Saturday, October 31, 2009

Gordie Marks

Gordon "Gordie" Marks wanted to become a photographer. He was intrigued by the latest gear, read all the photo magazines, and took his camera with him everywhere. His inspiration? You might think it was Weegee, the photojournalist whose stark images grabbed the pages of the New York papers. Perhaps it was one of the great WPA photographers who documented the great depression and left us with some of the most enduring images of the twentieth century. No, those weren't who drove Gordie, it was Flashgun Casey, Crime Photographer, whose radio show ran for some 400 episodes, featured his assistant Ann Williams, and their meeting place, the Blue Note jazz club. What more could a young man want. Unfortunately, the picture above was taken by his brother, the only one in the family who could take a picture that was in focus. Gordie eventually traded in his gear, and started down a new path after hearing his first episode of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, America's fabulous freelance insurance investigator.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Loretta Walker

Loretta Walker worked as a secretary for Montgomery Dry Goods. Montgomery carried linens, clothing, shoes, hats, notions, and sewing supplies for retailers and end users. 18 traveling salesmen covered all the territory from Boston and New York to Chicago. One June morning Loretta said to her boss that she would also like to be in sales, and could really relate to the end buyers. Her boss smirked, "The traveling salesmen jokes and asides will doom you to failure as soon as you put your foot out the door." The answer was no. However, that night Loretta went into the warehouse, loaded her (trusting) brother's car with items of every type. Her boss thought she had quit, but three weeks later she returned with cash, orders from retailers and ideas for new items in the line. In two years time, four more women joined the sales force and Montgomery was hailed as a leader in furthering women in the workplace.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Martha Lewis

Martha Lewis had never won anything. She tried magazine contests, radio shows, Bingo, church raffles, and even punch cards at the local store. When she and her friends went to Atlantic City for the annual teacher's convention, Martha, a math teacher, had already calculated her chances of winning anything. Zero. Yet it would be fun she supposed to squirt the water at the ducks revolving around the big orange wheel. I've thrown away a quarter before, she thought, so why not now. Since I won't win anyway, I'll do it with my eyes closed. She named the prize Bright Eyes.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Martin, it should be understood, didn't like to be called Marty. He was small for his age, but a very serious boy. Martin didn't say much, but one day, out of the blue, he said to his parents that he should like to play the violin. His mother asked why, his father scoffed, and his brothers laughed. His third performance with the New York Philharmonic garnered more praise than any other violinist of the time.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Morgan Family

Michael Morgan announced to the family that since they had never been out of the country, it was time to take a trip. Henry thought about France, Irene and Colleen dreamed of Ireland, and Jimmy was up for anywhere Michael wanted to go. No one guessed Michael was going to buy a car and drive the family to Tijuana, Mexico. Colleen, who noted on the photo that they were in Tia Juana, had a wonderful time, as did all the family, except Irene, who drank water from a well.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"Coco" and Henry

Henry spent three months in France during the great war to end all wars. Coco had a small notions shop in Paris. During a two day leave, Henry went into Paris to buy his sister some genuine French perfume. Coco made several suggestions, Henry made his purchase, and asked Coco if she would have dinner with him. Henry and Coco, back in Malone, NY., went to Niagara Falls for their honeymoon, and Coco kept up her French with visits to nearby Montreal.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Grandmother Pedersen

Grandmother Helga Pedersen knew how to raise the kids. She always gave them room to explore. Even though she had walked this sidewalk with five of them over the last 15 years, she let each one discover it anew, staying back far enough that it became their own big adventure. Lars, shown here, became a travel writer.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Louise Chambers

Louise read all she could find on how to know when you found your true love. Your heart is supposed to skip a beat, hers hadn't; your spine would tingle, you would feel faint, she didn't tingle or faint. All the other girls said it had happened to them, many times, and that in itself was confusing. "How did you know that daddy was your one true love?", she asked her mother. That summer mother's two word answer became clear. "Our eyes".

Friday, October 16, 2009

John and William Collins

John and William posed with mother Mildred Collins. "Pop" Collins took the picture. Pop said he never felt so proud. William, on the right, was killed in France. Pop never took another family photograph.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Frank, Annette, and Ann

Frank's mother told him, always look your best and you will be a success. Frank knew good advice when he heard it. He became one of the top salesmen in his firm. Annette went to Catholic schools from kindergarten through high school. She was about to start a new life in Saint Agnes convent when she met Anthony, one of the sharpest dressers she had ever seen. Annette and Anthony had four children.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Earl Jenkins

Earl Jenkins played football in high school and then went into the service, becoming a radio man on supply transport planes. When recalling his experiences for his friends, he sometimes forgot to remove the helmet before recounting his air corps days. Earl was happily married and his wife said he could always make her laugh.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sara Elmont

Sara was named captain of the basketball team and led them to the state high school finals. They won the silver cup, Sara graduated, began college and the war started. She began work as a welder while continuing school at night. Sara graduated after the war, and got a job as a Phys. Ed teacher. In her first year, the Montville High School girl's basketball team brought home the gold.