|My dad's cousin Sylvia; but we always called her "Topper."|
In fact, that is how she signed this series of headshots, "Affectionately, Topper,"
from her days as a hostess at Hollywood's famed supper club, Ciro's.
My favorites are the bottom two; the left is all sweet, girl-next-door innocence and soft curls
and the right is all heavy-browed, brooding, French Resistance mystery. She had range!!!
The next few photos are of my paternal grandmother's great-aunt Velma. "Topper" and "Velma," does it get any more glamorous than that? Well, yes. Yes, I guess it does. Now Velma isn't someone I would call a kind woman, a thoughtful woman, or a woman generous of spirit. She did, however, fancy herself a glamour-puss and never shied away from a camera. Seriously, there exists in the family archives a series of "artsy" photos of Velma, including one of her crawling up a staircase in the nude. One day, after Auntie V's passing, we were helping my grandmother sift through Velma's things and we came upon the photos. My grandma was extremely upset but obviously unwilling to let go of family history; the the next time we saw the photos (after my grandmother passed) the offending parts of the photograph were carefully removed using manicuring scissors. The combination of a slightly-perverted great-great-uncle and an exhibitionist great-great-aunt (hard to put two "greats" in her title when she wasn't really all that great), make for some fun, and nightmare inducing, wacky tacky family history.
|Velma and a man unknown to me (circa 1930's).|
Okay, so she might not be a challenge to Wallis Simpson, but it is hard to beat a 30's
frock, a corsage, and a wide-brimmed hat while sitting on the running board of a car.
|A hand-tinted photo of Velma practically upholstered in leopard (circa late 40's).|
Is there anything more wacky tacky than leopard on leopard on rhinestones?
|Velma in the 50's|
That cockeyed plume, the dramatic lighting, and the stone martens casually draped around
her shoulders are wonderful but they really just play supporting roles to that crazy, fish-net
veiling stretched over her chin.
I guess I'm running a little low on creative inspiration here, but these photos struck me as worthwhile and worthy of sharing. I always think that if, Heaven forbid, we were to suffer a house fire, I would definitely grab all the photos and then RUN...or stop, drop, and roll...whatever it is that one is supposed to do in a fire.
In the end, no matter how glamorous people in my family may have been, we all end up wrapping up the remnants of our biscuits-and-gravy breakfast in paper napkins and putting the leftovers in our big, white purse so the cats can enjoy them later - or at least that was the precedent set by Velma in her waning years. Do you have any family photos of which you are particularly proud? Or any that make you feel like you should be trying harder or, at the very least, standing up straight (bad posture plagues me)? Until the next round of Spring cleaning distractions, I remain yours, sincerely.
p.s. We're closing in on 200 followers; when we do, there will be another exciting giveaway. Tell your friends, family, and neighbors. If they join in on the fun, there will be PRIZES!!! WOO HOO!!! Thank you!