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Memory Book Monday, Meet Alma

Monday, August 3, 2015

 1930s fashion in family photos via va voom vintage

This weekend, my grandma passed all of the old family photos on to me! I have beautiful albums from the late 1800's to today. One of my very favorite things is my Great Grandma Alma's teenage memory book. There are so many beautiful things here that will eventually turn to dust and be lost forever so I'd like to share them here with you before they do! In addition to her memory book, I'll share some old photos from the family albums and some funny stories passed down through the generations. There are also so many beautiful fashions and hairstyles and it really is an amazing look into the way people lived in the past.

1920s family photos via va voom vintage
Great Grandma Alma Leaver with her daddy, Lawrence in 1920

1920s family photos via va voom vintage
Great Grandma Alma Leaver with her mother, Florence in 1921

Who was Alma?

The Great Grandma Alma that I knew was very proper, well educated with this sort of "not amused" expression.She had a passion for history and writing and she spent much of her later years researching and recording everything she could find about our family.


1935 teenage fashions family photos of Alma, Clair and Nita  via va-voom vintage
Alma with her two sisters, Emma Clair  and Onita Jefferson City, MO 1935


1930s vintage fashion in family photos via va voom vintage
Alma in the 1930s
1930s mens fashion in family photos via va voom vintage
My great grandpa, William Vaughn during their dating days in the 1930s

I loved spending time with her as a teenager during my summer vacations. She taught me to sew and crochet and I learned so many things about being a frugal housewife from her Great Depression mindset. I'd often catch her slipping out of that frigid proper lady and we had a funny moment that made her blush. I loved her stories and I loved how my Great Grandpa gave her a hard time and made her smack her lips and roll her eyes. 

She always had a blast taking me shopping at the nearby mall. She'd say about the sales, "Let's go to Penny's and see if they're just -giving- anything away!" She looked just like Bette Davis and seemed slightly annoyed every time someone made the comparison. She loved taking me out and telling everyone "This is my granddaughter. Well, actually she is my -great- granddaughter!" and then she would beam when they'd talk about how young she looks. She'd say funny things like "When I was a girl...back in ancient times..."

1930s womens style via va voom vintage
sisters Nita, Alma and Clair - my great grandma in the middle


When I'd go for a visit, I always asked her to pull her photo albums out and tell me who everyone was and where they were and spill the memories of those days. She'd always say "Ugh, you don't want to hear about that!" and I'd say "Oh yes I do!" as I plopped the old black paper album down in her lap.
1930s ladies fashion photos via va voom vintage
Alma, Nita, their mother, Florence (my great great grandmother) and sister Clair
Alma, the School Girl

Now she's gone and we try to remember the stories that she told about these old photos, relying on my grandma (her daughter) to fill in the blanks. While sorting through them this weekend, grandma found Alma's memory book, which I didn't even know existed!  This little album is crammed with every little memory from her teenage days in the 1930s. There are letters from friends, report cards, pressed flowers and dance cards full of names. Programs from plays with little notes on who she went with and jokes scribbled in the margins. As I read these things, I think "This is not the Alma I knew...not at all!" She was so funny and girlish but had her sights set on school and a career but she definitely wasn't afraid to have fun. She had daydreams and doodled sketches of outfits she wanted to sew.  I'm comparing photos from her albums to the names in the book and filling in pieces from the stories that she decided to leave out.


Every week, I'll share some snippets of Alma's scrapbook in Memory Book Monday. I hope that you all enjoy an intimate look into the life of a young woman growing up in the 1930s. I'll also share some beautiful photos of her life as a baby and little girl in the 1910s and 1920s, living in rural Missouri and life after she married my Great Grandfather and lived in Hawaii during the 1940s and 1950s.

1930s vintage fashion via va voom vintage
Great Grandma Alma with her two younger sisters, Clair and Nita

16 Responses to “Memory Book Monday, Meet Alma”

  1. What lovely photos. Your Great Grandmother looks always very stylish. Can't wait to see and read more about her :)
    Greetings from Germany,
    Sandy

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  2. What a lovely idea, and what a great resource you have. I have a good number of old family photos, but a lot have also gone missing, which is sad. How lucky you got to meet your great grandmother. Mine was a century older than I was, so I only have the photos and stories, but I always wish I had met her. How special to learn crafting from her as well. Handiwork runs through the women in my family; my grandmother was a dressmaker, my great-grandmother knit and did crochet, and most of the women on that side of the family back in England were lace makers.
    Cannot wait to ee more of this series

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  3. Thank you for sharing some of your family members life with us! I am so excited for the rest of this series!! Debating asking my grandma if I can share some of the old family photos she has. I learned some handicrafts from my great-grand mother as well, but it was mostly me watching her crochet and knit like the wind. She did teach me how to embroider lazy daisies!

    Carla, TinyAngryCrafts

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  4. This is so charming, I cannot wait for more. You are so lucky to have all these photos AND her notebook. I have inherited a lot of old photos from my MiL, which we will sort through in the coming winter. My SiL just wanted to trash them, but I saved them. I will make an album for son, so he can flip through it with his children one day. Have a a lovely day. :)

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  5. Darling,
    Dare I say.. there is a family resemblance. Her face in these photos does look like yours. The forehead and the cheeks - yup, I checked again. :)
    Such a lovely thing, to inherit a family photo album.. a great deal of fun is to watch them all there, to imagine their lives and the adventures they might have gone into...

    Marija

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  6. What a lovely record of a life. I'm really looking forward to Mondays now :)

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  7. What an awesome post! I only met my great grandparents once when I was young. However, my sister's children still have my grandmother on my mother's side ( my grandfather died in 2012). I remember my niece telling me that her friends couldn't believe that she still had great grandparents at the time (being all their grandparents have been dead since before they were born). There is even one last photo of my grandfather from 2011 when he got to meet his great great grandson (my niece's son) and the proud look on his face s timeless. You can see that he was very happy with the legacy he left behind.

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  8. What an awesome post! I only met my great grandparents once when I was young. However, my sister's children still have my grandmother on my mother's side ( my grandfather died in 2012). I remember my niece telling me that her friends couldn't believe that she still had great grandparents at the time (being all their grandparents have been dead since before they were born). There is even one last photo of my grandfather from 2011 when he got to meet his great great grandson (my niece's son) and the proud look on his face s timeless. You can see that he was very happy with the legacy he left behind.

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  9. LOVE this post..times a thousand and I cannot wait to see more pictures in the coming weeks. The fashions in these images are just stunning and same with those hairstyles.

    Alma knew how to dress :)

    Lovely post.

    Liz

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  10. What wonderful photos and memories! Looking forward to hearing more.

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  11. How sweet! She does resemble Bette Davis. I have some family photo albums, and I agree with you, the great-grandmas that we know weren't always the 'help-me-cross-the-street, gotta-go-to-church' women! They were sneaky teenagers once, too! The best stories will be the ones they take with them when they're gone. Looking forward to seeing more!

    Ivy

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  12. Aww, what a precious gift to have! I have always loved seeing old and new family photos, and I look forward to seeing yours too. Your great-grandma is beautiful and her resemblance to Bette Davis is remarkable to me!
    ~Kristen
    Handmade Accessories at DreamaCrochet on Etsy.

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  13. What an amazing woman! I cannot wait to see more from you Great Grandma's memory book! From the preview I saw on Instagram, it looks like it will be lovely. And I absolutely LOVE your Grandma's wardrobe! Makes me itch to finally make myself some more 30s clothes!

    Oh, and by the way, do you mind if I pin some of these pictures to my 1930s board on Pinterest?

    Brigid
    the Middle Sister and Singer

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    Replies
    1. Please do! I'm happy to share them with everyone! :)

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    2. Thanks! :D

      Brigid
      the Middle Sister and Singer

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  14. What a sweet, beautiful post and ode to a beloved relative. This family history filled entry made my heart smile.

    ♥ Jessica

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