Saturday, April 11, 2015

My mother the Harvest Queen

The Harvest Queen in
the attire of a commoner
For some reason I don't remember hearing the story of how my mother became the Harvest Queen. By the time I knew my mother she was already in early middle age and not at all glamorous, but at one time she was. Apparently she and my father, when they were still dating, attended some kind of dance - I assume it was called the Harvest Dance - and dancers were given numbers and someone went around picking some of the couples dancing, and then the women were presented and a vote for prettiest was taken by hand-clapping and my mother won. She got a set of luggage as her prize. Unfortunately there are no pictures of her as Harvest Queen, but here is a photo taken around that time, with my mother got up in all 1950s splendor.

She is standing in the back yard of the family home, in Northeast Philadelphia that was once the only house on a large lot, but the lot had by this time been sold off for row homes. You can see the row after row of tiny backyards behind my mother in the photo. My grandmother bequeathed the house to a cancer research organization, I think.

Well my family doesn't exactly come from royalty, except for the odd Harvest Queen, as the story of my great great grandmother and her fight for her Civil War pension reveals.