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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • UNFAIR TO BABIES, 1936

Uncle Frank: 1954

Uncle Frank: 1954

Christmas Day visits to the uncles, my mother's brothers, at their San Francisco homes was a family tradition. Uncle Frank was a noted lapidary, a pioneer in artistic and sculptural gem cutting in the U.S., author of a standard work on the subject. He was a man of many and varied interests; here at age 8, when I was at the height of my fascination with maps, I was all agog listening to him expound on the subject as we pored through the pages of an old atlas from his collection. I have similar vivid memories of being sprawled on his living room floor engrossed in the illustrations in his books on art and sculpture while all the grownups were yakking away in the dining room. Uncle Frank was, of course, my inspiration for becoming a rockhound, and supplied me with a number of exotic mineral specimens. At the time of this photo, he still had this car stowed away in his basement. 2¼-inch square Kodak Verichrome Pan negative, shot by my brother with my sister's Kodak Duaflex. View full size.

Parking in the basement

Your Bay Area roots are showing, tterrace. I grew up in the Westlake suburb of San Francisco and we also called our downstairs garage "the basement." Everyone did.

It wasn't until I married a Midwesterner that I realized other parts of the world think differently. She labors under the misconception that basements are semi-inaccessible subterranean warrens where you store canned goods and hide during tornadoes.

Nah, the basement is where you park the machine.

Uncle Frank's Book

Cover photo by Uncle Albert.
As for the basement with the Hudson, it was actually the ground floor garage of the house. My cousin said his dad sold the car to a collector in the late 50s, and that's the last we know of it.

Memories R US

Memories are great, aren't they? Times get tough, you still have memories. Some good, some bad.

Frankly speaking

Everybody should have an Uncle Frank.

As hard as hiding elephants in the M&M bowl

How do you even get a car inside a basement?
You can't drive it through the kitchen and down the steps.
Was the Hudson disassembled, or was there a storm-cellar like ramp wide enough to drive the car in, or was this "basement" really a split level lowest floor that was underground at the front of the house, but above ground in the rear, so it was meant to be used as a garage?

The car

Does the Hudson still exist?

Spending time

I'm glad that you have such fond memories of spending time with your uncle. Most people don't realize how much it means when they spend time with someone younger and share a common interest. Hope you do the same.

Uncle Frank and Family

Interesting to note that all of the family wore specticales.

ttogs

Do you still have that sweater? It's totally back in style!

Genetics

I would have known your uncle anywhere. There is such a marked family resemblance!

DePatta and Sperisen

tterrace, if your Uncle Frank was Francis Sperisen - he was quite an influential artist and exquisite craftsman!

An article with some info on Sperisen and his collaborator, Margaret DePatta, in San Francisco.

Would that be Frank W. Long?

I had a copy of his "Lapidary Carving: Design and Technique," not that I was ever really any good at it (although I was a pretty darn good cab cutter).

A Sign of Refinement

Anyone with an uncle who possessed a fine old Hudson automobile is guaranteed success in life.

Ralphie!

Is that you?

Aunt Gertrude

We musn't forget Aunt Gertrude. Same day. And there's the atlas.

Snazzy tie

Stylish pen (?), and what looks like a gold tooth gleaming in the back teeth. I think I like Frank.

 
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