past faces


botanical gardens, ice cream, and family photos.
rebeccafm has written 77 posts for a sense of face

markus, 1862

This isn’t a photograph, but it is the closest thing I have to one as far my great-great-grandfather Markus Hoffer is concerned. His looks can be inferred, a little bit, from the physical description given in his military service record and that is the best I have for now, until the magical day when a cousin … Continue reading

jackie, ca 1958

My mother and aunt got their first dog when my Aunt Helene won a puppy in a rigged television contest. The contest was supposed to reward the most creative puppy name with a puppy, and her choice of “Sir Jackson” (which is really quite a spectacular name when the breeder’s name is appended to the … Continue reading

daniel, 1918/1929

My great-great grandfather Daniel, pictured above with wife Fanny and granddaughters Marilyn and Dione, was a man of relatively slim means and several different livelihoods. By the time this photograph was taken in 1929, the success of his sons had provided him with a comfortable life, but there was a time when this was not … Continue reading

iszo, ca 1915?

I never expected to see a picture of Iszo. He was the 1 sibling out of 10 to not have a family of his own, and my cousin Franzi wrote to me once that he “somehow did not fit in,” “that he was mentally sick and treatable” by today’s standards. He was the survivor of … Continue reading

max, ca 1945

During the first half of the twentieth century, roughly one-sixth of the cigars manufactured in the United States were manufactured in York County, Pennsylvania. Some of this production was the work of my great-grandfather Max Kalisch, who was a part of the wholesale tobacco trade in York County from his early years in the United … Continue reading

rebecca and philip, ca 1905

My great-grandmother Anna was the youngest of 6 children who lived to adulthood. Her oldest sibling, Rebecca, was 20 years older and was married with several children before Anna reached her 5th birthday. I doubt they were particularly close, a hypothesis borne out by the fact that only one of Rebecca’s 10 children is listed … Continue reading

frank, 1899/1925

My great-great grandfather Frank apparently had some pretty good luck in the courtroom. He went to civil court (at least) twice (according to published fact and family lore) and both times won considerable damages in his suits against sizeable corporate bodies. One of the most storied of Fenning family stories is the story of one … Continue reading

mackie, 2009

This is my family’s dog, Mackie. He was killed by something in the backyard at my mother and stepfather’s house tonight while I was there. He didn’t come inside when he was called — not even when three of us were calling and clapping and rattling around boxes of dog treats — and then my … Continue reading

charlotte, 1923

My great-grandmother Charlotte has never seemed like a cow person to me. So when I found this picture in a pile of photos at my aunt’s house, I thought it was pretty amazing. It is sort of clear from her stance — and from the fact that she is posing for a picture with a cow in … Continue reading

ethel, 1936

My little brother graduates from high school tomorrow, so with that in mind, here is my grandmother Ethel’s senior portrait from the 1936 William Penn Senior High Tatler. Though I am not sure I really believe that she went by the nickname “Eth,” and though I know she couldn’t speak German well enough to converse … Continue reading