Saturday, January 28, 2017


The Voice.
My father adored her.

He joined the Navy in 1940 with dreams of becoming a pilot; he had his flight training in Jacksonville, Florida.
After successfully completing flight school, he flew transport planes for the US Navy during the war, hopping between Miami and Rio every few days.
          Before he married my mother, he lived in a small house in Miami with three other US Navy pilots and a chimpanzee named Violet (she’s a whole different story), a charismatic group of flyboys who spent their evenings in the bars and nightclubs of Miami, slamming down drinks, appreciating the women and listening to jazz and swing bands that toured the area…Basie, Goodman, Dorsey, etc.
And then along came Ella Fitzgerald.
The first time he heard her sing, my father was transported.
He spent an entire night at a little table in a nightclub, smoking Chesterfields, sipping Manhattans and listening to a voice that left him speechless.
When she took a break between sets, my father (emboldened, I’m sure, by the alcohol), approached her, asked if he could buy her a drink.
She said yes.

He never could remember what she had to drink; he remembered her eyes and her laugh and her voice.

The Voice.

Sunday, January 22, 2017


I’m fascinated by seeing photographs of people as they grow, as they mature; there’s something magical about this aging process.

Here’s two photographs of my great-great grandmother, Roxanna Adams Wilder Sabin, 1832-1926.

The first shot is Roxanna at 1850 or so, just before her marriage; the second was taken at Newton Upper Falls, Massachusetts, shortly before she died in 1926.

Here’s the story:
When Roxanna’s mother died, she and her siblings were taken in by relatives (a common practice back in the early 1800s). Roxanna was placed with childless aunt who was, unfortunately, married to a man who wasn’t particularly fond of children; he eventually tired of the situation and took her to the Poor Farm and left her there.
          The entire community was outraged.
A man named Prescott Wilder rescued her from the Poor Farm, took her home; he and his wife raised her. She grew up as Roxanna Wilder, even though Prescott Wilder never officially adopted her.

Roxanna married Lucius Sabin in 1851. They lived in Ashburnham and Gardner, Massachusetts; they had four children: Lucius (Lute) Wilder Sabin, Frances Taylor Sabin (my paternal great-grandmother), Edwin Alonzo Sabin and Ethel Wheeler Sabin.
One of the things I love about these two photographs is the pose -- hand to the cheek, etc. I wonder if it was intentional?

To see what other people have found to match this young/old theme, visit Sepia Saturday, a blog that calls for others "to share their history through the medium of photographs."

To see what others have posted, visit