Photography has been a vital element of family history since its earliest days. We cherish the oldest photographs taken when photography was an art practiced by a knowledgeable few. Now we live in an age where every moment of our children’s lives is recorded, photographed, videotaped.
The photos I have been looking at lately were taken by a bygone class of photographers, itinerant street photographers. These photographers would come to the neighborhood and take pictures of the children. The pictures could then be sold to the proud parents. In the neighborhood where my family lived when I was young the photographer came with a prop, a pony and sometimes cowboy or girl costumes. No urban kid could resist climbing on the pony and it was a hardhearted parent who wouldn’t scrape together the money for a photo.
I believe I must have some of the earliest of these “pony” photos.
The first photo I have of our neighborhood pony is one of my mother’s cousins taken around 1906.
Here is my father about 1916.
My mother’s twin brothers were not far behind in 1924 and my cousin Danny in 1928
The later era of pony photography included costumes.
Two of my cousin Hank.
There is a picture of me on that pony, but I cannot lay my hands on it. So, here is a picture of me at the age of three.
Please imagine me sitting on that pony in full cowgirl regalia imagining a life in the wide open spaces.
Finally, any of you who have looked at these pictures can plainly see that there is more than one pony involved between 1906 an 1954. Yet in my mind and my heart there was one pony and I loved that pony in the way that only a small girl can love a pony. I love him to this day. In my mind’s eye I see him romping in pony heaven, munching on whatever ponies like to munch on, perhaps accompanied by a lovely female pony and surrounded by adoring little ponies. That’s the way I see it. Please don’t mess it up with reality, there’s way more than enough reality to go around.