Today’s Mother Dear Monday photos are from Mary Lynn’s first day of dance lessons. In the 7th and 8th grade children from the “other side of the river” (that’s west of the Willamette) are sent to ballroom dance lessons, a tradition that continues today. The girls then and now wear full skirted dresses and everyone dons a pair of white gloves. Around this time of year young ladies visit AlexSandra’s Vintage Emporium to find the appropriate gloves and dresses. Lorenzo, the Italian exchange student who was living with my Grandparents at the time took these photos in their home on Talbot Road. Her red taffeta dress with Peter Pan collar and bow was topped with a gingham pinafore and cinched at the waist with a thin velvet belt.
For as long as I can remember my Mother would complain about how in her youth, my Grandmother would roll her hair in socks that she would have to sleep on only to end up with a well coiffed hairdo that never lasted. Our fine, thin hair just doesn’t hold a curl well. To this day she recalls the pin curl seen in the photos above and how she had to wait until the moment they walked into dance lessons to pull the pin lest the curl be hanging in her face before the hour was through.
Several girls from St. Thomas More would car pool to dance lessons with a different parent driving each week. Here they posed for a precious Catholic Girl group photo. From left to right are Tory Boone, Mary Gay Malarkey, Colleen Doherty, Mary Lynn Bolger and Patty Volstad.
Mary Gay, old timey photo bomber.
Mother Dear had a toy shepherd dog named wags that she loved very much. He saved my Grandmother’s life on more than one occasion and was a beloved member of their family.
These pictures (and this one of Mother Dear’s prom dress) are from a recently discovered box of photos that we thought had been carelessly donated many years ago. Most of these pictures I have never seen before, unlike the photos from her acting career which I have periodically poured over from age four until today. What I have been enjoying most about these more personal family photos is discovering things in the background. The clock seen on the mantle in my Grandparents home sits above my own fireplace today.
I spent the bulk of May, June and July “Summering in Lake Oswego” which is to say Mother Dear and I worked for her friend Carol Welch on a rather large and overwhelming estate sale. The house belonged to 89 year old Joanne Balkovic who had recently passed leaving a house stacked high with her personal belongings and more. When her Mother, Ida Clifford Niesen passed away Joanne crammed all of Ida’s things in her basement. This made the chore of sorting the 40′ by 15′ corridor stacked to the ceiling with just an 18 inch goat trail to get through to other cram packed rooms a bit more entertaining. I discovered several antique trunks under piles of boxes and several televisions. One containted Ida’s wedding photos. Eventually in another part of the house I found a framed invitation from Ida Clifford and George Niesen’s 1925 wedding.
I’m in love with Ida’s tremendous pointed lace crown and veil. It accentuates her hairstyle and makes the demure, eyes cast down posturing of her photo all the more interesting. If you are looking for something similar for your own wedding, check out this gem on eBay.Beware the frightening model! And if you’re curious what a 1920s wedding dress looks like, try this one or this one, both available at Union Made Bride.
I love the grandiose shower bouquets of the 1920s and early 1930s. Filled with greenery and often trailing ribbons with love knots and more, they show a commitment to keeping florists in business. In addition to throwing the bouquet to unmarried female guests, only half of the original tradition – the catcher of the bouquet was entitled to untie a lovers’ knot and the wish she made was said to come true.
Grooms don’t change much from year to year, or even decade to decade for that matter. I’m fond of George Niesen’s boutonniere that appears to have been clipped and never missed from Ida’s bouquet. His Dapper Dan hair is also quite attractive.
I don’t know exactly how long George and Ida were married, but I did find a bunch of things from their 50th wedding anniversary in 1975 so they made it at least that far.
Joanne was also a prolific painter. Among her many canvasses, I found this one painted from her parents wedding photo. They must have meant a lot to her.