Thursday, 10 January 2013

Sepia Saturday - Auntie Miriam

Auntie Miriam
Dear Sepians, this is a call for help. Not for myself but for someone who is dear to me. That particular someone is instrumental in providing me with an occupational therapy each and every week. He sees to it that almost every weekend I do a lot of reading on subjects I never dreamed or heard about before. He taught me to carefully study pictures, to interpret what I see and to show my feelings in writing. This gentleman needs help. Usually he digs up his exercise material in nooks and crannies all over the world. But apparently he has exhausted all his sources. It has now come to the point where he has to exploit images of his own family! This week he had to put his own aunt on display... Now, I ask you, does this man deserve support, yes or no? I suggest that in future we call the second Sepia Saturday in January Auntie Miriam Saturday. I know this is just a small gesture but I'm sure Alan needs all the help he can get.
I think it is my duty that in honor of Auntie Miriam I stay as close to this week's theme as I can. So below you'll see a few photo's portraying among others my maternal grandparents. But first a lady I don't know. Her picture is part of an album I received from my good friend John D. All I know is that the album concerns an Amsterdam family.
Unknown lady
 Judging by the ladies' dress this looks like a picture taken in the 20's.  The chair is of a well known type in use on Dutch beaches until well into the fifties. In those days (20's) apparently it was quite common to go to the beach in full dress. On the photo below you see the same chairs and the same habit. My mum is playing in the sand probably on a beach near The Hague. I estimate she is 3-4 years old there dating this sepia around 1921. 
F.l.t.r. a Belgian relative, my grandfather Gerardus Theodorus de Langen
(1888-1967) and his wife Antje Doelman (1892-1984)
I have no idea where the next picture was taken. The tower to the right is completely unknown to me. I do not recollect such a construction anywhere near Scheveningen or Kijkduin. Maybe a connoisseur of prewar swimwear can tell me when men stopped wearing these unisex bathing suits. The lady on the right is my grandmother. Can't remember ever having seen her in beach attire.
My grandfather with two beach beauties.
The last picture also comes from my friends' album again. I would say it was taken in the fifties. All I can say about this photo is that she must have had a muscular boyfriend. 
A lady on a beach post
To pay tribute to more beach ladies, please turn to the Sepia Saturday beach lovers site.


  1. Where do I begin? First of all, I'm glad I enlarged the last photo to reassure myself that the lady was indeed wearing a bathing suit. Second, where did they store those chairs in the off season? They're huge! And finally, I don't remember seeing my grandmother in a bathing suit either, but I have picture proof she wore one.

  2. Love the chairs - shame they aren't still in use today - a bit of shade for the head but still feet in the sand.

  3. @Wendy
    We have nude beaches here but not in those days. Practically everything used on the beach in summer, goes into winter storage, a barn or something like that.
    Today people don't like to sit up straight anymore...

    Thanks for visiting!

  4. Love those chairs. I want one.

  5. I could use one of those chairs in my garden, let alone the beach. Shame I would have nowhere to store in the winter.
    It's not warm enough ever at the nearest North Sea Beaches to us to consider nude bathing and we see more wetsuits than costumes when we visit.
    Great pictures, Peter.

  6. ouch! The lady sitting on the pole looks uncomfortable!

  7. Lovely blog. The unisex bathers were worn till just before WWII. I have a pic of my father in law in one of those rediculous suits and the pic was taken in 1929. But it was not a beach but in a swimming pool.
    I don't know the unknown lady either, but indeed she would be from the Art Deco days, lol. Her dress a little bit older, but then it could have been one she had for ages in her wardrobe, but the shoes are definitely mid twenties. I have a pic of my grandmother with those shoes too.
    I bet you the lady on the pole would have been transferred from horseback. And now only hoping she would have been able to come down!
    That tower I have no idea either Peter. It almost looks a modern telecommunication's tower.....

  8. These are great photos Peter!

    That last one takes the cake. How did she get up there? And how did she get down?

  9. I have been wondering when men started going topless too. I think it must be late 1930s, though it probably varied with location.

  10. Interesting and fun post as usual. I agree we should have a permanent Auntie Miriam Saturday. The photo of the lady perched on the pole is quite unique..never seen one like it before.

  11. Peter you had me going there for a few moments with your appeal! Wonderful post and I really think those beach chairs might take off here in Lanzarote! That last shot is really unusual.

  12. The beach chairs were kind of glamorous; in Surfers one could hire them about 30 years ago; I have never seen them any more around the beaches here. The photos are marvellous, I don't think my grandmother owned a bathing costume!

  13. Great post Peter! Feel a little scared for the lady in the last post on a post....Would love to acquire one of those shade chairs, people had quite a flair for style back then..

  14. Peter the pictures are all fabulous, and I have never thought of SS as therapy before, but, indeed that is what it is!

    I guess that we still go to the beach fully clothed (especially in Oregon where it is often cold there). It is just that now we wear jeans instead of dresses and hose.

    What a fun post, thank you.

    Kathy M.

  15. I Love Those Wicker Chairs!Auntie Miriam Rules!

  16. Most of the pictures so far of people in those tank-style suits have shown them dry. Here we get a view of how they hung when wet. They may have covered a lot in terms of quantity, but maybe not so much in terms of quality of coverage.

  17. Wonderful old shots...burrr at this time of year to think beach. Great post!

    Jan from Jan's Place

  18. Well done, Peter. SO civilized and decorous for a day at the seaside. Aunt Miriam would be pleased indeed.

  19. There is, I believe, an internet acronym known as LOL, which, I am told, means Laughing Out Loud. Until today I have never quite understoodf the need for such an expression, but today I was LOL as I read your post. The Second Saturday in January will, forever more, be Aunty Miriam Saturday (AMS) and let us hope that we share many other AMS's down the years.

  20. I was intrigued by the tower on the third picture. It might be a beacon to a port, but I have no idea of which port or place. Great post, thanks for sharing!

  21. I seem to remember that unknown woman, or one very much like her. Those chairs are very nice indeed, and I've only seen them in pictures. But, your last lady on the post, yes to know her whole story! I have to laugh at your charming opening on this post too! Very funny, and just great to read.

  22. Great collection of photos Peter. In all my family photos from the Dutch side - and there are hundreds - I cannot find a single beach image. Lots of cycling, walking and boating images, but not a single "togs-shot."

    @Kathy - I was thinking the same thing about the wet costumes!

  23. You are so right. Alan needs constant weekend care. It's important we show up.

    I love the woman all dressed up for the beach. So very European. We Americans, especially those of us in the west, long ago turned into beach slobs. I can't imagine walking in fancy shoes in the sand.

    And the post sitter is a real find.

  24. I notice there is a lot of interest for the beach chairs. Maybe I should start a little business here :)
    It's funny that you use the abbreviation AMS. That is the IATA city code for Amsterdam. I'll put that in my agenda for next year :)
    @Karen S
    They say everybody has got a look-alike...
    Wasn't aware of the Dutch part of you but I am now, after reading some of your blog posts. I'll get back to you re this.
    Knowing all the family relationships, it could also be the Belgian coast.
    I have another picture of her lying in the sea and almost posing as a mermaid...

    Thank you all for taking the time to visit my blog!

  25. As an Aussie this whole dress-for-the-beach thing is decidedly unusual. I like your humour and the styles ;-)

  26. PS I'm pleased to come across a blogger from the Netherlands -I grew up with many Dutch people (and priests) in Australia, and also a Dutch penfriend, so feel quite simpatico. We have a lovely photo of our girls on a beach near the Hague which we still find unusual for all the people "dressed to the nines" in their boots and coats! Cultural differences ;-)

  27. I loved the elegance of sitting on the beach in gorgeous wicker chairs and dressed as though sand would not get in your shoes. Lovely. BTW, my grandmother could not imagine going to the beach, much less wearing "bathing attire" -- of course she was much more comfortable on a horse and in the high desert.

  28. I echo, Wendy's "Where do I begin?"

    I nearly spit out my tea with your "muscular boyfriend" comment. Either that, or he's carrying around a very long ladder.

    Thank heavens they didn't expect the children to go to the beach in full dress clothes! I'm surprised more didn't fall victim to heat stroke!

    Were those chairs stored in huts at the beach or did you bring your own? They don't look very portable, but they also look like they might blow away, left unattended in a big gust of wind.

    Love the bathing costume shot - a nice selection of diverse body-types - none of your bikinid-bare bottomed-thonged babes in those days, eh? Thankfully.

  29. What a great post. I really enjoyed all the photos - especially the fully clad people sitting in those beach chairs.
    But that last photo! I have an idea. Maybe she only has to wait for high tide and then she can jump off the pole and swim into shore. No problem.

  30. I wish they had those wicker chairs when I go to the beach, at least I would be able to sit down and stand up in a dignified fashion. I'm glad everybody stopped wearing those one piece unisex suits.

  31. These are such wonderful photos, Peter but I just cannot fathom going to the beach in full dress, how hot that must have been! Everyone was just so proper! And the woman on top of the pole - I really have no words!

  32. Either she had a muscular boyfriend, or she was an excellent jumper...


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