Yes, Dad would have been 96 years old today, if only . . .
According to his birth certificate, he was born at midnight on September 4, 1915 at Sibley Hospital in Washington D.C., a hospital still in existence today. William Francis Sherman, Jr. was the first child born to the marriage of William Francis and Nellie Viola Niess Sherman, and very importantly, the first grandchild of Edwin Alonza and Carrie Virginia Carvell Niess.Never was a child more photographed than this one! and I am the lucky caretaker of the collection! Although the above studio portrait of my father is not by any means the earliest picture I have of Dad, it is one of my favorites. I love a guy not afraid to wear pink! (as if he had a choice!)
By the time Dad was five he had two younger brothers and a mother unable to cope with three very young boys. The picture above shows Dad on the tricycle and his brother Ray on the little trike. The other child is a neighborhood friend. His brother Vincent was less than a year old at the time.
Nellie’s parents stepped in when it appeared their daughter could no longer manage these three active boys, and my father became the main object of their affection. They spoiled him, photographed him, had him photographed and at one point wanted to adopt him. Dad learned to embroider at his grandmother’s knee, helped her with her china painting and learned table manners at their formal dinner table. Although they loved his brothers, Raymond and Vincent, they loved and doted on their “Buddy.”They were the ones who had this Bachrach portrait taken in 1925, probably for his 10th birthday. This is not the only Bachrach portrait in the collection of Dad’s pictures, but certainly one of my favorites!
.As mentioned in a previous post, the family fell on hard times as the depression approached and like many others in that period, traveled from place to place (NYC to San Francisco!) as jobs became scarce. One of the last portraits taken in “childhood” would have been the one taken in his ROTC uniform.
I could probably fill pages with pictures of him, summering in Braddock Heights, Maryland, traveling to Shippensburg and/or Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and generally spending a spoiled childhood in the lap of luxury. Instead I decided to share just a few of my favorite portraits with you since today would have been his birthday. I hope you have enjoyed them as much as I have sharing them with you.
Although it appears he was a lucky kid, I think it was not he that was lucky, but I! After all, I had him for my father!!
Happy Birthday Dad ~ until we meet again!