Legacy Writing 365:321

This is my paternal grandfather Ellison Gustavus, also called Ellie Gus and E.G. throughout his life. We called him Papa. He was born in 1870, so that gives you an idea of how old this photo is. On the back, someone has written, “This print made from a tintype.” I don’t recognize the handwriting.

His face looks so sweet. And speaking of props (referencing comments to a previous post), he’s clutching an umbrella. Or perhaps his mother’s parasol. It would have been great if succeeding generations of mothers of Cochrane boys had seen this and let their sons be photographed in a similar pose–with an umbrella. I think that’s a newfangled trend, though, in family photography.

Have you ever heard the phrase “saucered and blowed?” It has a few meanings, but its origin is from the action of pouring a little of one’s hot coffee (or tea, I suppose) from the cup to the saucer. You blow on it and take little sips, and by the time the saucer is empty, the beverage in the cup has cooled enough to drink. If you want to read more about the phrase, you can find information here. I particularly like the story of Washington and Jefferson.

Every time I ever ate breakfast at Papa’s table, I watched him do this. It always seemed perfectly normal to me, and I never questioned why no one else did it. Maybe I thought it was just something special about my grandfather, like his whole wheat bread, the long walks I got to take with him, and his eyes that never dimmed right up until he died at age ninety-six. I loved him so much.


6 thoughts on “Legacy Writing 365:321”

  1. You’re lucky to have early pictures of your family. They’re very rare in mine. BTW, schlurping was the only way to drink coffee or tea with my grandparents. It’s the same as saucered and blowed, but doesn’t sound as polite.

    1. I don’t have many photos–and they’re in terrible shape for the most part, but I’m very glad to have them!

      And yeah, the slurping part didn’t seem like very good manners, either. But grandparents get a free pass.

  2. Robert is right, so many families have lost track of old, old photographs of relatives. We have many from my mother’s side of the family, but very few from my father’s side. When I think of my grandparents I’m always amazed to think of the history they witnessed–things that I only ever read about in textbooks. Your grandfather would have seen the making of the industrialized world; how wondrous that must have seemed.

    1. I think about that all the time. The world changed so much in his ninety-six years!

      I often consider technology and think about how different things were for me as a teenager from the way they are now.

  3. Your dad resembles his father quite a bit. Family photographs are priceless. Enjoy your treasure of photographs. The memories they stir are unique and should be shared.

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