Sepia Saturday 606B. Twenty-fourth in a photo blog series on my maternal Italian ancestors from Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.
Some time in the early 1940s, my maternal Italian great-grandparents Peter and Mary (Curcio) Laurence were photographed as a couple in the back yard of their home at 12 Wells Street in Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.
The photo is not dated, but clearly they were celebrating something special. My great-grandmother Mary (who went by Mamie) is wearing a corsage, a striking hat, and carries a leather clutch and gloves. And Peter — born Pietro di Lorenzo — is in a suit, tie and starched-collared shirt , and he has a boutonniere in his lapel.
What was the occasion?
The photo is undated, leaving me to puzzle over what year it was taken and what the occasion may have been.
Peter and Mamie married in 1901, so they may have been celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. My grandfather Antonio W. Laurence — their oldest child — was born in May 1902. So they probably had a warm weather wedding the year before, which would fit with this photo being taken in the warmer months.
It’s unlikely they were celebrating Peter’s retirement, since he was self-employed and could stop working when he wanted. And both of their sons had long since been married.
When was the photo taken?
In 1940, according to the federal censusFamilySearch requires free login to view records, Peter, 67, and Mamie, 57, were living in their 12 Wells Street home with their son Joseph, his wife Theresa and their two daughters.
Mamie and Peter look to be about the ages that were given in the 1940 US census and, sadly, Peter died in 1944. So the photo was likely taken in the early 1940s — possibly 1941, if it was their for their anniversary celebration.
Mellowed by time
Mamie and Peter posed with their sons for an earlier portrait in 1911 — when they had been married ten years. When I last posted this photo, readers commented that my great-grandparents looked serious and care-worn.
In the 1941 photo, however, they seem mellowed by time — while keeping pace with fashion changes. They had lived decades in their Wells Street home, their sons were grown and married, work worries were behind them (with my grandfather Antonio taking over Peter’s garage/junk yard business), and they had the opportunity to enjoy their four grand-daughters — among them my mother Peg (Laurence) Charboneau.
Their expressions project satisfaction at a life well-lived — and I am thrilled to have this late-in-life photo of them.
Up next, Antoinette (Del Negro) Curcio in the early 1940s. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants.
© 2022 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.
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