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.