Old Fashioned Valentines

I have several valentines that my dad, Clarence, received when he attended a country grade school back in the 1920’s. Think of The Little Rascals times, Darla and Alfalfa. But in this case Clarence and Della, Ruth, Eva and Alice.

old fashioned valentines

vintage valentines

The back sides are as cute as the fronts.

antique valentines

blunt bangs

The valentine message hasn’t changed much over the years.

be mine

valentine verse

The fold out style cards are a work of art. This one was made in Germany.


der Vogel

So sweet.

Bundled Up For Winter, A Long Time Ago.

Looking through old family photo albums, I came across these pictures of winter wear from the past. (I suggest you click on each photo to enlarge and get a good look at the fashions.) Snow and cold was just a part of life. Winters in Minnesota can hover around the zero degrees mark.

winter groupAbove, my grandma Esther is on the far left, wearing a black coat. My mother is front and center wearing a dark wool coat with a fur collar.. and bare legs wearing just anklets.

winter girlHere is my mom when she was 20 years old. She’s certainly not going out to help in barn wearing this neat wool jacket and white mittens. Maybe she’s going to a church ‘young people’s’ meeting. Notice the white kitty in her own fur coat, climbing up the tree.

trio in the snowNo names or date for this photo, and I don’t recognize the faces, but my guess is the late 19-teens. I love the hats.

Ms fur coatThis fur coat looks very heavy and very warm. The hat is fur too. A large decorative button sits low on the waist. I believe she’s wearing overshoes, not boots. Again a picture with no name just the date, 1926. In another picture of this same woman in the same outfit, she’s standing in front of a Svenska (Swedish) Lutheran Church.

ski timeI just love this of my grandma Esther as a teenager, cross country skiing in a wool coat over a dress. Both she and her mother could sew. Maybe one of them made this coat. Snow didn’t stop this girl from going places.


3 girls going places Here are three girls going places. The backside says ‘1.Emma works at ath.club 2.Sadie goes to college 3. Jessie office girl’. Looks to be around the WW1 years.


Dads and Their Cars


My dad, Clarence, grew up in rural Minnesota. Notice the barn in the background. I have no year for this but my guess is this was taken around 1940. (Too bad the front end of the car isn’t seen.) I can just picture him driving around the bumpy dirt roads between his mother’s place and his sister’s house. This may be the car he drove on his first date with my mom. They went to a ‘young people’s gathering’ at a small country church. He always said he wished he’d kept that car.


Another country man was my father-in-law, J.D., here with his swell looking car. I wonder if it’s Sunday with that hat and tie. The chicken seems glad to be part of the picture and not the Sunday dinner.


Vintage Mother’s Day Card

The inside of this vintage card says, “More than the treasures of all the world is the wonderful gift of a mother’s love. The Lord bless thee, and keep thee.” My Grandma Esther gave this card to her mother around the year 1915, when Esther was a young woman. There is no company name on the card, just ‘C 49”  on the back side.

4th of July, A Long Time Ago

Someone who knew my mom was getting rid of an old photo album. It had been passed down a few generations. That person didn’t recognize too many faces but thought some of the men looked like my mom’s relatives so they gave it to her. She and I looked through it and while most of the people she couldn’t recall, there were many pictures that included her thick mop-haired uncles and their wives. In this photo the man on the left is definitely a relative. Her dad came from a large family of mostly boys. We guessed the album had belonged to one of her uncles. This is the first of many pictures I want to show you from that old album. They’re different from many I’ve seen from that era. This group loved to play and pose for the camera. There’s nothing stiff or serious about them. My mom has told me stories about her high spirited, trick playing uncles so I wasn’t too surprised. This 4th of July picture is mild mannered, but in future posts you’ll see what I mean. I like to think the man on the bike had been riding around the farmyard waving the flag singing Yankee Doodle.

Weddings, The Way They Used To Be

weddings past

this bride is having second thoughts

The first wedding I went to was my cousin’s back in the early 1960’s when I was about 5 years old. My family was seated in the church balcony where I had a bird’s eye view of this new and spectacular event for me. The church was bright from the strong sunlight streaming through the stained glass windows. Below me was a sea of lovely women’s hats in every summer color.

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Home Ideas For Summer

Fifty years ago hardware stores were nothing big or fancy, just places to buy the basic items such as hinges, screws, paint, tools and toasters. Even in the big city, hardware stores were not like those we have today with the huge pre-made, pre-fab, plastic inventory. Anything bigger than a bread box that wasn’t in the Sears or Wards catalog, would have to be built by yourself. If the Mrs. wanted a planter, the Mr. had to make it. If the kids wanted a sandbox, daddy built it. Birdhouses to recreation rooms in the basement, were all homemade. A trip to the local hardware store and the lumberyard would be the first step.

I came across “Home Ideas” by Craft Patterns of Elmhurst, Illinois. This old catalog is full of great patterns for about 50 cents- $1.00 each.  There are patterns for telephone shelves, window seats, spice shelves, play houses and garages. I didn’t see a printing date, but judging by the photos, it looks to be the early 60’s…the girl models dress just like my older sisters and their friends did at that time.

kook out


waiting for cheerleading practice

What about this ROUND-THE-TREE SEAT. Built in two easily moved sections, it’s no hindrance when mowing the lawn. A perfect place to sit and wait for a ride to the root beer stand.



useful cartGardening is so much easier with this UTILITY LAWN CART. It also doubles as a baby buggy, at a different time.

rocking moon toyCalled the ROCKING MOON TOY, this should not be played with for at least an hour after eating a meal. Could be really fun or really dangerous for kids who live on a hill.

don't try this at homeFor the adults, it’s an OUTBOARD MOTOR SKI-BOARD. Hang on, is all I can say.

camperYes, folks used to build their own campers. This SPORTSMAN TRAILER is made from plywood. The plans include a kitchenette and space for a rifle.

More Old Days, Old Ways

More from an old family photo album. Looking at things we don’t see much of anymore.

Aunt Betty

         Farm women wearing their everyday dresses while driving a tractor.



sittin' on the steps

       Before TV, friends and neighbors would gather on the front steps of homes to visit.



a game of horseshoe

    The men would play a game of horseshoe on a summer afternoon.



Sunday drive

      Folks would take a “Sunday drive”.  A slow drive many times ending up in the countryside.



For more old family pictures I’ve posted, go to the right hand margin under Archives and look for “Old Days, Old Ways” and “Summer Days, A Long Time Ago“.







The Old Record Player

My dad was the youngest in a family of four kids. They lived a simple life in rural Minnesota. That was back in the 1920’s.


The family owned an Edison phonograph that played cylinder shaped records.

The record player and many records have been passed down to me.  Once in a while we play a few records; Everything is Hunky Dory by Collins & Harlan, That Old Gang of Mine by B. Jones & E. Hare, Be My Little Bumble Bee by Eliz. Spencer & Van Brunt, as well as fox trots and hymns.

Each record plays one song. The sound quality isn’t too bad and can be heard by all in the room.

To play a record, windup the crank on the side of the phonograph. This makes the cylinder spin. Then the needle is placed on the starting end of the record. The needle glides down the record as the song plays. When the song is over the needle has moved to the other end of the record. The above picture shows the needle on top of the record.

Every record has it’s original case.

Most of the top covers are long gone and the few remaining have been repaired with needle and thread. They took good care of their record player which was a form of entertainment during those long, cold winter evenings and lazy Sunday afternoons in the summer before there was TV.

Listening to personal music has come a long way since Scott Joplin on the player piano and The Homestead Trio on an Edison cylinder player. Flat long playing records ruled for many years spinning The Carter Family on the Victrola and later the Rolling Stones on a Hi-FI stereo.  Following came Jethro Tull on the 8 track and Buckwheat Zydeco on cassette tapes. Then came CDs with Sting and now it’s Kirk Franklin on a tiny hand held device. What next?

“Thank God It’s Friday!”

TGIF                                                       “Thank God It’s Friday!”



My caption for an old book illustration out of ‘The True Story Book’ by Andrew Lang. Illustration by L. Speed for the story ‘The Worthy Enterprise of John Foxe’. Copyright 1893, Longmans, Green, And Co., London.