Friday, January 20, 2017

Dolls In My DNA

Daddy Steve:  I have a very old photo album from my maternal grandfather's side of the family. Unfortunately, most of the people in these sepia-toned photos are unknown to me; their identities lost to the mists of time.

Sasha loves to look through this album.  He and Miguel like to speculate about what these people were like.  Where did they live?  What did they like to do?  Did they have children?  Did the children have dolls?  (Sasha and Miguel hope the answer to the latter is 'yes')

Sasha:  I think these two gents look very dapper.
Miguel:  ¡Qué guapos son!  They sure knew how to dress.

Sasha:  Miguel, come look at this one of some people getting married.

Miguel:  ¡Qué una novia bonita!  I hope they had a happy life!

Daddy Steve:  We're all fond of one photo in particular (click on the photo to see a bigger version).  It's of a barber/hair dressing shop that belonged to a distant ancestor in Dresden, Germany.  No. 19 Bonischplatz, according to the back of the picture.  We believe the proprietor, Henrich Bretschneider, is the dapper gentleman standing in the doorway; I can see a faint family resemblance.  In addition to offering hairdressing, Henrich also sold perfumes and toiletries.  However, it's another one of his services that we find most interesting.

Apparently Henrich also repaired dolls!  Note the signs on the shopfront that say Puppen-Klinik (below the shop window) and Anfertigung Puppen Reparaturen (above the shop window).  We can only imagine the amazing dolls that were part of his clientele.  Perhaps even a doll like our friend Armand.

I would like to believe that an affinity for dolls is encoded in my DNA.


Serenata said...

How fascinating to have such a wonderful old photo album of past family members such as this. I often wonder whether in the future there will be the same as with everyone (Most) moving to digital we don't tend to get photos printed out so much anymore.

Dee said...

What a great photo of your ancestors outside their shop,in Hermany which says they repair dolls! It could be that one or both of these men liked dolls and this was their way of having access to them 😀
Do you find yourself repairing your Gregors or their clothing? Could be that not just their blood runs through your veins!

Such a shame that you have no names to put to the faces in the photos, I have always been fascinated by the past so when I was young I made my grand parents tell me the names of the people in our old family photos and wrote them in pencil on the back. I've always found it sad when you see very old photos for sale in vintage shops or car books and wondered who they were and did they no longer have family to treasure their old photos.

It's. Lovely to see that your old photos are still loved and looked at 😀

Gregor Daddies said...

Hi Lorraine -

You make a good point. I know that I've lost digital photos over the years, as I have replaced computers and never bothered to migrate them over. Sometimes I feel that images have become so ubiquitous nowadays, that we don't value them as much.

Gregor Daddies said...

Hi Dee -

I've never attempted any complicated repairs on my boys, but I have enjoyed cleaning them up. Miguel was pretty grubby when I got him, and it was the first time I ever shampooed a doll's hair. I was very happy (and relieved) that not one single hair came out in the process. I've always enjoyed fixing up things. There's something very therapeutic about taking something neglected and making it whole again.

It's an excellent idea to get together with family and identify those old photos. Sometimes I look at pictures that I have taken, but can no longer remember the exact time and place.

Angelo's Papa said...

Well, now this explains everything! It looks like dolls are in your blood and you didn't catch it when playing as a child. I enjoyed the photo; the lads in the photo look so young. I wonder what inspired them to repair dolls and what their work entailed.

NeverUschi said...

Your ancestor was a very clever man, as he also made wigs!
He certainly repaired dolls such as Armand, because AM was one of the largest doll companies in Germany of their time. They also delivered spare parts, so when a doll's head broke, it very often was replaced by an AM head (most commonly the AM 390).
I still have most of my digital photos that are worth keeping, since I stored them on CDs when changing computers, or moved them to the new hard disk. But I also have a wardrobe full of slides from the times before digital photography came into my life. And no one seems to watch slides any more!
I though about buying a scanner to digitalize those slides, but we are talking more than thousand...

Gregor Daddies said...

Hi Jesse -

I do wonder how Heinrich got into that profession. He certainly appears more affluent than my ancestors who immigrated to the US.

Gregor Daddies said...

Hi Ursula -

Thank you! That's really very interesting to know. So much to be learned from studying old pictures. We also have a many old slides. I've discovered that it's quite difficult (and expensive) to find replacement light bulbs for the slide projector.

DollMum said...

What a brilliant photo to find in your family album. Some family history research might yield more information about your ancestor who repaired dolls. We're going through old family albums at the moment scanning photos. Some have captions and dates, many do not, though with some of them I had the presence of mind over 20 years ago to go through them with my Granny who was able to identify some of them, although at the time she was starting to suffer from memory loss. We've scanned all my family slides too (using a special Nikon slide scanner which was expensive at the time but worth the investment as we've digitised so many family memories).