Friday, September 25, 2015

Sepia Saturday 298: Spaniels; Hungary; Carl Sandburg; and 18

Sepia Saturday - A weekly meme providing a visual prompt for participants to share their own photographs. (I'm going to share poetry as well. Follow the links for the complete poems.)

This week's image prompt was taken in 1931 outside the Vanderbilt mansion. It shows two daughters of Gloria Vanderbilt and Count László Széchenyi, along with two dogs. The dogs aren't named, and I haven't been able to verify if they belonged to the Széchenyi family. They are almost certainly English Springer Spaniels, a breed with which I am very familiar, as I grew up with several.

From left to right below: Daisy (half Springer, half Poodle); Molly; Benny

Excerpt from: "The Two Dogs," Robert Burns (1759-1796)

’TWAS in that place o’ Scotland’s isle
That bears the name o’ auld King Coil,
Upon a bonnie day in June,
When wearin’ thro’ the afternoon,
Twa dogs, that were na thrang at hame,
Forgather’d ance upon a time.

Count László Széchenyi (1879-1938) was Hungary's first minister to the United States. My maternal grandfather, Martin Deutsch, was born in Hungary. (The town in which he was born is now part of Romania.) I visited a few of the villages of my Transylvanian ancestors back in 2012.

Below are:
1) My grandfather's birthplace. 2012. (Varalmas, Hungary; Almasu, Romania)
2) The building my great grandmother, Helen (Lichtman) Deutsch grew up in. 2012. (Margitta, Hungary; Marghita, Romania.) It served as a home, and a place of business for her family. A different family now lives there.
3) The Lichtman leather shop in earlier days. (My grandfather emigrated with his family in 1913 at the age of six. Several Lichtman relatives remained in Hungary, and of those who did, there were only a handful of Holocaust survivors.)

Excerpt from: The People, Yes, Carl Sandburg, 1936.

Now that I have returned us to the Vanderbilts, I could end the post, as I don't have any connections to the Vanderbilts to discuss.  (I do have a fourth cousin who shares initials with, and has been on a date with a Vanderbilt descendant, but I don't usually blog about living people. So I'll just link to the Entertainment Weekly article.)

I also have a difficult time ignoring the number '18' inscribed on the image prompt. It is a meaningful number in Hebrew mysticism. In Hebrew the letters of the alphabet are associated with numbers, similar to as if we said A=1 and B=2. The Hebrew number for 18, חי, is also the word 'Chai,' meaning 'life.'

Here's a photograph of myself, age 8, after receiving a 'Chai' necklace for a birthday gift.


Wendy said...

Molly doesn't seem overly impressed with that hat. However, I'm very impressed that you could come up with such interesting connections to the prompt, especially that 18.

21 Wits said...

Oh you are adorable, what a happy look on your face too. Darling dogs, but naturally the center pup with such a fun hat is my favorite. Interesting post as well, and I agree with Wendy on the connections and 18 especially!

21 Wits said...

Oops, I nearly forgot, speaking of 18, and Chai which happens to be a delicious tea that I enjoy, especially this time of year with pumpkin spices! Ooh la la! A Chai Latte!

ScotSue said...

I had to laugh at the springer spaniel wearing the hat - though she does not look the slightest bit amused. Thank you too for the poem extracts - an original touch to the post and I had not heard the Burns one before.

Helen Killeen Bauch McHargue said...

The spaniel with the hat is hilarious. My nephew had a Weimaraner he would dress up with socks and a pair of sunglasses. The poor dog would slide all over the place and looked like a staggering drunk which everyone thought was hilarious. You were a lovely child.

Boobook said...

I learn so much on Sepia Saturday.Today's new fact was the 18/Chai symbolism.

John said...

Thanks for the comments.

I, too, enjoy masala chai, though the Eurasian word for 'tea' is pronounced with a soft-Ch sound, and the Hebrew word for 'life' is pronounced with a hard Kh-sound. Imagine the look on the coffeehouse barista the first time I ordered the drink.

Barbara Rogers said...

How great you came up with so many connections! I've learned a lot about the Romanian/Transylvanian area because our small Unitarian church has a sister church there, which is supposedly supported by the state, and to which we used to donate yearly. Now so many people have left or died in the tiny village that the church is only served by a visiting minister monthly, and only elderly people still live there.