This is a picture of my maternal great-grandparents. I'm really not sure when the photo was taken but I suspect it was taken during the Great Depression. My great grandparents were German immigrants who came to New York separately circa 1881. I do not know how they met, but they were a contrast in type.
My great grandfather considered himself to be an intellectual and was always reading - note the newspaper in his lap, somewhat hidden by the red flower. He was a mason by trade, but considered that job beneath him and only worked when he had to. They had a house in one of the boroughs of NYC and he grew beautiful roses in is small backyard plot. When my grandmother and her brother were young, he would make them go out into the street with a pail and a shovel to collect the horse dung which was there because of the horse driven buggies. He swore that this was the best fertilizer and what made his roses the very best in the neighborhood.
He made sure that his son had violin lessons, despite their small income. His son hated the violin, but had no choice. I think my grandmother was expected to follow in the footsteps of her mother who was a typical German "hausfrau" who cooked, cleaned and baked to perfection. I am not sure of the source of their income. although I know they always had one or more boarders in the house.
I know that my great grandfather made bathtub gin during prohibition, but I don't believe that he sold it. After my grandmother was married she and my grandfather would either host or go to a party and they would call him and tell him to "bring the brown shoes". That was their clue in case anyone was listening on the party telephone line.
They were both alive when I was a baby, and I'll post some of these later photos when I get to them. My great grandfather lived until I was nine or ten, so I remember more of him. I tried to incorporate some bit of each of them in this LO and the tag on the right side has more information about them.