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Arrangement in Green and Brown: 1963

June 1963. My mother doing the crossword puzzle, seated under our grape arbor. Her glasses seem to have a fan base here on Shorpy, so here they are close-up. It's not posed, and I probably got a dirty look after she heard the shutter click. For chronological context, I was two months shy of 17 when I took this Kodachrome, and my mother 54. We were both Leos. View full size.

June 1963. My mother doing the crossword puzzle, seated under our grape arbor. Her glasses seem to have a fan base here on Shorpy, so here they are close-up. It's not posed, and I probably got a dirty look after she heard the shutter click. For chronological context, I was two months shy of 17 when I took this Kodachrome, and my mother 54. We were both Leos. View full size.

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My Aunt Jessie's glasses.

What a wonderful women. Been along time since I've thought of her. Thank you for the memory.

Love this!

I adore this photo! I'm not smart enough to know all the photography terms, I just know that this is a woman who can be trusted and is a lovely person. Thank you for sharing this!

Come on!

Come on, we always admire a lady who colors her hair! She looks younger, we say with pleasure. But this lady here makes me feel respect for (natural) aging, the kind of respect lots of young people today don't show toward ladies like this one. And I'm only 42 to say that!

Love this website.

It's my 54th birthday

This is a lovely photo and I just want to join the "fan base" for your mother's glasses! Your photos are so uplifting and I just have to mention it from time to time. These are a national treasure; all of them. You too, I would imagine.

[Happy Birthday! - Dave]


I love this photo. Reminds me of being out with my grandma in her garden. She looked nothing like your mum AND probably wouldn't have been able to sit peacefully with her crossword due to me and my cousins' high energy little-kid antics, but the atmosphere is perfect.

I totally feel my 4 year old self sitting across from her on the cool, rough bench of the picnic table, toying with the remaining crusts of my sandwich, wondering when she's going to put down that crossword and start paying ME some attention -- swing with me on the porch swing, put out the sprinkler or let me "help" in her garden ... anything. Sometimes grownups can be so boring.

Great shot

A fabulous shot! Also, you Mother looks great. My own mom went gray at 33 (after she had me, in fact) and was a self-proclaimed "silver fox." I was the one who had eyeglasses like your mother.

Just lovely

Your mother is a lovely woman, and this shot of her, particularly, would easily translate into a painting by an Old Master. The shades and balance are perfect. It's such an evocative photo. Thanks for sharing your family with us.

Our Mother

was always considered a "good looking" woman. She dressed nicely, and always wore dresses and nylons and heels. She occasionally wore slacks, or jeans (with flats) but usually only when the family was camping, or occasionally at the river house. She always powdered her face and wore lipstick, and earrings. Sometime after this photo was taken she decided to have her ears pierced so she wouldn't be going about with one earring after having used the telephone.

Perhaps today's 54-year-olds "look" younger if you compare to the celebrities that you see on the media, but there are plenty of 54-year-olds out there who look older than my mother in this photo. She was frustrated with her "salt and pepper" hair, but wouldn't dye it. She was waiting for the day it would turn all white.

She was a hard worker, and kept house by herself -- no cleaning lady, did all the laundry (no dryer until the 60s), cooked all the meals from scratch, made pies, cakes and cookies from scratch too. And canned or froze the produce that our father grew in the garden. Not to mention raised three kids, plus the cat and dog. She knew how to pace her day and took breaks to read or do the crossword.

When we were in school she belonged to the PTA, and during the War (WWII) she volunteered in the school cafeteria helping to cook the school lunches. Later, she belonged to the Women's Club, and volunteered in their thrift store.

Next month will be the 10th anniversary of her passing. She missed her 91st birthday by two weeks.

-- tterrace's sister


I haven't commented before, but just had to when I saw this photo of your Mom. It is a beautiful shot of a beautiful woman! I wish our current culture was not so absolutely obsessed with youth. It is to our detriment that we cannot appreciate people as they age naturally -- we always have to lift, color, tuck and do other abnormal things to the human body in an attempt to keep the appearance of youth. How sad we have become.


That is a wonderful evocative picture but the woman looks every bit of 65 years of age, if not older. I know that life expectancy back then was shorter but why did that mean that people looked so much older? Is it some sort of algorithm?

Old people

My daughter took a picture of me in a group. When I asked who the "old man" was I got, "That's you, Daddy!" Same daughter said she thinks I will live to be 100. I did not have the heart to ask her why she thought I was going to die young.

I Love Your Mother!

This photo perfectly captures what lovely and elegant ladies of a certain age looked like in the the late 50's and early 60's. You are right, I love her glasses very much! TTerrace, you make me feel like part of the family and I enjoy your pictures very much!

My mom

Also did the crossword in ink. Probably two or three a day for most of her life, or most of her mom-life. She was also good at Boggle and Scrabble, and almost always ahead of the contestants on "Wheel of Fortune."


To the readers who have commented on Mom's hair color/aging process:

I find this shot remarkably beautiful, and compelling. Here is a woman who has embraced her age, and the wisdom that comes along with a life full of searching for knowledge, and the experiences required to gain it.

Women after a certain age in THIS culture in which we live today color their hair and try and "mask" their true beauty and wisdom, in a futile attempt to hold on to the fleeting ideal of "youth."

I find this photo to be one that expresses a person who is who she is, makes no apologies for it, takes pride in her wisdom, and doesn't feel the need to "cover up" the badges of honor a lifetime of experience can leave on a person.

No plastic or fakeness here. This woman is REAL.

Reminds me in spirit of how my own mother was about such things, and even the crossword done in ink! My mother was all about that kind of confidence in her own intelligence too!

Beautiful shot.

Down and Across

I admire the wisdom of anyone who can take some quiet time each day to do something like a crossword puzzle. We all miss too much in life by being too busy.

You're all very unkind

Have none of you any idea how rude it is to make remarks about a lady's age? tterrace, your mother was a beautiful woman.

50 is Different Today.

Erzsi, I was thinkg the same thing. No wonder someone that was 50 when I was a kid looked so old. They did look older then. OR is it because I am quickly approaching that age that 50 doesn't seem so old?

Love seeing photos even if I don't know the subjects. I especially like reading a little tidbit provided here. Keep 'em coming.


My mom had the same reaction to having her picture taken. Must be a Mom thing!


Your mother's 100th birthday is this year. This 46-year-old photo, as do many other photos on this site, seems to elide the passage of time. And yet there is a sadness that all of the people who appear so vital are gone.


you have to respect someone who does the crossword puzzle with a pen. Your best shot so far.

Poor Mom

Tterrace, you turned all her hair gray! None of the 50ish women that I know these days have hair that color!

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