Jerry, Skip, Anne, Jim, little Jerry

[Photo and narrative by my mother.]

That’s Jerry’s Uncle Jim holding his son, another Jerry, on his lap. His wife, Anne, sits in the middle. They spent that evening at our apartment, but we didn't see a lot of them. Anne was a little special, and she had spunk. She was quite pretty, dressed nicely, was animated, imaginative, and intelligent. She had talked Uncle Jim into changing the vowel at the end of their name to make it seem less Italian.

 

Their life changed drastically when Uncle Jim discovered she was having a romance. Jerry told me, "Uncle Jim got rid of her right away. That day." Indeed, she disappeared from sight and conversation. There's so much left wanting here that I want to scream. A child raised without his mother. A woman probably impoverished overnight. Was she so guilt-ridden she didn't seek legal help? Was she so fear-filled and accustomed to that kind of "justice" she simply accepted it? Hers is the saddest story I know. I should say "theirs."

 

Typical of the young, I simply moved on in my own full life. In the darkroom, eliminating Anne, Jim and cousin Jerry, I made that year's photo Christmas cards, with just the comfy and smiling couple on the left [previous photo].

 

Our wall art at the time featured 8x10 black and white enlargements. Jerry hung the 16x20 unframed mats, which hinged open to accept whatever darkroom success we favored that day. On this December night in1949, Jerry is pictured in a bow tie, me in a hat, and in the center, girlfriend Marvel DeWinter.

 

Marvel fascinated me. She seemed so sophisticated and worldly. Whatever apparel she threw on looked just great! Her handsome husband didn't expect her to work, so she just did as she pleased, shopping, trooping around with friends, going to the beach, playing bridge.

 

Her apartment had a small lawn – ours didn't – so on my Thursday afternoons off I occasionally sunned in her yard with her. One day we stretched out on one of Jack DeWinter's old army blankets in the sun and discussed Kinsey's book. (Everyone was!) She asked me, "Did you read that chapter on masturbation?" I loved the way she talked, in low tones making everything sound kind of personal and confidential, enhanced by her smoker's throatiness. I answered "Yeah!"

"I think that must be what Jack does in bed at night!" she said casually, but she puffed at her cigarette with unusual intensity.

 

My mom used a tripod and a timed shutter release on this photo. -- Joey

 

  • Moxette PRO 10y

    So that's your mum and Jerry (your dad?) on the left of this photo? As others have said, a wonderful story!
  • Joey Harrison PRO 10y

    Yes, Moxette. My mom and dad are on the left. Glad you like my mom's story.
  • Alan 8y

    I see someone up there agrees with me on publishing this series and the stories that go with it. Really, Joey, you guys need to get this published. It's American history. It's the history of an era. Just this story alone was better than any of the last 10 books I've read. Okay, I don't have time to read, but I listen to audio books. That last paragraph made me laugh and there's so much emotion and truth in what you write. I have to go to bed now. Hey, stop thinking that....
  • Joey Harrison PRO 8y

    We still have many photos to scan and process, Alan. There will be a book, someday, I hope.
  • Gail S 8y

    Joey and Chalet, I don't want to offend you, but I must ask this. Uncle Jim was Italian, and he "got rid of her right away." Could this have been a very final disposing of Anne -- Italian-style?

    This story went from the Christmas card crop to Kinsey's book in lightning-speed! I am enthralled and it's 2:17 am, but I am not going to bed now...just 30 more minutes of these stories and photos.
  • Susan Harrison 8y

    I'm thrilled you like our stories and photos Gail. While I never heard of a death in the news, Anne's total banishment may as well have been. She just "disappeared." My heart still aches for her.
  • Jodi Renshaw 8y

    Yes, please consider turning these photos and stories into a book!!!
  • Glenda GlitaGrrl PRO 7y

    This has to be in a book, it's a great series of incredible photos and stories (that are very well written!) WOW!!

    I had favoured the Christmas one a long time ago and came back to enjoy them again.

    When's the book coming out?
  • Mathilde BM 7y

    Here's another customer for the book, I hope you write it. It's fascinating stuff, it's the way you tell the story.
  • Susan Harrison 7y

    Mathilde, Glenda, Handmade Life, I'm so glad you found our photos and stories. More will follow!
  • ~ Liberty Images PRO 6y

    !!! Oh my gosh!

    And a book of these stories and photos...What a treasure that would be!

    Poor Anne. What a sad story...Of course one hopes she found somewhere safe to go...But to never see her son again! :(
  • nancy PRO 6y

    Amazing story. The details are so wonderfully clear. And once again, everyone is look SO natural in this self-timer shot.
  • Susan Harrison 6y

    Liberty Images - Jen, I still think of Anne and wonder, and there's no-one to ask now. Likely she's no longer alive. Let's hope someone saw her photo and story and knew we cared!

    Naugastyle, I'm so glad we've "met!" Your own photos are wonderful, and I've sampled into your "Aperture" site with the little stories too. A+!
  • nancy PRO 6y

    Thanks for the kind words, Chalet! After a long search I finally found a reasonably-priced darkroom in New York (one good thing about the economic downturn, eh?) and will be printing again starting this week. It's been wonderfully inspiring to see how dedicated you were to darkroom work back then! I'm a bit nervous about bumbling my way around as it's been 10 years since I've printed...but very much looking forward to it.
  • Susan Harrison 6y

    Good for you Nancy; I'll be watching! So few people know the craft now.
  • Mathilde BM 6y

    Just reread this little gem. There are two great stories in there; are you thinking about a book yet? By the way, I think that little Jerry looks remarkably like a young Marlon Brando..
  • Susan Harrison 6y

    Amazing Mathilde that you saw Marlon in little Jerry. You are right!
  • Mathilde BM 6y

    Thanks, you see it too then..
  • Jennifer Woodard Maderazo 5y

    This is such an amazing document and narrative. Thanks for sharing.
  • Susan Harrison 5y

    Jen, San Francisco, Spain, Baton Rouge, all familiar, especially the later where I totaled a beautiful new yellow-and-black Mercury Monterrey while traveling just west of the Mississippi river bridge. Baby Joey, and my father were aboard; we could all have perished but something saved us. Maybe we were expected to get these stories and photos out on Flickr 50 years later! Dad enjoyed six weeks off from work, and died later of old age.

    Thanks for looking in!
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Taken in December 1949
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