Each month footnoteMaven hosts a wonderful carnival of old photos called Smile for the Camera. Despite the fact that I do not own a plethora of ancestor photos, I have participated every month except for one topic that completely stumped me. And it looked like I was about to be stumped again this month when I saw the topic for the 16th edition: Bling, Ancestor Bling! Maven wrote:
I am always drawn to the beautiful jewelry worn by our ancestors in old photographs. The locket that was your Great Grandmother’s treasure, the pocket watch proudly displayed by a male ancestor, the beautiful crosses of old, and the children with their tiny bracelets. While not many of our ancestors were wealthy enough to own multiple pieces of jewelry, there was the one good piece that held sentimental value. Some of us have been fortunate enough to inherit those treasures. Show us a photograph of your ancestor wearing their “Bling,” or photographs of the pieces you have inherited.
I have shown some photos of my great-aunt showing off some bling, but I wanted to use a new photo, never before seen in public. There’s just one problem with that…my ancestors really weren’t “bling” kind of people. Or, they were too poor to own any bling! My mother and I were never really interested in jewelry, and she did not inherit any from her own mother or grandmothers. So, this carnival will highlight many serious photographs with other’s ancestors displaying wonderful old-fashioned sparkling jewelry. And then there’s me… May I present a different kind of bling –
Ten carnivals ago I showed a photo of my father and his friend, Frank, all dressed up as ballerinas and explained that they participated in parents’ shows at my brother’s high school when I was a child. This photo shows, from left to right, my mother and father and their friends Lil and Frank. They are in costume for two numbers in the Archbishop Ryan High School (for Boys) Mothers Association show, Happy Holidays, which took place on November 19-20, 1976. The show followed the calendar year with skits and dances revolving around the various holidays.
The ladies are dressed for the show’s opening chorus line number to the tune of Happy Holidays and Winter Wonderland. The fur hats and matching muff look chic extraordinaire and fooled all but the ladies who made them – and myself, who helped. The hats were made of the bottom of plastic milk cartons covered with cotton! But doesn’t it look great? Speaking of great, look how wonderful my Mom looks in her miniskirt – she is 40 years old in this picture!
Displaying far more bling than the ladies are the guys – er, well, the one guy and the guy-playing-the-lady. They were the hit of the “February” sequence as they transformed into Elton John and Kiki Dee. The pair lip-synced and danced to Don’t Go Breaking My Heart for Valentine’s Day. My Dad, as Sir Elton, the king of bling, sports huge heart glasses, some neck-bling, and lots of sequins. Not to be outdone, Frank gets in touch with his inner comedienne as Kiki – check out those heart earings and the feather boa! What isn’t revealed in this photo is his plunging neckline and the dress slit “up to here”! Even in comedy routines, the very masculine Frank always managed to look classier dressed as a woman than some of the women did!
[Written for the 16th edition of Smile for the Camera: Bling, Ancestor Bling!]