Here comes Peter Cottontail / Hoppin’ down the bunny trail / Hippity hoppin’ Easter’s on its way!
My maternal grandmother, née Linda Preston, traveled as a singer with comedian Gene Sheldon in 1941. Unfortunately, it seems her tour with him was cut short when her brother, my Uncle Peter, took a curve too fast while driving her and ran the car into a tree. I remember Grandma told me her leg was broken, and got infected. She told me she begged the doctors in the hospital to save her leg rather than amputate it, and they gave her Sulfa drugs — brand new at the time — to kill the infection. They worked, mostly, but she was prone to getting infections in that leg in her old age.
I found these photos among my maternal grandmother’s memoirs of her time as a vaudeville performer. They were all stamped on the back:
J. M. SHAFER
These nine photos were among my grandmother’s photos of her time as a trouper with Egyptian Follies. I searched the Internet for information about J. M. Shafer and found this mention of his time as a staff photographer with the Altoona Mirror in an obituary:
Mr. Shafer retired as photographer on May 21, 1980 [sic. Must have been 1970.], after more than 41 years’ service. He began his service with the Mirror on March 8, 1929, as a messenger to Daniel N. Step, president and publisher.
On March 8, 1933, he became the first staff photographer under the late J. Edward Benney, then city editor.
–Altoona Mirror [edits mine]
Altoona Mirror. (1983, August 5). Retired Mirror employee dies. Death Record, p. 4. Altoona, Blair County, PA: Altoona Mirror. Retrieved from http://boards.ancestry.com/surnames.shafer/739/mb.ashx
Here’s to the late, great Elaine Stritch, the lady who launched– one of Broadway’s most fabulous songs.
Sang this WWII-era song at my neighbor Elva’s memorial service because her husband served in WWII, and for all we know, we all may meet again some sunny day.