Here’s another photo from our family collection that I like. It’s labeled “Pa – George – Jim – Aug, 1940” and shows my great-grandfather mowing his lawn in Bemidji, MN in 1940. He’s standing next to my grandfather’s brother George, and George’s son Jim.
(Click to see a larger version, not cropped).
There’s nothing dramatic about the photo, but it tells a little story. Clearly, “Pa” (my great-grandpa) had been out mowing the lawn and George and Jim walked out to pose for a photo with him. Pa looks hot, tired and perhaps just wants to finish up the mowing. His grandson Jimmy just looks tickled to be posing with Dad and Grandpa.
I’m also intrigued by the way that everyone is dressed. Despite being outside on a hot August day in Minnesota, everyone is wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Pa’s shirt is buttoned all the way up, but he’s at least unbuttoned his cuffs. George is wearing a tie and even Jim appears to be wearing some sort of warmer outer shirt.
It’s certainly possible that it was a cooler day in August, although our average high for August in Minnesota is 80 degrees F and the average high in September is 71 degrees.
My great-grandpa was 70 years old in this photo, but clearly still mowing his own lawn. The kids had all moved away, but he and my great-grandma still lived in the family home in Bemidji, MN. I wondered at first why he’d be wearing his hat while out mowing the lawn. Was it just his style, to always be this formal? And then I realized that it was probably just to keep the sun off of his head. At 70, his hair was probably already a bit thin on top and so the top of his head would be the first thing to burn in the summer sun.
Here’s a closeup of the trio:
(You can also click to see an even larger version of the closeup).