Monday, June 6, 2011

Exploring My Family Tree: Not Forgotten - The Fisherman

My great grandfather Victor Kuck on left and great grandmother Grace Viola Smith Kuck on right were evidently big fishermen back in the day. I remember my great grandma Grace telling me so and I recounted one of my few memories of Victor in this post in which I remember a photo of him holding a large fish but until I saw all the pictures of them fishing, it never really sunk in.

Most of these pictures were taken up at Ballard Tall Pine Camp somewhere in Canada. A cursory search of the internet doesn't reveal anything about it so I'm guessing it is no longer in existence. Several of the pictures also include a couple, Frank Noehl who is pictured center above and his wife Buelah also pictured in silohette above. I'm guessing they were the camps owners. According to my grandma, Victor and Grace went up there to help out and fish quite often and I even have a stack of postcards that Grace wrote home to her mother from there.

As you can see in the above two photos, there prime target appeared mostly to be very large northerns and also some walleyes. My grandfather said they mostly caught them, gutted them, iced them and brought them back to Iowa with them in a trailer for meals through the rest of the year. I'm guessing this was back before there were limits or worries about crossing a international border with a trailer load of fish.

Not sure if this picture is from Iowa or Canada but this shows that they preserved all that fish by smoking them. Another sign that they had a lot of fish to preserve is the radio sitting in front of him. If this were a modern photo, you wouldn't see any radio and maybe just a wire coming from the earbud buried in his ear.

I included the two pictures above and the one below because they show something that I think is a dying part of our society, the picnic. When I was young, it seemed as if everyone went for a picnic now and then for no reason other than to get outside and enjoy the day. There weren't barbecue grills, picnic tables, folding chairs with foot rests or coolers of cold drinks and you didn't drive to within yards of your picnic spot. There was just large wicker basket with some meats, cheeses, breads and maybe some pasta and you walked a considerable distance to arrive at your designated spot away from all other people. I can't remember when the last time I saw someone having a picnic like that was and I'm just as guilty.

Finally, this is perhaps my favorite picture of this series and shows my great grandfather Victor boating in the Gulf of Mexico off of Florida probably when I was still less than a handful of years old. He still had another half dozen years of life left after this picture was taken though the last four would be robbed after a series of strokes. When I see this picture and remember the picture of him holding the large northern beside his bed at the nursing home, I can say for certainty that my great grandpa Victor was a fisherman until the day he died.


R. Sherman said...

Good looking fish.

Fishing is one of those activities which is good for the soul. I understand how people have a life long passion for it, regardless of how successful they are at it.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Reminds me of my Grampa Ray Spear 1897-1971. Loved to fish, to invent, build and make things, garden, hunted. A really cool guy. Soft spoken, when my grandmother would start going into "fuss mode" he'd tell her quietly, "hush woman." Listening to him and his brothers, I KNOW how people used to speak, how they sounded when they spoke, back in the 1800s.

Ron said...

More great photos - love them!

My grandpa was a fisherman too... he could barely see, but he'd get that old Alumacraft out there and go fishing. A few strokes put him in a rest home, unfortunately. Lots of fond memories of skinning bullheads in his basement...