Sepia Saturday 269: The Violet Polka

It’s Sepia Saturday; and this week’s vintage photograph call connects with the theme image and encompasses music, dance, polkas, violets ….

Palmer Singers (1979)_for_web copy This post will touch on each of those things.

Music was always in our house. Momma and Charles played piano. Pat took voice lessons. And we all (except Daddy) sang. Everybody read music and played an instrument except for me (and Daddy). To this day, I can only surmise that the reasons were financial. (Because Daddy’s health problems began just as I was entering jr high (middle) school.) But that didn’t hinder my natural singing ability.

Gospel, show tunes, Chicago_Bandstand_Posterand R&B were the main genres we enjoyed. I remember the time Billy and Pat went to Chicago Bandstand. Our family gathered around the television, watched  and squealed with delight when we got a brief glimpse of them among the teenagers on the dance floor.

Our family loved music; and it was one of the things that bridged our ages. I was the youngest; and while they did teenager things together, I enjoyed one-on-one time with Momma and Daddy. They all attended school together (walking a few city blocks). But I rode across town with Momma to attend grades 1 through 6 at the school where she was the secretary. My parents were pleasantly surprised when, at the age of 10, I debuted with “The Palmer Trio” — expanding our gospel group to be called, “The Palmer Family Singers.”

No one in our house danced the polka; but we tuned in every Saturday night to watch it being performed on The Lawrence Welk Show. The smiling conductor’s trademark gesture was, rather than the traditional baton tap on the music stand, the queuing up his band with his famous, “a-1-annn-a-2-annn-a . . .” Book_Music_with_lavender_roses_resized copy The Violet is my dear mother: Floretta Violet MABLE PALMER who had a beautiful choir voice and accompanied our gospel group on piano. Sheet music was a staple in our home. I clearly recall their planned trips to the music shop (for show tunes) or the Bible Book Store (for gospel renderings). I’m working on a scrapbooking page which includes a scan of Momma’s “Gospel Pearls” hymnal — turned to her favorite, “His Eye is on the Sparrow.” And Daddy did have a favorite hymn: “Peace in the Valley.” Hearing reasonable renderings of either of these songs — or even reading the lyrics — evokes a heart tug and a cloudy eye.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my older sister who was named Violet Marie PALMER. None of us ever knew her because she died of pneumonia at the age of 11 months. The only photo I’ve ever seen of her tells that she was an extremely beautiful baby. Our parents kept her memory alive within our family structure. And I’ll rejoice to meet her “on the other shore.” Books_of_Faith_resized copy And don’t you just love Alan’s image for this week’s theme? I couldn’t help but notice that, in addition to having the word, “Violet” in the name, it also includes the word, “Flora” (close enough to, “Floretta” for me). My genealogist eyes notice things like that. I can’t wait to see what other Sepians have prepared for this week’s theme. Sep_Sat_2015_0307

17 thoughts on “Sepia Saturday 269: The Violet Polka

  1. Pingback: My Mother’s Day Tribute – 2015 | Daughter of Slave Ancestry

  2. A clever spin on this weekend’s theme. It’s not so common today, but I’ve come across families in earlier times that gave several daughters names of different flowers. I don’t know of any similar name series for boys though.


  3. You tie the various elements of the theme together wonderfully – like a perfectly presented bunch of violets. What date would those Chicago Bandstand programmes be? In some way they sound fairly old, but I note that they were broadcast in colour and black and white so they can’t be all that long ago.

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    • I’m glad you enjoyed reading my post. Just doing the rough math — my brother and sister were probably 16 and 11 which would have made me 6. That would have been 1956. That sounds about right. I never saw them in color — only black and white.


  4. These types of memories are so special because they can be evoked by a song you’re listening to while doing something else. So the memories really stay with you. I’ve always wanted to play piano. And I still think I can learn. I used to daydream about playing, “Cast Your Fate to the Wind.” It’s a beautiful piano piece (pardon the ads).

    Cast Your Fate to the Wind

    It was a blessing that your Grandmother was active up until the end. What a precious memory. Did you know Miriam Makeba (The Pata Pata Song) also passed away shortly after a performance? She was 76. Yes, seems like it would be a blessing.


  5. Everyone in my family sang too – including my Dad. He also played the clarinet in high school. I tried playing the cello for a short time in grade school, but I had to walk 5 blocks to school & my mother didn’t drive, so carrying that thing to & from school got real old, real fast. Later I fooled around with the guitar but never got much beyond “strum-strum” in possibly 4 different chords. But sing I could do. All four of us kids, at one time, sang in the church choir together. And my paternal grandmother sang in different choral groups till the day she passed away at age 80! Truly! She had sung in a Mother Singers concert that day, & passed away that night. Talk about ‘going’ while doing something you love! I hope I’m as lucky when the time comes.

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  6. I came here after whatever photo problem you had, so I enjoyed this blog post right from the start. I looked for someone named Violet in my database, but I didn’t know any of them personally to have a memory to share. Your family’s involvement in music sounds like so much fun.

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    • I was going to do mine about someone named Adeline because of the Adelade Waltz tie in, but at the last minute I changed. You did a very nice tie in here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think posting about Adeline would’ve worked — especially if you could find an image of sheet music for “Sweet Adeline.” That was a popular song with tremendous harmony when I was coming up. I’m sure you did your idea justice, though. I’m going to read it after I finish my replies. I’m glad you enjoyed my post. Thanks.


    • You got the full effect of the post. Good! I’m glad. Yes, our family was fun. Our rehearsals got crazy at times. During a performance, we maintained eye contact throughout a number. And we were sometimes able to communicate amusement over something that had gone on in rehearsal — if one of us was struggling with a part or whatever. This was really effective if there was only one mic.

      As far as not finding a “Violet” in your database — being an “outside of the box” kind of girl, I might’ve looked for a “Daisy” or a “Rose” and made it work. We’re given a really broad license with this prompt. Just take it to the max. I enjoy the degree and variety of interpretations.


    • Thank you, Nell. I’ve fixed the problem with the images. I borrowed a couple of the photos from my other blog and forgot that I had to attach them to this one. I appreciate the heads up.


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