Thursday, July 26, 2012

Post 2065 - River John Blogging

Greetings from the River John Library in, um, River John, Pictou County.  (Did you expect it to be in Tatamagouche?)

This hamlet is in the midst of its annual River John Festival Days.  Each morning they have different people serving up breakfast for a nominal cost.  In years past, we would go 2 or 3 times.   This year, we haven't gone at all.  We plan to go on  Saturday.

Patricia went, like she always does, into a local church to look at and drool over the quilts sold there.  My drooling days are over.  I am an anti-drooler.  I don't get why people want to look at these things, let along buy them.  While Patricia was doing that, I was across the street in the River John Heritage Museum.  I had been there before, but today, I had lots of time to kill, so I went through the place with a fine-toothed comb.  They had an old Eaton's Catalog from 110 years ago.  I leafed through that.  There was a book published in Halifax more than 100 years ago about the Boer War.  Enjoyed looking through that.

I think I saw a memento mori picture, but one can never be sure.  For those who don't know, in the very early days of photography, people would seldom be photographed.  It cost money.  And people had to remain stock still so that they wouldn't appear blurry in the finished picture.  They invented a contraption that would enable a person to pose in a stiff manner.  There were wires that would go down a person's sleeves and keep people in place.

This was, of course, also the time before people would fly to a relative's for a funeral.  Oftentimes, people would only be photographed when they were dead, posing with living relatives.  And infant mortality was very high back then.  When people say that we're living on average 10 years longer than our forefathers, or whatever the number is, they're not taking into account that great strides made in recent years to reduce infant mortality, which increases the average.

It is estimated that one-third of all photographs taken prior to 1910 are of the memento mori variety.  That is to say, the pictures contain one or more dead person in them, posing with living relatives and friends.   Creepy as frig by today's standards, but certainly accepted back then.

Here is an embedded youtube video.  In each photograph, there is at least one dead person.  You can have fun trying to figure out which is which.  And it is not always the person who's lying down, by the way.  They invented another contraption to stand bodies up and position their bodies so as to appear life like.  Yeah.  Creepy as frig by today's standards.

If you have problems sleeping tonight, then don't blame me.  I know these pictures aren't for everybody.

Anyway, I think there was a picture of a fellow who might have been deceased at the time the picture was taken.  I scrutinized it, but like the above video, sometimes it's really hard to tell.

Patricia finally (finally!) finished at the quilt sale.  We came here to the library and will kill sometime until we go get some dinner somewhere.

Of course, Saturday is the day of the mile-long yard sale.  We rest up for that every year.  It will be so much fun.  Every year, I buy crap that I don't need at a good price and wonder why I bought it in the first place.  Just because it's a good deal, doesn't mean I have to buy it.  Right?  Well, that's the theory.

Guess I'll check out for the time being.  See you tomorrow, me hearties!


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