Barbara With a Parasol – 1953

Barbara Lynn Elkins with parasol

My cousin Barbara was six years old when this photograph was taken.  She is holding a little parasol and standing at the edge of their front yard.

In age, Barbara was right between my sister Pearl and me. Every year my father took the three of us to the Michigan State Fair.   We went to the Fair right before the end of summer vacation in early September.

I remember buying little parasols like the one Barbara is holding. They were pin. blue, or yellow with flowers on them. We also liked to buy pop beads that snapped together into bracelets and necklaces. I don’t remember using them after the fair. They were part of the experience, like the cotton candy.

Pearl, Barbara and me in Nanny and Poppy’s backyard.

Living in Detroit, we didn’t see livestock everyday, but we saw it at the fair. I remember King Romancer the 23rd (or something along those lines), the bull who had sired many, many prize winning cows. And the time we rounded a corner to see a huge boar heading down the aisle towards us. Pearl and Barbara jumped behind me. There was someone with the boar and my father was right behind us, so all was well. We watched a 4-H cattle show where a girl kicked her losing heifer.  As we walked through the various barns full of animals, I was envious of the young people who had cots in stalls near their animals.

The only ride we ever went on was the “Tilt-A-Whirl”. It was one step up from the Merry Go Round, and it gave me an upset stomach every year. We must have left for home soon after enjoying this exciting ride.  I’m not sure when we stopped taking our annual trip, but it was well before our teen years.

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19 thoughts on “Barbara With a Parasol – 1953

  1. Lovely how one simple photograph can evoke memories like this one does.

  2. Love this post! I attended the Altamont Fair (near Albany, N.Y.) many summers. My favorite ride as a teen was the Octopus, though I did Tilt-a-Whirl when I was younger. Later, I loved going to the NY State Fair in Syracuse, N.Y.,watching the livestock competitions and visiting the mammoth poultry barn. They reminded me of early years when I lived on a farm before heading to the big city.

  3. Oh pop-beads! I suddenly was struck by my memory of those fun little things…and all the fun of playing with them and wearing them. Yes, that’s the joy of today to remember silly things that were pleasurable…thanks to Sepia Saturday and all who post their images. Thanks!

  4. Great memories. We had the pop beads too. Tilt-a-Whirl turned me off all carnival rides. Like you, I’d get nauseated and wondered why I should pay money to get sick. From then on I was the coat holder standing in front of the roller coaster or ferris wheel or whatever everyone else climbed on happily. The three of you on the swing is precious. Seeing the large animals must have been very exciting.

  5. Very cute! I suspect a lot of American fads for novelty stuff got started at fairs and carnivals. I never got along with the tilt-a-whirl either.

  6. OMG I loved the “Tilt-a-Whirl” up until around my 23rd birthday, that is. I hadn’t been on one in a while. In my teens the youth group I belonged to used to go down to the Santa Cruz boardwalk where we rode all manner or whirly twirly things. I went on the roller coaster there 16 times in a row once. But something happened between my teens & early 20s. One holiday weekend in my 23rd year a traveling carnival set up business with multiple rides at our local shopping mall and I immediately headed for the “Tilt-a-Whirl”. A few minutes later I was climbing out of the ride rather green around the gills! And that was the end of whirly twirly up & down rides for me anymore. Darn!

  7. She’s darling and the trio is enjoying the day together, just as once a long time ago now I liked the tilt-a-whirl too!

  8. I remember pop beads. I loved popping them and making long and short necklaces. The real challenge was figuring out how FEW beads were needed to make a round bracelet that didn’t pop apart on its own. I wonder when someone realized pop beads were a terrible choke hazard. I haven’t seen them in years, so they must not exist anymore.

    1. They do still have pop beads! I googled them. They are not as simple and nice looking as those I remember, in fact, they are pretty gaudy, but they claim they pop together and make jewlery.

  9. Yea,Whirling is overrated!Its strange how we tie ourselves in knots (almost literally,sometimes)
    Although Fairs in general are fun for kids.all that Flash Bang Wallop is never the same when older ,and equally hard to replace!

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