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.