I didn’t know my paternal grandparents. Unfortunately they passed years before I was born. So the only visual images I have of them are the pictures in family albums. And like most family albums there are the lovely wedding pictures, staged family pictures, and conventional, ready-to-be-framed anniversary pictures. All of which paint a very respectable, church-going image of my grandparents. But then I found these pictures, which open a window to what must have been a whole other side of my grandparents that maybe their children didn’t even know about.
This is my grandfather, William Francis (Bill) Watson. He was b. 1889, d. 1957 both in Wichita, Kansas.
I think the picture is very striking. It looks like it could have come out of a film noir movie or the Tennessee Williams play, The Glass Menagerie.
It was probably taken in the late 1910s or early 1920s as he sat outside a factory or warehouse in downtown Wichita. The photo adds personality and life to his story. At one point in his life he was a young man eager to make his way in the world.
This picture is of my grandparents, William Frances (Bill) & Cathryn Ernstmann Watson. They were married in 1915 in Wichita, so this was probably taken in the late 1910s or early 1920s. I believe it is outside of their home.
That’s a motorcycle they are on! I just don’t think of ” my grandparents” on motorcycles! And look at the cap and goggles he’s wearing. They look like a very cosmopolitan “fun” couple. Not unlike the picture above they seem to be ready to take the world by storm.
These are just two samples of the unconventional pictures I’ve found of my family members. I would encourage you to look beyond the formal portraits in the albums to see what treasures may be in store. They may very well add an interesting dimension to the lives of your ancestors.