06 May 2005

The Graves Family Orchestra, Circa 1923.



This photo is simply fabulous. I say that because it is, and because Grandma is in it (on baby grand). My Great-Uncle Earle is wailing on alto (the guy behind the cellist), and my Great-Grandfather Walter is the stern looking dude on cello. Since they're musicians, it's possible they're on more than that, but I refuse to speculate). The cat on skins is Charlie Bowman. I knew him only briefly, as he died when I was eight. I have no clue who is playing tenor sax, but he looks to be a damn sight happier than Grandpa Walter. I wonder if the reason he looks so hard-core has something to do with him playing cello in a jazz group... Actually, I heard some Old Family Stories about life in Hiawatha, Kansas, 1923. No doubt they contributed to his stress level, and untimely death at 53 years of age...

At any rate, I was asked to scan this ancient photo (in which everyone is now deceased) for the Preston Love Jazz Museum & Cultural Center in Omaha, Nebraska. My Uncle Earle was a most prominent musician, back in the day, and he continued his musical career by leading an orchestra that played everything from swing to polka! (It was the midwest, you dig). His group even had a contortionist. Now, That's Entertainment.

One of the reasons I posted this photo is because it's just so damn cool. Another reason is to prove to people that there are in fact, short people who were related to me. Sure, you can't tell that they're short from this old photo, but aside from Abraham Lincoln, can you even name 15 tall people from way-back-when? That's what I thought. The final reason (for now, anyway) I posted this, is to demonstrate that The Partridge Family wasn't the first group to travel around playing gigs wearing strange clothing. Grandma was all of 15 years old in this shot, and even played for silent movies in Hiawatha. As for her shoes, hey--I know I'm loving 'em. I must have a veritable shitload of granny boots myself. (We have more in common beside appearance and musical talent--I do believe I inherited her podiatric issues, as well.)

Grandma died in 1998, as did Uncle Earle in 1977. But thanks to the as-yet unknown curator of the Preston Love Jazz Museum & Cultural Center, and the internet, they will not be forgotten. Hopefully, some of the little snots coming up will pay a visit, and give their props to those deserving. However, if they don't, it's all good. Because you saw it here first!

P.S. Isn't it 'deep' that Grandma's maiden name was 'Graves' and she ended up marrying an undertaker?

P.P.S. At least, I think it is. And if you know what's good for you, you will too. I'm enduring killer PMS these days, and don't feel like reading any crap. So just go along with things, until I give the all clear. Thank you.

1 comment:

Anny said...

That picture is really cool, and that it's your family too. Just went off the neato chart!

I have a fascination with old pictures, this one is awesome and it's great to read about who's in the pics and other details.