Monday, January 26, 2009

Automobiles and Train Stations

I love this old photograph. From left to right is Aunt Lucy Webb Bieber, Sarah Hamby Webb, Virgie Grimes Webb and John "Spoony" Webb. The children are Reba (my mother) and Buddy Webb.
My mother was born in 1930 and Buddy in 1931; and given that Buddy looks to be about four, I'd mark this picture as having been taken in 1935. I'm not certain of the setting, but it looks to be the old rail yard in Ludlow, Kentucky, during the height of the Great Depression.
I know that my grandfather did not have a car, because I have heard my mother talk about how Pop had to pay to walk across the railroad bridge to get to Cincinnati in order to look for work. I've never heard mention Spoony Webb having an automobile; although it is quite possible that Aunt Lucy's husband, Fred Bieber, may have had one. It is entirely possible, even probable, that they merely had their pictures taken in front of these cars because they were "just there."
Every picture I have ever seen of Spoony Webb, he is wearing a tie. Sarah is always wearing what appears to be a cotton house dress. "Presentable" is a word that comes to mind. The Webbs were poor during the depression, but the entire family had moved from the farm in Glenmary, Tennessee to Ludlow, Kentucky. Being in the city provided comforts not afforded to them in Tennessee; so the little they had was more than they had left behind.
Having said that, they must have longed for the farm and the old home place. Sarah and Spoony are buried in the Webb Cemetery in Glenmary, Tennessee, where four of their children rest nearby. When the railroad came through Glenmary, it opened the world for the Webb family. They left Tennessee on a train; and when they took their last ride home again... well... it was on a train.

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