Saturday, April 10, 2010

This one is really neat on a lot of levels.

This is my Grandmother Cecelia/Celia/Claire (Cummings) McIntyre and her brother Charles Cummings. When I first saw it, I thought how great it was that the background shows that the stone wall that now surrounds the yard was not yet built but the intersection of Walter Street and Cotton Street in Roslindale is still very easily identifiable.
(What happened to that evergreen behind them, who knows? It wasn't there in my lifetime...)
It's pretty obvious that this picture was taken at or near wartime but a mark on the back narrows it down even further.
"MAR 1943"
(My Mother was born June 6, 1944 which is no matter in regards to this pic but interesting none the less.)
I really liked this picture because I thought my friends Rebecca and George, who in the early 90's lived in a great attic apartment just up the street from where this was taken, would find it interesting.
But there was more...
Ages ago,
(sometime in the late 80's perhaps?)
there was a Christmas party at the Rolindale house and my Mother wanted to give a special gift to her Aunt Mary's family.
(Mary was "Claire", Charles and Katherine's sister)so she had some old pictures she had copied (this was before the ease of scanning, she paid a photograph professional quite a chunk of change to have those pictures copied and I remember how tense she was til she got the originals back, but I digress...)
I very clearly remember sitting in the living room near my Mother and Mary when small talk turned to where we were living, My Mother told Mary that we no longer lived in Brookline and had moved to Jamaica Plain. My Mother was describing the neighborhood when Mary seemed to recognise a street name and animatedly exclaimed, "We used to live near there!"
At that point her sister Katherine entered the room behind her and stated rather vehemently "We never lived near there." and kind of rolled her eyes a bit.
At the time it seemed that Mary might have been confused and the conversation was dropped but I always kind of wondered about it.
Then along comes this picture with a faded mark on the back that looks a bit like a postmark and reads "MAR 1943 Jamaica Plain".
I'm not sure who made the mark but taken in context of that old tossed away in the back of my brain conversaion, I think it's pretty clear that someone lived in Jamaica Plain in or around 1943 and they had to be close enough to the family to get the film developed.
Curiouser and curiouser...
I am sure there is some totally boring explaination but mysteries like this are why I really love digging through all these old pictures.
On the back of one in every dozen is a really great clue to figuring it all out...


  1. I have recently discovered that Mary married her husband William Dewan in Jamaica Plain. (Church of the Blessed Sacrament)
    It is my thinking that the children of John Cummings and Katie Kilday grew up in Jamaica Plain and "moved on up" to West Roxbury/Roslindale after their marriages.
    The assimilation of the children of these dirt poor Irish born parents I think is rather impressive.

  2. Even more interesting is the fact that Katie Kilday's brother Kieran died in Randolph, MA in 1976. I live in Randolph, MA now by total happenstance, (similar in freakish chance that brought my Mother and I back to JP in the early 1990's). There are 20 cemetaries in the Randolph area, I have found a Cummings stone in the one closest to my home but I don't think that Cummings is related to my line, the timing seems off, I am still looking for a Kilday stone tho. One down, 19 more to go....