In the 1950s and 1960s Dad’s best friend was Jim Humphries. Jim, his wife Thelma, Mom, and Dad spent a lot of time together – golfing, traveling, swimming, eating, and playing cards. Dad and Jim would bet on anything. Not serious addictive gambling, but nickel and dime gambling. Maybe a quarter bet and one would pick a corner in the Friday Night Fights before they knew which boxer they had bet on. And all the winnings from all the games went into a pot. That pot paid for many of those dinners and vacations – but that’s another story.
Jim was handsome, charming, and funny. His drink was a martini. His dinner order in a restaurant was always NY steak and baked potato.
Dad was devastated when Jim died. In a letter to my brother he wrote “This man had a real influence in my life and I believe all of you were influenced by him also… It was an unusual friendship Jim and I had – I don’t believe we ever shook hands – we didn’t need to… Everybody should look for and find a friendship like our during your lifetime.”
On his calendar 7 August 1970, Dad noted “I lost a real, genuine friend today – Jim Humphries passed away this afternoon at McCain’s ranch near Jacumba. It was his 8th heart attack – he had never really recovered from his 7th attack on Easter Sunday this year. He was scheduled to go for tests at Sharp hospital on 8/18/70 to see about open heart surgery. “Everybody that knew him and I mean everybody, will miss this man.”
Dad had many friends, but never one as close as Jim.
The woman in the hammock is my great-grandmother, Anna Sarah Townsend Claycomb (1864-1892), wife of Frank Erwin Claycomb. She is at a TB sanitarium in southern California, possibly Pasadena. The year is about 1892. I can’t prove it, but the family story is that the toddler is her youngest child, George Francis Claycomb, born 1889. George becomes the father of the ‘Idaho Claycombs.’
Her residence was in Sycamore, illinois, but she made this trip to improve her health. It wasn’t successful.
The photo is interesting because of the formal dress on people (family?) and the Asian care takers. I’m glad they are included in the photograph.
I don’t know who George Dooley and Karen (8 months) are, but it’s a nice photo that someone might recognize. It was in my Aunt Barb Davis’ album. Taken during WWII or shortly thereafter. Maybe in the Los Angeles CA area.
Julia Bressler is my great-grandmother. I’m guessing that Clara Ellis was a friend, perhaps from church. I never heard of Clara, but I love this photo. I like the similarity of their pose, their hands, and the fabric print of their dresses. They are wearing lace-up shoes with low heels. From the look of Clara’s ankles, her feet hurt. Julia was born in 1859; she’s 86 in this photo. February 1945. Probably Wayne, Nebraska.
In the first blog post I questioned whether Dad had gotten this car. There’s no photo of it. But he did get it. He went to Detroit from Los Angeles to pick it up and drive it home.
We can follow his route from Detroit – he first visited family in DeKalb, Illinois and then Wayne, Nebraska. Then Denver and south to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Holbrook, Kingman, Barstow, to Hollywood – sounds like Route 66. Then he used it as he called on customers in southern California and Arizona. Here’s the description of the car and his contract. Wouldn’t it be fun to do that same trip today in a 1940 Ford convertible?
My brother, Tom, provided much of this story including the photos. Our father, Frank Claycomb, liked owning and driving cars. He was born in 1915 and grew up in a small rural town in Nebraska, so cars were still a bit of a novelty.
1930 Ford brochure
His grandfather was a prominent man who bought a car for each of his grandchildren when they graduated from high school. Dad’s brother, John, had gotten one the year before when he graduated.
Dad fixated on that idea and researched, studied, and figured out just what car he wanted for his 1931 graduation. He spent the entire year pestering the auto dealers in Wayne, comparing the various possibilities and their prices. Either the Ford or the Chevy.
1931 Chevrolet brochure
1932 Chevrolet brochure.
1931. The Great Depression. When graduation day arrived Grandpa Bressler handed him an envelope which when opened yielded a five dollar bill. He had decided he could not afford to buy a car for the graduates. Dad was devastated. He said he was angry and hated his grandfather. Eventually he came to realize that this depression was real and actually impacted the family and him. Prior to this painful event he hadn’t realized what was taking place in the country. He told this story until the end of his life.