I know for a fact that the woman in the bottom picture is my great-grandmother, Patricia (Melhus) Sanchez.  I am assuming that it is also her in the upper picture.  She looks to be of the same build and has the same tights/shoes on.  I am also assuming that these were taken on the same day since it’s pouring down rain in both – and in both she is holding a large bunch of flowers – what kind I can’t tell.

My question is, why was it so important to be picking these flowers while it was obviously raining outside?  It looks like a hot-cocoa-by-the-fireplace kind of day to me. And why take a picture of this?  Was she going to a gravestone with flowers?  I will probably never know, but I’d sure love to hear your ideas!

  • Susan - December 8, 2010 - 9:48 am

    Given how bundled up she is I suspect it’s late in the season. She could be gathering the last blooms, not wanting to lose them to the rain. A cemetery visit is another strong possibility.ReplyCancel

    • Jen - December 8, 2010 - 11:50 am

      She looks like an old babushka in the first photo, but she just seems way too dressed up in the second photo to be simply picking the last of the flowers. She has her cute little hat on. :) I just thought these were kind of odd photos.ReplyCancel

  • Jo Graham - December 8, 2010 - 12:26 pm

    The flowers look like they might be chrysanthemums (sorry about the spelling) perhaps she was rescuing the last of them before the first frost came? I guess it depends on where she was, and what time of year it was. It’s snowing cats and dogs here in Scotland :-(ReplyCancel

  • Theresa Casteel - December 8, 2010 - 12:30 pm

    Looks like she’s dressed for church in the second photo – so I think the cemetery visit might be in line.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)ReplyCancel

  • Nick Woods - December 8, 2010 - 6:35 pm

    The house is a lovely 2 storied cottage. It must have a large front porch, which can’t be seen in this photo.
    The clothes line is visible beside the garden. Note the heavy posts and the”Y” arms which hold the lines apart? The garden was well cared for, the supports for crops are in neat rows behind the flowers.
    Could it be falling snow & rain??
    The shoes were dress shoes. They had heels, and laced in front.
    Older women wore these all the time for dress up. I remember seeing my older Grandmother wearing these, then Grandma Davidson wore them.
    The hose were cotton type hose. They didn’t get runners like nylon and they wore very well. There weren’t many colors. Usually light brown and dark brown or black. (Nurses wore white ones.]
    The 1st picture was probably when your Great Grandmother picked the flowers. She was wearing her everyday clothes, but her good shoes & socks, & had a bandana tied over her nice hairdo.
    The next photo was when she was ready to go to the affair. It could be she had a bouquet of the last flowers from the garden for church or ? She’s smiling. A wedding?? That’s why I wondered if it was a nice affair not a funeral where she might be more thoughtful or sad in the photo.
    Do you suppose her husband or adult child took the photo? If it was during WW II mostly military personnel had film for cameras.
    Thanks so much for the photos, they bring back warm, good, memories of a happy childhood. Mom W.ReplyCancel

  • Jen - December 10, 2010 - 12:56 pm

    Thank you guys for your observations and ideas. It’s always nice to get someone else’s opinion.ReplyCancel

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Brantly Stafford


on the 10. of the 10. Mo.



71 Years

He is buried in Hubbel Hill Cemetery in Tonganoxie, Leavenworth County, Kansas.

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I grew up in a pretty big family.  I am the oldest of 4.  My mom is one of 10, including step- and half-siblings.  My dad is one of 6.

I have enough aunts and uncles and cousins to fill a small town.  At Christmastime, we all would have a series of parties for each set of family members.  It made for quite the month.:)

Christmas Eve was always celebrated at my mom’s cousin Marilyn’s house.  We would eat and exchange presents and visit with everyone.  This was definitely the most formal of our Christmas events.  We always wore something nice.

Wow, we’re having too much fun!  Not sure what year this is, but I’m guessing that I’m about nine or so – maybe 1985?  Judging by our clothes, that might fit, give our take a couple of years.

I’m on the right, sticking my tongue out and pointing at something.  My cousin is next to me.  What on earth did they dress us in?  The late 70’s style must have been super short dresses. Poor Steph appears to be wearing a furry bib which is attached to her dress.  Oh my!:)

One of the weekend’s before Christmas, we would get together with my dad’s side of the family- usually at our house or at one of my uncle’s.  Completely different kind of party.  Piles of food, including my Aunt Colleen’s fudge – yum!  Alcohol.  Rowdiness.  We would do a gift exchange (we drew names at Thanksgiving).  There were way too many people to buy for, so this made it easy.:)

Christmas morning was always just our immediate family.  We’d wake up bright and early and tear open our presents.

From about the time I was 13 and on, we would head to my maternal grandpa’s house in the afternoon.  My mom’s parents were divorced and I actually didn’t meet him until I was almost in high school.  He only lived an hour from us my entire childhood and I really barely knew of his existence.  It makes me sad to think of all the years I didn’t get a chance to know him.

Anyway, we would head to his house for yet another Christmas party with that side of the family.  I was so happy to have tons of added cousins around my age.

All of these parties were of course in addition to the school functions and sometimes a friend’s party also.  It made for a very festive month.  By the time Christmas season was over, we were exhausted!

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December 6 – Santa Claus
Did you ever send a letter to Santa? Did you ever visit Santa and “make a list?” Do you still believe in Santa Claus?

I don’t ever remember going to see the “Mall Santa”. Probably because that cost money. Our elementary school had a Christmas party, complete with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. I don’t know if they’re allowed to do that anymore, are they?

This is a picture of me (on the floor), my sister Andrea and brother David.   Love the shag carpet and just noticed that Santa is in black tennis shoes and plastic “boot” leggings.:)  This must have been taken in December of 1982, making me 6 years old.

Last Christmas, we took the kids to see the REAL Santa Claus at the Santa Claus house in North Pole, AK.  They unfortunately weren’t in the best of moods, but oh well.

I wish that I had some of the Christmas lists I sent to Santa.  I’m sure there was some really cool stuff on there!  I have made sure that I’ve saved the lists that my kids have made, because I’m sure that they will enjoying reading them 50 years from now.:)

  • Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski - December 6, 2010 - 7:11 am

    A wonderful post and I loved the photos. Thanks for sharingReplyCancel

  • Diana Ritchie - December 6, 2010 - 9:51 am

    I hadn’t thought about Santa at school for awhile, but now that you mention it I remember (when I was much older) that my Dad played Santa for the elementary school. I think I even have a picture of that!! (and I’m sure they can’t do THAT any more – oh well)ReplyCancel

  • Cheryl Cayemberg - December 6, 2010 - 3:11 pm

    Great pictures, Jenn! I think most kids are like on “A Christmas Story” and they get shy or scream when confronted with Santa! I wish Ben and Danny would have let me get their pictures with Santa! :)ReplyCancel

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Last week, I posted some WWII-era Coast Guard pictures that looked very strange to me.  Thanks to my uncles for their insight on what was going on.  It all makes sense now.

I was in the Air Force (not that I know anything about planes) and my husband is in the Army.  If the picture had been of tanks, Andy could have given me a detailed 50-page report on it.  Anything boat or navy-related is not my thing.  I still find the pictures interesting, even if I’m clueless.

This week, I am sharing some more pictures of Coast Guard operations. I have posted one of these pictures earlier this year.

Is it just me, or does it seem odd that they are transporting a vehicle on two very small boats?  And the boats are facing opposite directions.  How would they move?  One would be going backwards.  Why would they need to move this vehicle?  Are they on an island somewhere? Am I just a complete ditz?  Anyone out there have any ideas?

  • Cherie Cayemberg - December 6, 2010 - 11:22 am

    Um..holy cow! I’m at a loss for words. If you figure it out please share!ReplyCancel

  • Trevor Sanchez - December 6, 2010 - 5:05 pm

    As you can see in the last pictures, the boats are not lashed opposite to each other but are lashed facing the same direction. Why they had to move the truck in that manner, I have to guess that they didn’t have a dock in which to load the larger ship from. The big ship would have had a deep hull which would keep it from getting close to the shore. So they lashed these two life boats together and used them as sort of a floating dock to get the job done.ReplyCancel

  • Jenny Lanctot - December 6, 2010 - 9:51 pm

    Agreed. They are both facing the same way, just different shaped boats. Both rudders are on the nearest end of both boats.

    These are amazing pictures. I’m amazed at how well they’ve held up.ReplyCancel

  • Jen - December 6, 2010 - 11:43 pm

    Thank you guys! The different shapes at the end of the boats threw me off. I see what you’re talking about with the rudders now and that makes sense. I was trying to figure out how they would move if they were opposite directions. I pictured them going in circles. :) I told you I know nothing about boats and I meant it! I appreciate the help!!ReplyCancel

  • Jo Graham - December 10, 2010 - 6:58 am

    A very inventive method! And it was a success :-) JoReplyCancel

  • Dick Levesque - December 28, 2010 - 3:28 pm

    These boats are NOT facing opposite directions. One is what is called a double-ender and the other just has a flat stern. You can see the rudders on both small boats. I have no idea why they would be moving the vehicle this way but it makes sense to me. Perhaps they are on an island and no larger boat was available. Great pictures.Would you consider sharing them on my Picture site?

    Dick Levesque USCG (ret)ReplyCancel

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