Thursday, September 18, 2008
POP'S PORTRAIT POSTCARD
I posted this picture of my grandfather Floyd Earl West, Sr. in my
series about my Road Trip vacation but thought I'd go a bit more
in depth about it now.
"Pop" served in the U.S. Army as an hospital orderly at Camp Devens
(later Fort Devens), Massachusetts in WW1 during the Spanish Influenza
epidemic of 1918. He entered the Army in April 1918 and was discharged
in March of 1919 so that gives me a timeframe on when it was taken. My
guess is he had it taken when he was on leave in November, 1917.
As I mentioned before, this is a postcard and on the back I can see that it
was taken at Avery Studios. Apparently business was good because there
is a list of 6 locations in Boston:
601 Washington St.
637 " "
361 " "
90 Court St.
129 Court St.
21 Tremont St.
Boston at that time was an active port city and railroad center and I would
think that a photography business would be very busy taking pictures of
soldiers and sailors to be sent home to loved ones. If you look at the background
behind Pop you can see it is a painting of an Army camp scene with tents and
the American flag flying proudly above it. There must have been a background
for sailors as well. I'm still trying to find a mention of Avery Studios in Boston
City directories for the period but so far no luck.
I also was struck by the chest pocket on "Pop" 's tunic. There's clearly something
in there because you can see the slight the edge of it pressing against the
cloth. Perhaps his papers or something else that "Pop" felt might be more secure
there than in his uniform's pants pockets?
As you can see, Pop never sent the postcard, instead bringing it home to his family
where it has been passed down still in great condition (The blue streaks are on the
image, not on the original, a result of some goof I made in scanning ) and now Aunt
Dot has passed it on to me.
Maybe I'm prejudiced, but "Pop" sure cut a fine figure in uniform!