a family reunion, and hats!

For an infinite number of reasons, I love the internet. Here’s one at the top of the list.

Back in May we posted here about Jennie and Margaret Grumbine, the ladies who used to operate a millinery shop in our building many years ago.The information and pictures came from Kathy Grumbine Miller, a great-niece of theirs who used to visit them as a child.

fancy pink silk hat

A few months later our post caught the attention of Brenda, another great-niece of the Grumbine sisters. She actually still had some of their hats and hatboxes, and she was kind enough to send us some photos. Here are a few.interior of pink hat

Can you imagine wearing this amazing thing? Such pink and purple extravagance – it reminds me of a dessert. For a night at the opera, perhaps?

black hat with pink roses

This one looks a bit more everyday, yet undeniably elegant. For a luncheon, or perhaps church?

interior of black hat

It’s amazing to see these fabulous hats marked with our address. Time has certainly brought many changes to our part of town.

J. M. Grumbine hexagonal hatbox

The truly remarkable thing is that Kathy and Brenda had never met, even though they once lived a few blocks away from each other in the small town of Lewiston, PA. It turns out that their grandfathers were brothers, which makes them second cousins to each other. Brenda had moved away to Harrisburg when Kathy was very young, so their paths never crossed until now. They have connected through us and are now emailing. Perhaps they would never have met if not for our little blog about our store and crafts and West Philly and whatnot. How cool is that?

Have I mentioned that I love the internet? Yep, I’m pretty sure I have.

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Published in: on Tuesday, August 11, 2009 at 4:11 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. awesome! Really neat story!

  2. Love it!

    That first hat looks like a wedding cake. For Donny Osmond.

    but I love it.

  3. VIX Emporium is SO much more than “just a store!” It’s about the history of West Philly and 21st-century renaissance of the century+-old Cedar Park neighborhood.

    In the few short yrs since I first visited this part of Baltimore Avenue [an “outpost” of Philly’s University City], it has made a successful transition from a trash- and crime-infested wasteland to a pleasant, tree-lined, pedestrian-lit, safe place to live, raise kids, stroll, shop and dine.

    Kudos to Sean Dorn for kick-ass-and-take-names commercial, political and envionmental [trees!] leadership in this remarkable make-over. And likewise to Emily Dorn for the intelligent, friendly face that anchors and typifies up-‘n’-coming West Philly businesses!


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