Family adventures worldwide with the Speer family photos

World travel documents record the personal history of Dr Homer A Speer Sr in the early 20th Century

Travel document Dr. Homer A Speer Sr. Cancelled Argentinean Travel Visa

 I've scanned hundreds of Homer A Speer Jr's  collection of vintage photos and postcards, learning the stories behind most of the the family history treasure Homer's collected. I've learned a lot of local history along the way while preserving important mementos and photos.

While Homer and I scanned we talked about the photos and share memories.  I can imagine I am traveling this junket too, set in the early 20th century.

Dr Speer lived a colorful life and left a deep lasting visual legacy for his son.

Dr Homer A Speer Sr

One particular personal story recounts the world wide trek Dr Homer A Speer Sr took from from Hong King to Egypt, France, Jerusalem, Mexico and throughout the U.S. What a journey it was! As the hundreds of vintage photos are scanned more details emerge about the Speer pater familias.

World Travel Shipboard Costume Party early 20th century
Shipboard party Dr. Homer A Speer Sr World Travel

I’ve learned about the San Paulo serpentaria. I wouldn't have imagined I would be researching serums, serpentaria and geography when I started my vintage trek through a treasury of family photos. It all started innocently enough….

Serpentaria, San Paulo, Brazil, Early 1920's

“What do you suppose those hives are he is looking at’ says Homer, looking at a photo of his father circa 1924. It is sunny hot on this day almost 90 years ago Homer’s dad is wearing a full suit, hat and tie in the heat of the day.  This vintage photo shows Homer Alexander Speer Sr leaning against a wall, peering into the moat behind the wall.

I am sorting through the photos we’ve scanned to the antique photos folder “Wasn’t there a picture earlier of a snake we thought was taken in Peru? I think the guy holding the snake was standing in front of one of those too”. We look through Homer’s computer to find the particular group of photos I am talking about.

From Homer's Picasa album, we find the picture I’d scanned a few weeks before. Sure enough, the guy holding the snake IS standing in front of one of those hives. This photo has 1924, San Paulo, written on the back. Here is where the curious get hooked.

Researching San Paulo's Medical History

“ Let’s google ‘San Paulo Brazil snakes’ Homer!” Up pops the Institutio Batalan, built by Brazilian physician Vital Brazil in 1901.  Our curiosity is as strong as Dr. Speer’s as Homer flies us over the same spot almost a hundred year’s later by satellite and mapping.

President Teddy Roosevelt Butanan Museum, San Paulo Brazil 1912

 

We can’t see the serpentaria in the photos we pull up on google earth. The Google car didn’t drive into the compound of Institutio Batalan when it was mapping San Paulo this century, but in 1914 Teddy Roosevelt did.

 

Lab Session with Cadaver Dr Homer A Speer Sr c. 1905

Turns out, anti-venom and a lot of other research has been conducted in San Paulo for over a century, making it a world renowned center for sera and other pharmaceutical development.  This is why Teddy Roosevelt was here in 1914, and  Dr. Speer arrived a decade later. The elder Homer was educating himself about  serums development and the medical advances that would come around the globe from research being done here in Brazil.

Looking through Homer’s vintage photo we’ve both learned something new about Brazil, snakes and those ‘hives’. Both Homer and I are curious; we learn that each time we get together to compile his vintage photos and put the pieces together for his own personal history project.

Homer A Speer Jr Beaverton OR Skype Call
Homer A Speer Jr enjoys exploring technology during Skype call

Elder Friendly Computer Helper provides knowledge and support for personal history project

Homer and met when he was looking for some tutoring on his computer. He's in his mid-eighties and as curious as I am, Homer has a lifetime of stories to share. He has a treasure of family photos and friends he’s connected with by having a tutor who can help him with learning more about how his computer will connect him with many things.

You know how sometimes life has a way of working in funny little vignettes. When you are doing something you really love with another person who has a passion for sharing their stories and inviting you on their journey? I’ve gotten to walk into the past with Homer and learn some wonderful things.  In the case of my dear friend Homer, the past is lovingly illustrated by stories and those vintage photos. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to help preserve and share his past. And watch as he confidently shows me something he’s now learned to do on his own on his computer.

Homer, Walter, Dr Speer and Bobby enjoy the beach at Seaside Oregon

This past year, I’ve ridden bikes with Homer and his brothers in Seaside Oregon. Thanks to those vintage photos I’ve built sand castles on the coast as the Dr. Speer the elder shades the beach  in his suit coat, tie and ever present hat.

Air Force, Alaska 1947

I’ve traveled to Alaska circa 1947 when Homer was stationed there during his time in the Air Force. I’ve attended Homer and Nancy’s wedding the year I was born, lifting a glass to the happy couple at Nancy’s parent’s home over in West Slope.

Homer Speer and Nancy Lee Finn Wedding 1957

 

I’ve also waded in Odell Lake beside the family and watch the string of fish unfurl out of the boat to be proudly displayed. I’ve seen the home in Beaverton, when the land was raw. Furry sheep, the ‘girls’, grazed the pasture tucked into the property before the house was built.

 

Vintage Tektronix OscillisopeTektronics Beaverton OR bears fond memories for Homer A Speer Jr

This past summer I looked photos from the 1960’s of dam’s being built by the Guy Atkinson Company. Through conversation I’d sat beside Homer as he carefully enters numbers in the general ledger for the company those years ago. As Homer’s career developed ‘we’ traveled to Guernsey in the UK where he scouted for Tektronix and met new friends.  Among them a heretofore distant cousin who shared a family tree that included Homer’s own family. Homer is a man who seems to gather synchronicity wherever he goes. He delights in family and has drawn Nancy and I over closer to one another as we share stories and lessons over dinner.

 

Family Stories, Family Treasures

In the present day I’ve excitedly passed on the story of treasure unearthed in a potato field and teased Homer that he’d missed his change to find the horde when he was in Guernsey. He must have been working too hard that year.

Roman Age Treasure found on Jersey Britain

I have found a treasure myself. How?  Every day I am whetting my curiosity whistle beside wonderful folks who are keepers of their family’s personal history. Like being part of a magical family legacy.  Wonderful stuff, being part of the family!

Pleased to announce this blog about my adventures with the Speer family photos was featured in the NixPlay blog, "Recounting One Family's Past Through Pictures." Their blog about 'our project' recognizes the importance of preserving these marvelous stories! Thanks NixPlay!~ zm

Zoe

Zoe

Founder My Beautiful Life Story

At age six, Zoe rode her first two-wheeler into the world, discovering the stories, photos and secret hearts of her neighbors. She’s finally gone back to her roots, collecting stories, organizing photos, and making new friends on her journey.

Homer Speer’s Living Memory Book

"LIVING MEMORY BOOK"

VIDEO BIOGRAPHY AND MONTAGE

As the Speer Family West keeper of family history, Homer's photos dated back to the before the turn of the 20th century. After organizing the photos and slides, they were scanned to preserve them.

I taught Homer how to use his software so he could label, rotate and order images on his own.  Once he was satisfied with his project materials I helped Homer stitch his digitally labeled still photos into several video montage. He had selected music to accompany some of his finished slideshows which was added to the montage if he desired.

 Homer's vision and Zoe's expertise made  his dream possible. He tells how in this video.

Today we have the opportunity to leave  our children and grandchildren and all our family a permanent story of our lives.  This is the first time in history that this is possible. Instead of just pictures we can literally share with them what our life and times were like.

I can't imagine how great it would be to have had all my grandparents be able to do what we can do today.  

I can only imagine what it would be like to have my grandpa leave me story of what it was like to live and experience what they experienced during and after the civil war.  

With the help of My Beautiful Life Story, I have been able to do that now for my family.

Together you and I have created a "LIVING MEMORY BOOK".  That is what has happened to me. That’s what you have done for me.  

I enjoy being able to see ALL Of my historical family photos and the videos we created from those photos from the comfort of my computer and even on my SMART TV.  With your help, my last few years have been some of the most enjoyable of my life...Homer Speer Jr, Banks, Oregon

Zoe

Zoe

Founder My Beautiful Life Story

At age six, Zoe rode her first two-wheeler into the world, discovering the stories, photos and secret hearts of her neighbors. She’s finally gone back to her roots, collecting stories, organizing photos, and making new friends on her journey.