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In the Good Old Days Antiques Corner This Week in History
In the Good Old Days

Trivia Question

Which college football team had an undefeated season in 1949?

Future Funny Faces

Click here for larger image.

The sound of an old-fashioned camera-lens shutter is a sweet sound; it's hard to describe but familiar to everyone. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and Christmas follows soon after, so that clicking sound will be prevalent as we document our family gatherings. We don’t have to use an old camera—even our modern cellphones make that sound when we take a picture with them!

In the November/December issue of Good Old Days magazine, Wendy All's article, "Everybody Smile," takes an amusing look at her family's photos taken at Christmas in 1965, when one of her sisters made a funny face in picture after picture, despite being scolded. In my family, my dad was the designated photographer. He loved his cameras and somehow managed to spring for the latest in camera technology whenever it evolved. He had an old movie camera that was the size of a small suitcase and branded a light so bright that all of our indoor scenes featured people with squinty-eyed faces and hands up in protest. He bought a Polaroid Instamatic camera when they first came out, and he was the primary photographer for that camera too. The film was way too expensive to let just any of us use it.

But on the rare occasion when someone else was the photographer and tried to take a picture of my dad, he always made a funny face. It makes me laugh out loud when I look at those old photos today. There he is, all 6 foot 4 inches of him, crouched in front of the picture-taker -- thumbs in his ears, fingers waggling and tongue sticking out. His face is scrunched into comical proportions. Rare was the photo when he was serious. I wonder if he gave it a thought that someday his kids and grandkids would have so many funny faces compared to serious ones to treasure. I'm guessing it was by design.

This holiday season, when the camera clicks, maybe you could slip in a few funny faces of your own for posterity. I know I plan to!

Happy Thanksgiving!

'Til next time,

Mary Beth Weisenburger,
Good Old Days® magazine

PS. Who was the photographer in your family when you were a kid? What's your favorite "funny face" photo from your past? We want to hear about it! Send a brief response to me at and it could appear in a future update or in Good Old Days magazine! Here's a responses from the Oct. 12, 2016 question: Did you rake and burn leaves back in your Good Old Days? Did you ever make a bonfire or roast marshmallows?

Wanda writes: "Yes, we, too, did this, but we waited until Halloween and had a wiener roast each year. I built all kinds of things with leaves/pine straw too. We took old wire fence and sticks, and made a cover on top so we could be underneath. What fun we had back in the 1950s! Kids nowadays don't get to have real fun anymore like we had. Thanks for the memories."

Marilla Cable recalled: "I always loved when we had to rake. Having lots of trees there were lots of leaves too. My daddy would pile them on the garden and light the fire. My brother and I always got to help. We would take a stick and spread them out to keep them burning. We do the same thing with our grandchildren now. Thanks for the memory."

Debbie Lionetti stated: "Your article about burning leaves truly brought back some happy memories for me. As a child in the mid-1960s, I would help my dad rake leaves into a pile in our backyard. It was usually just starting to get dark by the time we were done, but this only added to the enjoyment of the leaf-burning to come. As long as there wasn't any gusty wind to blow the embers about, Dad would take his cigarette lighter out of his pocket and hold it to a corner of the leaf pile. The dry leaves caught almost instantly, and in a few moments, we were standing in front of a cheery blaze. My mom would emerge from the house with a few well-scrubbed potatoes, which Dad would push into the center of the fire with a stick.

"How great to be standing outside with my parents, watching the sunset fade and the sky turn a deep cobalt blue, complete with twinkling stars. We had piled a small heap of dry sticks nearby, which we would toss onto the flames and watch as orange sparks danced upwards. Soon enough, the potatoes were done. What a treat it was to peel off the blackened skin and enjoy the steaming-hot potato with a sprinkle of salt. And yes, I always burned my tongue on the hot potato, but the delicious snack was worth it! We would stay outdoors until the fire had burned completely down and Dad would usually sprinkle the ground with the hose to kill any embers that were still smoldering. By this time, the air had turned cold but the wonderful aroma of decaying leaves and wood smoke lingered as we headed indoors.

"Burning leaves is prohibited in our area, but on crisp autumn evenings, I sometimes stand outside to watch the stars and inhale the woodsy air, tinged with wood smoke from a neighbor's fireplace. It is wonderful, but how I miss those long ago bonfires and potato roasts with my folks; it was one of my favorite childhood memories! Thank you for allowing me to walk through the halls of memory and savor this October tradition!"

Mary Beth Weisenburger has been with Annie's since April 2011. She has 25 years of experience in the marketing, advertising and publishing fields. In addition to her job as editor of Good Old Days, she has been writing a family humor column for over a decade. She and her husband, two college-age kids, two dogs and various other critters live on five acres in the country, where she enjoys reading on the back porch, refinishing furniture, feeding the birds and digging in the dirt of her perennial gardens.

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Trivia Answer

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish finished 1949 with a 10-0 undefeated season and were ranked No. 1. The Fighting Irish were led by team captains Leon Hart and Jim Martin. Hart also won the Heisman Trophy that year.

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