... and his dress code
After talking about dress codes a bit recently, I was reminded of this old photo. These are bricklayers on a construction site in Montreal in the 1920s, I guess. Look at the hats: they all have them, and they're almost all of the same type — the baseball caps of the day but so much classier. Look at the guy in row 3 with his cap turned backwards — a rapper before his time. I guess it's true that there's nothing new under the sun. Did you happen to notice the ties? It's a construction site and they're wearing ties! Was it just because it was picture day, I wonder?
My grandfather is on the extreme left of the second row. He was a genuine Christmas baby, born in Barking, England on December 25, 1879. The story goes that his father taught him the bricklaying trade in the family backyard. Arthur was the only tall person in the immediate family. My parents, uncle, and three other grandparents were all of diminutive stature. Height, however, seems to be the only visible thing that I inherited from grampa, for I sure didn't inherit any of his mechanical aptitude or his ability to work at heights. Put me one rung up on a ladder and I get queasy. He, on the other hand, worked on skyscrapers.
Yes, this picture was taken at a construction site: the Sunlife building in Montreal. I think it was close to thirty stories high. Later, he worked in New York on either the Empire State building or the Woolworth building or both. I never did get the story straight. Why the family returned to Montreal, I'm not sure. Perhaps because it was closer to eastern Ontario where my grandmother's family lived.
Back to the hats. I don't mind hats either but not the ubiquitous baseball caps of the present era. They don't do much for most guys in my paltry and unworthy opinion. But I have had caps that were more or less of the style shown in the photo, even though they have never been trendy in my era. Maybe I'm an old soul. Eh?