September 17, 2013

Mystery photo of the day: Ann Arbor, 1956.

I'm 5 years old and delighted by an activity that my sister and that other girl don't seem to find all that exciting.

scrapbook 5_0034

What were we doing?

AND: Thanks for all the efforts at answering, but I'm not surprised no one could guess. There had been a storm and many big tree branches scattered about on the ground. To me, the 5 year old, this alone was an amazing new world. Somehow we got started stripping the bark off branches, and we marveled at the beauty of the bark-free branches. In the 5-year-old mind, this seemed like an important project that would be celebrated all over the world. We would be famous and beloved for our fabulous transformation of the branches!

46 comments:

David said...

You were posing for pictures.

You were good at it. The other girls were not.

Thus the sour looks.

surfed said...

Vogue-ing

John Burgess said...

Pulling weeds!

Mark said...

I'm a little tea pot?

Ann Althouse said...

No, there's something we'd been doing for hours that had been amazingly fun for me.

I'm scanning photos from an old scrapbook, and I can assure you that it wasn't my normal thing to mug for the camera.

Ann Althouse said...

There's evidence of the activity in the photograph.

Ann Althouse said...

ADDED: Here's exactly where we were.

Inga said...

Playing wood nymphs or playing army, the branches are camouflage. And you are the one with the striped shirt, right?

David said...

You've posted two recent mystery photos that included your young self. In both you were the only person smiling. I call that posing for pictures.

I will see if I can figure out the other activity as well.

Inga said...

Not far from the Law School Academics Communication Office, but that may not have existed back then.

Ann Althouse said...

"You've posted two recent mystery photos that included your young self. In both you were the only person smiling. I call that posing for pictures."

You're not seeing the 95% of the pictures I don't post. Don't judge my youthful behavior by my present-day behavior, which is obviously choosing those pictures of myself that I like now.

Ann Althouse said...

In the case of this picture, we discovered a new activity that I found extremely interesting at the time. It's not an activity that people would normally find interesting, but as a 5 year old, I thought it was great. I remember the feeling and am amused at the fact that I spent hours enthusiastically doing something that is not any kind of a hobby or sport or craft or game of any kind.

Nathan said...

You're . . . pretending to be flag holders and practicing the Pledge of Allegiance!

David said...

Not a hobby, sport, craft or game? This is getting out of my area of competence.

The girl on the right looks like she has a strangled duck on a string, but I think that's just an illusion. I doubt you were strangling ducks. Plus at least arguably that's a sport.

Three girls, each holding a tree branch they probably have swept from the tree. Tree climbing is a game, so that's out. Whacking each other with the branches would be for boys, and its a sport anyway.

Were you sweeping the driveway with the branches? Would a child do that for hours?

I don't think it was pulling weeds because those were branches.

You seem to remember it vividly. It was fun.

Hard assignment, professor. I still gotta go with sweeping the driveway.

MadisonMan said...

I say you are collecting tree branches for caterpillars to consume.

MomRunningFromCancer said...

Beating rugs with branches, cleaning them??

Irene said...

Were you wrapping branches around that trellis behind you?

Making Arbor-Day decorations?

Weaving May-Day wreaths?

Crafting rustic, outdoor furniture?

EDH said...

"What were we doing?"

Twerking?

Inga said...

Hmmm, not sport, not hobby, not craft, not a game. What's left? Science! Looking for bugs on the leaves? Collecting caterpillars, would that be a hobby? Trying to find a caterpillar to turn into a butterfly in a jar on your nightstand? I did that.

traditionalguy said...

Your "cute " gene was taking over like it still does.

Julie C said...

Peeling leaves off branches?

Cutting switches? You naughty girls!

Inga said...

Coccons!

Stephen A. Meigs said...

Living so close to the U of M band practice field, you were practicing baton or flag twirling to the sounds of the Michigan fight song in background? I lived a few years just SW of there on E. Davis, and would usually walk essentially by that spot to campus (I seem to recall I usually took S. Division to Cross St.).

vicari valdez said...

did you ever get to see the stooges play in ann arbor when you were a teenager?

El Pollo Raylan said...

What were we doing?

Ann collects arbors.

MarkW said...

"Here's exactly where we were..."

Not many little kids on that block now...that's been a 'student ghetto' neighborhood for going on 40 years.

SteveR said...

Marching around with limbs and leaves like a flag procession

Inga said...

Okay, one more guess. Looking for "tree gum". Splitting the twig and scooping out the inside and chewing it. Damn, I sure hope that wasn't poisonous.

Unknown said...

My father-in-law wove small branches like that into wreathes.

Ann Althouse said...

"Not many little kids on that block now...that's been a 'student ghetto' neighborhood for going on 40 years."

My mother grew up there. My grandparents lived there until they died circa 1970.

My grandparents had student boarders in the upstairs bedrooms, while they relocated their living space to the lower and main level of the house.

I remember them having quiet female students who were very respectful of their space.

Meade said...

I'll play. You had just come to the realization that you had reinvented the wheel. You called it Wheel Version2.0. Unfortunately, Glenn Reynolds had not yet been born or, as you intuited at the time, he would have linked to you and you would now be the richest and most famous person on earth. The two other girls weren't as sure about this as you were.

buwaya said...

Based on the print proportions, etc -
6x9 format on 120 or 620 film.
A good quality folding camera probably.
Bright sunlight though printed a bit dark.

Curious George said...

Jumping rope?

CWJ said...

Trimming the tree(s).

eddie willers said...

Making rope.

Ctmom4 said...

I don't know what you were doing - catching lady bugs? -but, what were you wearing? Pedal - pushers? I think they were more fitted, weren't they? Cropped pants - back in style! If you wait long enough, everything comes back, right?

ddh said...

Dancing the limbo?

Carol said...

quiet female students who were very respectful of their space.

Just curious, do people like that still exist? There seems to be a surplus of crazy now.

Big Mike said...

You're making switches. The two older girls are upset because they know how and where those switches are going to be used. You instigated the punishment that's about to be meted out, but you're too young to realize what's coming so you're still full of mischief as the picture's being taken.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Ann Althouse said...

As for the Stooges, I think they were broken up at that time, but I remember Iggy performing on campus. I didn't see him, but I heard reports that he was pathetically washed up, as evinced by his announcement that now he wanted to be called "Iggy Pop." We scoffed!

Ann Althouse said...

Back home in New Jersey, before I went to college, I listened to WFMU, East Orange New Jersey, and they loved to play The Psychedelic Stooges. I cared about Iggy Stooge back then. Now, obviously, I'm sorry we laughed at "Iggy Pop."

But we did!

David said...

My second guess would have been that you were sadistically torturing bugs.

Ann Althouse said...

"Just curious, do people like that still exist?"

Oh, of course. Campus is full of females and males like this.

How to make sure that's what you're getting for your upstairs bedrooms... I don't know. There must be techniques. Impose a lot of rules! Who will take them? Quiet after 8 pm. Must be in the house by 9:30. No audible music may be played. No smellable smells. Whatever. Must be a rulebook somewhere.

Ann Althouse said...

There must be super-serious students who would love the protected, safe, secure, quiet environment that my grandparents provided.

Inga said...

Stripping away the bark to get to the true naked branch underneath.

A maxim?

Terry Josiah said...

I guessed. It was quite easy, especially after you take a second look to make sure.
Unfortunately, I didn't post my guest.
In the future, please promise a prize to the people who guess right.
Thanks.