Background ‘noise’ has always been an important part of my genealogical research. I hate silence. I’ve heard a loud ringing in my ears for over four decades. It can’t be cured so music or a movie playing in the background partially deflects the tooth rattling buzz to something more enjoyable.
Sometimes the dialog or scenes in old movies remind me of something I’ve encountered in my research which of course immediately diverts my attention to finding the it for review.
Somewhere in my file drawers, there is a small photo of one of my female ancestors wearing a stylish hat. I’m sure I remember it. I’m pretty sure it isn’t a memory from an old movie or newspaper.
An hour later … No photo. No newspaper clipping. No confidence in my memory.
Darn you Cornelius Hackl and Irene Molloy. Darn you Irene and your millinery shop in in New York City. Darn you Hello Dolly. Did you plant the image in my mind and then remind me of it while you sang in danced in the background?
I’ve always thought the fancy hats worn in certain circles were preposterous flummery. That is why the image of one of these waste of cloth and money creations on the head of one of my decidedly not wealthy, common sense ancestors rattled my mental image so soundly.
I studied the advertisement that I’d captured from The Sun – a New York City newspaper in its 21 Mar 1906 issue. I knew that pose. It wasn’t a false memory of Irene Molloy. It was my great aunt, Julia Drew looking back at me.
Now I knew where to look. I had forgotten the folder buried deep in my images folder tree. The photo file must still be in the temporary folder that I used while tweaking terrible old images back to a life of sorts.
Sorry for doubting you Irene. I guess ladies in my family wore those crazy hats and were very proud of their style. Julia wouldn’t have worn them if it wasn’t ‘right’.
Hers had fewer flowers and was worn at a less stylish rake. A stiff wind would have turned her into Mary Poppins with little effort, with her dome similarly adorned.
Maybe my sense of style is wrong. Hopefully, no photos of me in the late 1960’s survive to tarnish my memory in the minds of our descendants. They wouldn’t understand. Heck, I don’t understand what if anything was going through my mind when they were taken.
When I see Julia in some future day, I’ll tease her about her hats. I suspect her retort will be succinct and insightfully pronounced through gales of laughter about my own flower power styling photos.