A beach shot of my Grandma Gen, that part is easy. As for the location and which kid, well that isn’t as clear. My Dad can’t tell if this is him or his older brother Robert. His guess, which makes sense, is that this was his brother since there is only one kid around in the shot. That would mean this was most likely taken during the summer of 1940. 

As for the location, that too is a mystery. The family would take their summer vacations to a quiet beach in Western Michigan. Obviously, this is not a quiet place. I thought maybe Chicago, but you would be able to see some part of the city from this angle (based on the sun and that snow fence). So Chicago is out. Maybe it was near Detroit. You could probably get this angle from a beach on Belle Isle where downtown wouldn’t be in the background. 

Most likely this pin belonged to my Grandpa Pete Kownacki, though it was mixed in with items from the other side of the family.  So… Anyway, the story goes that Pete would pick up seasonal work with the Post Office while he was attending grad school at Loyola.  This would have been in the 1930s.  I recently found this bit out about him, which could also explain why I now have this old metal postal badge in my possession.  The coloring of this pin is really bizarre and must be some form of water damage.  

I can easily see how something like this ends up lasting longer than the owner.  Think about it… How many random things do you have in the back of a dresser drawer that just sit there?  Of course nothing is written down about the significance of them, or why it is you even own a particular item.  Decades later it gets passed down to some future ancestor that will have absolutely no clue as to where it came from.  Think about that one next time you fill up your life with stuff. 


Both of these shots were taken in front of the apartment building in the previous photo. The first shot is my Grandma but I don’t know who is in the other. My Grandparents only lived here for a short time, so a good guess would be that it was a friend or relation visiting, but sadly I just don’t recognize her. 

One thing I do love about these two photos is that building. Besides the fact that these buildings remind me of my childhood (like I previously mentioned), it’s the details in the construction. The stone work is great, and that entry way is fantastic. I wonder if those great brass handled doors still exist? 

If you looked up the term “a tough” you’d probably find this guy. I love this photo. I have absolutely no idea who he is, but he looks like he walked right out of a movie with 1920s hard boiled characters. Everything about this photo, from the hat, his stance, the squinting eyes, and the cars, make this a classic photo. 

Update: My father thinks that this could be his father Piotr (Peter) Kownacki.  It’s really hard to say 100% so he is 50/50 on this one.  Sadly, the man died many years before I was born and no one else is around to say either way on this one.