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Archive for August, 2010

From the wooden box of photos lent to me by The Olde Towne Trading Post antique store, here are more of my very favourites of the old photos from the batch that revolved around a house on Brumbach Street.  The photos continue to move and haunt me with their beauty and humour and with the many unknowns about the lives of these people.  The one of Arnie Oja walking home in the snow, probably from work, speaks to me because it is near my current house, and also I know the feeling of walking home from a hard day.  The others mostly speak to me of love and friendship.

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old time mystery

I disappeared for awhile from garden blogging into a lost, historic world of a family from the small town where I live.  In my favourite local antique store and coffee cafe, The Olde Towne Trading Post, I discovered a wooden box of vintage photos which owner Chester had bought at an estate sale down the street.  He had asked how much, and the seller had placed a value only on the wooden box, not the photos inside, some of which had been torn from one of those old black paper photo albums.  I spent most of my free computer time scanning over 200 of these photos and putting them in 3 albums on the Discover Ilwaco Facebook page.  Perhaps someone with good facial recognition skills  can help me solve a mystery.

dahlia garden on school hill

Laura and mystery man on the beach

To the left, a garden on school hill.  (And that is about all that this entry has to do with gardening.) It took several talks with a couple of local oldtimers to sort out that the photos revolved around a family whose house this was.   The matriarch and patriach were Lorah and Bill Martin.  It took me awhile to realize that Laura Hogeli, the woman in the beach photo, was the daughter of Lorah and her first husband, and that Bill Martin was her stepfather.  She looked rather like her mother, and for the first few evenings of scanning I thought they were the same person, young and then aged.  The mystery man with Laura appears in many photos, but I have still been unable to identify him.

Laura and her man on the beach

Here are Laura and the man of mystery on the beach….Not our beach, maybe a day trip to Seaside, Oregon.

tinted photo of Laura and Mr ?

Looks like the mystery man to me...

Surely the tinted photo is of the same couple, Laura and Mr. Mystery.   And surely that is he and Laura on a trip to the city?

I am almost completely hampered by face blindness (prosopagnosia) and I struggle to see in his face if he is the same man with the strong peak on the side of his hair as in the other photos of the two of them.

mystery man in uniform

Then he appears in uniform…Or I think it is he, as I cannot see the part in his hair while he wears a hat.  And then…he disappears from view…or does he?

after the war?

Because….isn’t that him, with that distinctive hair?  But is that Laura with him, or another woman?  He definitely looks older. And then the handwriting on the photos say “I love you” (signed?) “Joe”.  What does that signify? Is his name Joe?  Did someone else named Joe give these two the photos? And again, is that Laura?

None of the oldtimers that I or Chester and Luanne of Olde Towne Trading Post recognize him or can put a name to him.  And there is a photo of Laura McWilliams later on that is definitely our Laura…but he is not Mr. McWilliams, apparently.  Did he die in the war?  Did someone’s heart get broken?

Laura's wedding?

Laura and "Rum" Takko

Isn’t that Laura in the photo with a veil atop her head, and is she marrying Mr. McWilliams?  And in the 60s era coloured snapshot, someone definitely identified the older woman as Laura, and she latered married that fellow, Hugo “Rum” Takko.  Due to the annoying habit that women have of changing their names upon marriage, she is buried in the Ilwaco cemetery as Laura Takko:  Takko, Laura C., b. 22 Jul 1910, d. Aug 1982 Ilwaco WA

There are many images of Laura in the wooden box photos, but most of them are with that original man of mystery.  How I long to know the story.  In another,  she is identified in writing on the back as Laura McWilliams on “surgery hill”:

"Laura McWilliams", left

Laura appears in some photos with assorted friends.  To complicate matters, she had a sister who may have looked rather like her.  Perhaps someone without face blindness can help me sort this out:

Laura and friend

Laura and another friend

Laura, second to right?

Laura and friend

Laura's sister Sylvia...and brother?

An old man who looked at the photos in the antique store said the woman in the photo with the Lyle Lovett resemblance was Laura’s sister Sylvia Hogeli, with their brother Mort Hogeli, who became a Seaside police officer.

Finally, I offer this photo, and ask you if the woman is the same one who appeared in the previous photo of the Mystery Man approaching middle age , and is she Laura? She could be a bride…or a maid or matron of honour.

Laura? or Sylvia?

P.S.  Here’s an amusing description of face blindness.  I don’t know why I can recognize plants quite well, but not people, but that’s the way it is.  I also find it difficult to differentiate between large conifers.

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