Saturday, March 8, 2014


The prompt this week on Sepia Saturday 
would take us to Sidney's backyards circa 1900 during an outbreak of bubonic plague. 
I'll take you to a different backyard in another time of turmoil [WW2].

"Grandma in her Garden [Mont-Joli, possibly circa 1940s]" 

You'll obviously realize I have edited this photograph. 
Electric cables crossed the little bit of sky present here so I removed them. 
A partial view of a window and a door were visible [and distracting] on the house on the right. 
There were stains and scratches... 
Got rid of those as well!!! 
I then overlaid a vintage texture where I could control the vintage value better 
than what time had laid over this poor little photograph. 
My maternal grandma standing in her garden. 
I suspect my grandfather was not likely to be the photographer. 
It would be out of character somehow, 
but I could be wrong... 
Grandma seems relax, 
wearing a pretty dress and she even did her hair up. 
Was there a special occasion?!? 
I'll never know... [nor you for that matter!!]. 
Depending which year this was, 
possibly the elder uncle G. may have already been off to the seminary, 
the younger uncle G. was perhaps gone to work in the Great North; 
the elder boy [M.] may already be employed by the CN [Canadian National Railways]. 
I have no idea what my mother's elder sister did, 
at any time prior to her marriage where she had at least one miscarriage and four healthy children 
before starting her own [successful] lingerie business. 
You met one of her children in my last post, 
that cousin that taught me to play Liebestraum... 
I know mom worked in her father's movie theater and then another; 
in a bank and then for Quebec Telephone
So it would be years before grandma really faced an empty nest, 
and even so, 
friends, relatives and neighbors would always popped by, 
so it's not like the place was ever quiet... 
A graceful host, 
she always had something to present to her guests. 
This picture will remain for me a mystery. 
It seems rather peaceful here 
but the RAF aviators were based nearby, 
German submarines crossed over the Atlantic and were seen in the St-Lawrence River... 
but the real battle was happening elsewhere, 
far away... 
Mostly only terror reigned on this side. 

But I remember things my mom said about that backyard. 
How she and her siblings built snow forts where they battle against the other kids of the neighborhood. 
How she climbed the fruit trees in the yard and ate the fruits 'till she made herself sick. 
How she'd climbed those fences to go to their neighbors instead of going around... 
Mom was a tomboy!! 
Not that you could ever tell by the woman she became... 
Always looking proper and crossing her legs as a lady should.
She also told me about the chicken the kept 
and how that chore was always carried out by the boy that was to become my father, 
because the younger uncle G. was too lazy to do it... 
My father[to-be] ended up with the slice of pie 
because my grandma recognized the effort. 
Uncle G. got one too, 
just because... 
I've shown this backyard before. 
This post here with my mom and the two uncles G. before I officially joined SS; 
here two pictures with a different scenario even if taken at the same place and same time... 
There are a few more but that's it for me today. 
I thought it'd be nice to show grandma on this Woman's Day.

Visit other contributors at 
for gossips or facts shared over the fence.


  1. A lovely picture of your grandmother in her garden. And you're right - she does look very relaxed and happy. I hope that was really the case. Those were rough times for many people whether they were near the war, or had loved ones fighting in it. But I do hope your father-to-be got the bigger slice of pie!

    1. I'm pretty sure he did!!
      Grandma was always rather fond of the boy...

  2. A nice photo to "improve"? No, I think "interpret" is better. I'd guess the original is a small snapshot, and re-framing it for the internet, i.e. everyone else's computer monitor (or smart phone even?!) requires an artist's digital darkroom touch. I'd also say that her dress had some color that in Sepia comes off as camouflage.

    I don't think I've mentioned this before, Bruno, but your centered text style really suits these shorter essays, turning them into a poetry that someone could even recite out loud.

    1. It was indeed a tiny picture, approx 2X3 inches.
      I center my text so it doesn't flag only on one side,
      and I like rhythm so I break my text as I feel it.
      Glad you like it.

  3. Lovely photo of your grandmother, Bruno. Maybe she would have appreciated what you did with it too......thinking you were magic or something!
    When I see an old photo I too wonder what was going on in their heads at that exact time. I like to view photos of my parents/grandparents when they were young and living their lives.

    1. Since I know next to nothing to their lives and the various events,
      it is hard for me to tell the story of my relatives who lived far away,
      and this particular one was a couple of decades before my time...
      But one can imagine what it was like,
      adding to the few meager details I have.
      I only wish my parents had been loquacious...

  4. This is such a relaxed, nice photo of your grandmother. Now I'm going to review the other photos.

    1. Yeah, for once, she wasn't busy in the kitchen.
      Must have been her break, or something...

  5. Your grandmother was a pretty woman, and such a sweet smile she had. That garden area is quite the area too, very nice.

    1. And this is not even the best angle of the place,
      as far as I can remember it.

  6. The wood shingle wall makes your photo very different from most of the contributions this week. You've evoked quite a sense of time, place and family with your words, as usual, Bruno. Thank you.

    1. Well, seeing her alone like this in the garden evoked a certain feeling...
      so opposite to what I always heard about the woman
      because people always congregated around her.

  7. Your grandmother looks every bit the lady and gracious hostess. She would be pleased with your work and words.

  8. Lovely photo - I wonder if she was dressed up for the aviators!? ;)

    1. I doubt that very much.
      Can't say the same about my mom...
      She did like them!!

  9. It's a great photo and even better for your improvements. But the best part is the history that unfolds when you share it.

    1. Just putting to good use the little I know,
      and guessing the rest...

  10. Such a romantic and peaceful photo. She is looking so serene. At first I thought it was a European photo until you explained. You have given us a story but it would be so easy to use this image as the basis fo ra fictional back story. working in the story of the house - the style of construction is unfamiliar to me - and the origin of the garden and why she just happens to be standing there. The photo really captures the imagination.

    1. I'm not a writer but yeah,
      I can well imagine someone writing something off of that picture.

  11. Funny that Mike mentioned your centered text because I was having the same thoughts as I read this post. It works for you but would never work for me. You are indeed poetic in your photoshopping and your story -- such a quiet moment in contrast to a raging world. On a side note, your mom's recollection of eating fruit until she was sick reminded me of a time when we had a cherry tree. I used to climb that tree and eat cherries until I was sick. I still love a cherry pie~

    1. Funny you should say that because wild cherries were one of those fruits she ate too much of,
      that and small apples...
      My whole layout is centered and this is my preference.
      I find it makes for easier reading.
      I could be wrong!!!...

  12. That's a nice picture of your grandmother. Wish I could see the unimproved version too.

    1. Yeah, but then, it would kill the magic, I think...

  13. Your grandmother's 'hair-up' style is so feminine and pretty. I wonder how much effort went in to achieving 'the look'.

  14. I wonder if she was particularly proud of some plant that she had managed to grow...she seems a bit lost in all the greenery so I wonder if that is meant to be the focus as in "Look at how the blah blah tree or bush is coming along".


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