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String Theory: 1940

String Theory: 1940

October 1940. "Mrs. Baptiste Jendreau, wife of French-Canadian FSA (Farm Security Administration) client and potato farmer near Saint David, Maine." Medium format acetate negative by Jack Delano for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Look Out Below

Those are steep stairs, and no banister.

Ubiquitous Singer

Seems no home from these depicted eras would be complete without a Singer treadle sewing machine.

The photo on the wall could be the mother's or father's parents? If so and it is a wedding era portrait would place the photo into around 1910, as the mother is probably not much older than 30 (mothers seemed to look older back then)

Singer seven-drawer

Like this young fella, I learned to sew on a similar Singer about 65 years ago. My grandmother, a seamstress, was my instructor. This looks like a Singer seven-drawer cabinet with three drawers on each side and one in the middle, identical to my grandmother's, which is now in our home but rarely used. Today I use a BabyLock machine.

Jack Delano

He was so talented. I'm in awe.

Bilingual is Bilingual

I'm going to make two guesses about this photograph.

First, the woman at the sewing machine is the daughter of the woman in the photo on the wall.

Second, the woman at the sewing machine is speaking French with her son. Saint David, Maine is about seven miles from the Canadian border. In the mid 1980s I went to Presque Isle, Maine, about 40 miles south of Saint David, once a year to work at a bank. One day in conversation the bank president commented he hadn't learned to speak English until he entered first grade. I learned later that everyone on the bank staff spoke French in their homes and would be speaking French in the bank if my group wasn't there. In Texas, where I grew up, if you substituted Spanish for French the average Texan would be way less impressed for some reason.

So Much to See!

I love the porcelain doorknobs, the spinning wheel and that family picture. It's a shame we can't see that geometric floor tile in color. I'll bet it was very busy! And let's not forget the most important part: the classic "Regnis" sewing machine she's using!

Sewing machine

Pretty sure my daughter has that exact machine (at least, the stand for it) in her basement. It came with the house she bought. Along with a large, very heavy, oak teacher's desk. Which will probably never leave the basement because it's so damn heavy!

Grandma's Bobbins & Little Goblins

When I was about that tyke's age, I watched my grandmother use that same type of treadle Singer to make a frilly pink dress for my sister who was a year older. My grandmother taught all her 9 children to sew & most of her nearly-100 grandchildren, including me. She said it was something every person needed to know. I have a good sewing kit, a good pair of near-vision glasses & don't mind mending now & again.

Grandma did NOT have a spinning wheel. Thankfully none of us were ever expected to be THAT industrious.

I'd love to see where that stairway leads.

Rise and Run!

Those stairs!

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