From the Fortress of Solitude
A few pictures tonight taken in the late 1930's to pass around in our virtual family gathering. It's cold outside with a sky taken hostage by temperate winter temperatures forcing it to remain undecided on a light drizzle or a very wet snow.
Pull up a chair and sit close to the fire here in the Fortress' great hall as I pass these photographs around. If we're convincing, we might get Charlie to take a minute from his supper to talk about his memories of those early days in Lead, South Dakota with his cousins, Gail and Woody Williamson.
We start with a simple relationship chart. This shows the children of William Jonathan Williamson and Effie Helen Victor. In today's post we will see Charlie, the firstborn son of Charles and Elda, and Gail and Woody, the first two children born to Walt and Francis Williamson.
This is Charles Ray Williamson (Charlie). His middle name Ray comes from his Uncle Raymond Vercellino (his Godfather). Charlie was baptised and raised Catholic. His father Charles Williamson wasn't religious. His mother Elda was a devout Catholic. She said the Rosary every night.
Charlie is standing on his front porch in Lead. The street in front of the house was Highway 85. He's not sure about the dog. Could have been their dog but he doesn't remember. Charles remembers all the Italians in Lead called him 'Sonny'. Their home was in Lead's Little Italy.
This is Gail and Woody Williamson taken in front of the home of Charles and Elda. Gail and Woody were the first two children of Charlie's Uncle Walt and Aunt Francis Williamson. The picture was taken in 1939. Gail is one month younger than Charlie. Walt and Francis lived in Deadwood at the time. In 1939 Walt drove a deliver truck for Paxton Galigher. Deadwood was the main hub for trains bringing merchandise and groceries to the Black Hills. The merchandise was unloaded into large warehouses in Deadwood and Lead and delivered to stores throughout the Hills. It wasn't until the early 1950's that Walt and Francis bought the grocery store in Deadwood.
Without television and all the other distractions of today's modern lifestyle, families did a lot together back then. Walt, Charles and their brother Morris were avid fishermen and got together once or twice a week to fish Spearfish Creek in the Spearfish Canyon. Robieux Lake was another of their fishing haunts. Charles Sr. and his brother Walt were close and the families picnicked together often, sometimes at the spur of the moment.
Gail Williamson with Charlie taken in 1939 in Lead. Charlies' cat "Fuzz" is in the picture.
Another picture taken that same day of Gail and her younger brother Woody. Charlie is present as well in his very short shorts :) He was quite the scrawny kid back then and now, over 70 years later, is still just as scrawny.
Charles with thumb in mouth standing next to Gail. This picture was taken at Charlie's home in Lead, South Dakota. The big home in the background belonged to the Hoffman's. Charlie is wearing a pair of white cowboy boots.
"Everyone dressed like a cowboy in those days," Charles says in his defense.
Well, it is past 9:00 P.M. and the eyes are drooping. It's been a long day and I think I take in a bit of television before turning in for the night.