There are many photographs that have become iconic images over time – a sailor kissing a nurse in the middle of a New York City street; a little boy saluting his father’s coffin on his third birthday; a King shaking hands with a President. *  They are images that have become ingrained in our history – black and white (or sometimes even color!) glimpses  into our past. 

Focus.  Zoom.  Click.  The camera capturing one precise moment in time for all eternity.  Unless you have a digital camera.  Then you can erase what you don’t want to keep. 

Today’s featured photo is another one of those moments in time and it is probably one of the most iconic photographs in the Schellhardt family photo collection.  It ranks right up there with Max and Anna’s wedding portrait.  In fact, for a long time, this was the only picture that indicated that my mother’s siblings were young – no, little – once upon a time. 

Yes, here it is.  Three brothers in a life ring.  
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Leaving or returning.  I was never quite sure.  The picture that hung in my mother’s collage was cropped.   The uncropped picture reveals three brothers in a life ring with skinny legs and knobby knees.  
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Three brothers in shorts.  Dressed more for an ocean voyage in July than for one in March.  My assumption is that they were three brothers in a life ring leaving. 

Three brothers leaving on an adventure.  They had the run of a whole, great, big ship.  Can you imagine the excitement?  Can you imagine the trouble that they must’ve gotten into?  With those three brothers, there was certainly a little mischief during their voyage.    
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Three brothers leaving America with their parents, grandmother, and baby sister.  Before they left, their Aunt Louisa instructed their mother – don’t let those boys forget their English.  Within 8 months, they would.  But in these photos, that was still the future.   
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Three brothers leaving.  Excited to be sailing away. 

But into what were they sailing?   
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The thing about photographs – about those single moments in time – they never tell the whole story.  

(After posting this - and looking at the photos for a good hour and having a loud debate with myself on the timing of the photos (would you wear a sweater in July?   Was March 1935 particularly warm and short-wearing weather?  Does Nanny look like she just gave birth the previous month?  Did ladies carry black purses after Memorial Day in the 1930s?!) - I decided to couch this entire post with, I don't know anything for sure.  Consider this an exercise in creative writing.) 

*Bonus trivia question – one of the aforementioned photographs is the most requested record from the National Archives.  Which one is it?
 


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Helen
07/19/2013 11:34pm

Well, I don't think people would be interested in pictures of our family, so it must be the one of the ship flying the Nazi flag.

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Gerri
07/20/2013 4:36am

I have a copy of that picture in my book - from my mother. She has it labeled "July, 1934." Wouldn't it have been chilly on that ship in the ocean breeze - especially for older ladies? Didn't little boys all wear short pants all of the time in that time period?

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Linda
07/20/2013 6:30am

Denise I really enjoyed the pictures. Keep posting I love reading all the stories. And if I were Nanny I would have a sweater on in July on a boat. And they only had black shoes and bags back then. Unless you were rich.

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