’m baking Christmas cookies. Makes me feel closer to her though she’s been gone since ’68.

  10. I wish I could of heard what they were talking about that day! Looks like she is holding a camera instead of a pocketbook.

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