This photograph has perplexed me for years. A baby in a diaper, lying on a pillow inside a steel wash tub. I strongly suspect this is my father, David D. Hanneman (1933-2007). The image raises many questions but provides no answers.
Why stick a baby in a wash tub? Was this the poor family’s playpen? The Depression-era bassinette? A brutal pre-Dr. Spock time-out? Freshly picked from the vine? In this day and age, such a photo might get you a visit from Child Services. I’m guessing my Grandma Ruby (Treutel) Hanneman (1904-1977) just thought it made a cute photo. She was known to dote on her “little Davey.”
If this was Dad in the tub, the photo was likely taken in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, where he was born in March 1933. The family did not move to Mauston until early 1936. Usually I can confirm my Dad’s ID in photos by the ears, but they are not visible in this image.
My memories of such a steel container at the house in Mauston had nothing to do with babies. I recall bluegill, sunfish and bass in such a tub, waiting for Grandpa Carl’s skilled fillet knife. Or the tub filled with ice and bottles of orange and grape soda (known as “pop” by some of you). But no babies.
This one is destined to remain a mystery. I’m sure it would tickle my grandma to know it was a conversation piece some 80 years later, and that no one called Child Services.
©2015 The Hanneman Archive