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Billy Williams: 1942

Billy Williams: 1942

January 1942. Washington County, Illinois. "Billy Williams, 65-year-old squatter, living in shack he built himself." Medium format acetate negative by John Vachon. View full size.


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Born in 1877

It was pretty much the luck of the draw for that generation. Ten years younger than my paternal grandfather, but still probably too old for Social Security which had started just five years prior. He may have prospered during the Roaring 20's, but they had no safety nets then. For sure he was standing in one of those food or work lines we see so many photos of from 1932 at the height of the Great Depression. He'd still be dressed in a suit and ready to work like he'd done all his life. We can't see it, but I'll bet is bed is made, too, not all messy and rumpled.

[Odds are 11 out of 12 that he was born in 1876. - Dave]

Leaders No. 1, 16 and 92

The man is well dressed, and his self-built abode is neat, tidy and well decorated. As Popeye the Sailor over his shoulder might say, he appears to have his sh-t together. I salute the man.

Iyam what Iyam

Looks like Popeye looking over his shoulder.

Softens the Angles

The nice thing about wallpaper is that you can glue it over pretty much anything, and not worry too much about what used to be underneath. Note to "influencers" and home decorating vloggers: It's the ultimate choice for stress relief - no sharp angles.

The Good ol' Days Weren't that Great

Somehow I find this fellow's situation very sad. Especially the snapshots on the little shelf behind him. Could that be a wife or mother? He started life in another time, probably on a farm without telephones, automobiles, electricity, etc.

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