Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Friday, 5 February 2016

These Old Shades


This is my mother looking super-cool in Paris in 1963. It was my parents’ first trip abroad and Mum was so excited. Yes, I know she doesn’t look it here - that’s because she was a victim of my father’s arty-shot that he liked to practise from time to time. He probably told her to assume the look of some sultry film star of the era. Mum is wearing a stylish red dress and her red earrings. I remember the earrings, which were sent by my great-aunt in America. You could pop out the centre from the ‘diamante' circle and pop in another of a different colour to match your outfit. We thought that was cool too but we probably used a different word in the 1960s. To top off the look Mum is wearing ‘shades’ - or sunglasses as we call them. It’s one of the few pictures of any member of my family wearing them in these old snaps from the albums; these days I wouldn’t be without mine in the bright Lanzarote sunshine. 
















Dad and I are fooling around a couple of years later in the Austrian Tyrol. Dad used to wear a cravat, which he thought made him look very fashionable, but the orange jumper is quite bright in itself and it was probably a blessing we were all wearing ‘shades’. The jumper is hiding our trusty Kodak camera and a newspaper. Dig the tartan holdall too!

Just a few ‘old shades’ from my album.  I borrowed the title from the novel by Georgette Heyer, who in turn was quoting a Victorian poet, Austin Dobson. The title sprang to mind because that book of Heyer’s is one I remember from my parents’ bookshelves, even though, as far as I recall, I didn’t read it. It’s appropriate because shades is also a name for ghosts - something or someone from the past.



In this 1954 photo of our family holiday at Seathorne, my brother is the only one wearing sunglasses and shading his eyes. He had been very seriously ill and his eyes were badly affected; the rest of us just narrowed our eyes or squinted. It was the same story throughout subsequent holidays, although I did find this 1961 picture of me wearing trendy white - rimmed shades. I think I was being grumpy and hiding behind them as I didn’t want my picture taken.

My husband tells a story from around the same time, when he discovered his mother’s sunglasses and decided they would be improved by cutting a small hole in each lens to enhance her vision. I don’t think that went down very well. 

There will be plenty more old shades in this week’s Sepia Saturday, so if you want to look really cool, like the people in this week’s prompt, come and join us and see what other contributors saw through the lens.



17 comments:

  1. In the third picture you could have posed as a model for one of those cute little Campbell's Soup kids. :)

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  2. Why does it make people look 'cool' when they wear shades? (Except when they are being interviewed, then it makes them look very arrogant).

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  3. I always think that when people keep their sunglasseson in photographs it is a kind of disguise, as you can't see their eyes.

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  4. An entertaining post, especially the story of your mother's Parisian photo.

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  5. My mother was certainly not best pleased by my modification - they were polaroids, which were pretty expensive at the time. For Little Nell to be wearing sunglasses at an early age in those days was fairly unusual - they were seen as an adult fashion accessory, not a safety device, and people didn't understand the risks of UV light. These days here in the very strong (index 11 UV) sunlight in Lanzarote, and with all the health advice on general offer now, it annoys me to still see toddlers in pushchairs here screwing up their unprotected eyes, while their parents wear UV-blocking shades.

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  6. I had a pair of those color changing earrings. They look great on your mother who wears red very well.
    Funny story about your husband re-engineering the glasses.

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  7. I loved hearing about earrings, which I had forgotten. They were clip-ons, which I wore until my 40's when I finally got my ears pierced. Great set of photos of "shades." I'll have to think a bit more of the use of the same word for ghosts also.

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  8. I've never seen earrings like that but there were watches I remember being popular in the 80s when I was in primary school where you could change the colour of the collar around the dial. Laughing at the 'improvements' your husband made to the sunglasses - I just found a (thankfully cheap) pair of mine in two halves in my handbag - no-one's owned up!

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  9. A clever post to pick out the sunglasses fashion. This week I nearly bid on a cabinet photo circa 1890s that showed 4 musicians in dark glasses who were presumably blind. I think in that era they were the only "cool" people who ever wore them.

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  10. I have astigmatism in my eye and have trouble with light refraction. It is very unlikely that you will find a photo of me outside without my Sunnies on........even on an overcast day.

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  11. Your mother looks very elegant and parisienne; the photo could be from today, her hairstyle, sunglasses and her dress, up to date. In the last photo you look and probably feel very "cool" with your fancy sunglasses.

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  12. The photo of your mother is indeed an artsy photo -- look again at the movement of the color red. This looks like a study of primary colors with red dominating, followed by blue, and finally bits of yellow. It IS artsy!

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  13. love the thought of improving the view through sunglasses, notice sunglasses. Shades bah ! :-)

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  14. I had to laugh at the story about your mum's sunglasses. I think your brother was thinking very creatively :)

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  15. Fantastic photo of your Mum - she looks so stylish, and love that your Dad was up to his old tricks! Great composition with the parasols and red theme.
    Not quite sure what happens to sunglasses in this house - just don't seem to last long. Either fall to bits or mysteriously disappear!

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  16. Your mom looked so chic on her Paris vacation. Not only the bright red dress and earrings, but matching lipstick too.

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  17. Cutting holes in sunglasses to see better! What a classic.

    I too have a shot of my mother sitting at a cafe in Paris. She was so excited to be there she wanted a shot to prove it. Was definitely a highlight of her life. That simple soda on the Champs.

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