Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Family Fotos!

 My fathers family came from Estonia in 1912 when  my father was 3 years old.  I don't know what kind of work my grandfather did when he lived in Estonia, but here he learned the dry cleaning business in New York before moving to Minnesota.  He opened up a dry cleaning business in Park Rapids MN, named Vaegemast Cleaners. Dad and uncle John both learned the business, with my dad staying here and my uncle later moving to Greeley Colorado to opened his own dry cleaning business.  Both dad and uncle John served in WWII, so there was a time when both were gone.

This would be my grand father in his early years of business.  Notice the big steam press in back.  On the table up front, notice the large flat iron.  You can't see the sewing machine, but it was directly across from the cutting table to the left edge of the picture.  Both grandparents had passed away before my sister and I were born, so we never knew them.

My father sitting on the desk, other fellow is unknown.  The  photo below is after some remodeling of this same area.  Notice that there is now linoleum on the floor, and better lighting.  Uncle John behind the desk and my dad to the edge.  As a small child I remember the front part of the cleaners like this picture below.  Up front on the left side that can't be seen was a huge ceiling to floor mirror.  Wish I had a picture of that, as it was said to have been the mirror out of the first saloon in our town.  It later was moved to our house and took up a good space of one wall.  You can see better detail of the pictures if you click on them to enlarge them.  The ceiling was the tin or metal that was used back then. 

My grandfather and father were tailors, and did fitting of suit clothes for men.  I have the their treadle sewing machine that they did tayloring with.  It is on the original table, with cigarette burns in the wood, and all.  They were smokers, and I remember my dad would leave a cigarette on the edge so the ashes would fall off.  I think more burned there than he actually smoked.  Old Lucky Strikes!  Yuk!    The sewing machine needs to have a new leather belt installed on it to get it working again.  This is the machine that I learned to sew on.   Mom and I did some reupholstry work years ago, when she was still alive, so I think I haven't used this machine since the mid 70's.   I remember that I loved using the knee lever to raise and lower the presser foot.  This sits waiting for someone to use it - one of these days I should get it going again.

This was the store front shortly before demolition of the building.  The main street of our town has really changed since I was young.  There is only one business that I know of that has the same owners.  That would be the little gift shop that was next to the dry cleaners.  Bishops clothing store is no longer there - that building now houses realators.  The cleaners building was not in good shape, so after that was sold in the late 60's or very early 70's, it was torn down and rebuilt.  It now houses a womans clothing store - the expensive kind, that I don't go in! 


Growing Up A Country Girl said...

Great post! --- I'm so glad you found some pictures of the old store! I know it was hard times for families but the pictures and stories are all so interesting! --

Shelley said...

How wonderful you have these old photos - and interesting to hear your family's history!

City girl turned Country Girl said...

What a GREAT story full of family history!!! I LOVE the old sewing machine and table!!!!!! AWESOME!!!

Rae said...

Fabulous post. I loved reading your family history. It is amazing and so interesting. I learned to sew on an old Singer machine - with a treadmill. It was my grandmother's. You have some really great memories here.

Buttercup said...

The pictures are great and I enjoyed seeing the changes in your town throughout the years. I had the good fortune to visit Estonia -- just to Tallin -- and it is a beautiful city.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Wonderful history and photos..I really enjoyed reading this..I can barely remember the Dry Cleaners Store..I was in there a few times:)