Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Day 8 - Cecee's Adventures

It wasn't long before a man showed up with a big box on three legs. He introduced himself as James Smith, the photographer.

"Ya all have a big room with lots of windows on the north side of the house?" I heard him say to Papa.

"Yes, yes, come this way. We've cleared all the furniture out of our parlor!"

His eyes took in the bunch of us gathered in the room and, after asking questions about who was related to whom, began arranging us into a large group,  made up of small groupings. He put my Uncle John Wise into a chair about mid-group, and Mama into a chair on one end, holding my little sister, Edith. I sat on an ottoman. My hair was braided so tight, I just knew I'd have a headache later on. My sister, Daisy was standing right next to me, threatening to pinch me when the photographer was ready.

Mama had told us ahead of time to look serious and not ruin the picture by smiling. It was scary, anyway, to have our picture made.She told us that we would have to stay in one position and not move.

She didn't smile a lot anyway, because her teeth were brown from spitting snuff.

Papa smoked, too. I knew I wasn't ever going to use that stinky stuff! Ugh!

Tobacco juice was good to use on bee stings, though, but I'll tell that one to you another time!

So, getting back to the photographer - he got us all lined up and we sat there, or stood there, as still as we could.

My nose began to itch, and I thought I was going to sneeze, but I held it. Ten minutes later, we saw this huge flash of powder in a thing the photographer was holding in his right hand. He had just shouted "HOLD IT" and we stayed still for another five minutes.

Then he said, "Okay, folks! You can move now. I reckon we've got it!"

Oh, my goodness! I decided then and there, that I wasn't going to go through that again for anybody, if I had to say anything about it!


Delores said...

It's understandable why those old photos looked so grim. Just imagine trying to hold a smile perfectly for five minutes. You'd end up looking like you were snarling.

Grammy said...

Right. Also, a lot of people were self conscious about the way their teeth looked, because of dental health. An early belief was also that if your image was on paper, your soul was in danger of being taken.