My Little Grease Monkey

My family is incredibly lucky to have some neat family heirlooms, but one of my favorites is an old set of Phillips 66 coveralls  that my grandpa wore when he was a toddler. It was made by HIS grandmother to match the coveralls his grandpa wore. We have several pictures of my brothers wearing the outfit, and I am thrilled that my little boys have finally grown into it (their great-grandpa’s outfit, made by their great, great, great-grandmother).

By the way, here is my grandpa. Before he was my grandpa.


I am pretty sure I see at least a tiny resemblance to a couple of my kiddos in that cute little face. The orneriness, for instance.

Oh, and I just found my great, great grandpa wearing the originals:

1938. Wow!
1938. Wow!

So I wanted to come up with a neat, vintage mechanic theme. I decided to use the pink pedal car from the James Bond photo shoot, and I really wanted some kind of vintage gas pump, but couldn’t figure out where to find one to save my life. One day I was driving through my own neighborhood a different way- partly because life is full of adventures, but mostly because Germany is full of roadwork and detours- and saw one sitting in someone’s front yard, of all places. Also a huge, red phone booth. You can’t beat that kind of proximity.

I spent the next couple of weeks driving by to spy on my location and working up the courage to knock on the owners’ door to ask if I could set up toy cars, my English speaking kids, etc. in their front yard, because the paranoia of being yelled at in German if I went and set up without asking and then offended someone– and got hauled off to jail by the Polezei with their scary nightsticks– and then my children becoming little German orphans riding the orphan train… my husband would probably take my camera away if that happened.

Finally, last week I went, hoping nobody would be home and I could just set up, shoot the pictures, and get the heck out before jail time came on the scene. However, the car in front of me pulled straight into the driveway of that house.


Mustering my best German, I parked, got out of the car and said the equivalent of the following to the German woman in front of me:

“Hello, my name is Hannah. My German is not very good. I have children and a little car, and I want to make photos here.” I pointed to the pump.

“That is perfectly okay,” she answered in English.

Womp, womp.

(Did I ever tell you about the first time I ventured out to speak German? I went to a castle with my kids. When I got there, I bravely marched up to someone who looked like they belonged there and asked the location of the children’s garden. Her reply? “I don’t speak English or French.”)

I went sepia tones for the processing, first, because I rarely do; second, because I wanted to match the feel of the family pictures I’ve been looking at for inspiration.

Here’s the little mechanic:

Finding Storybookland

Finding Storybookland

Finding Storybookland

Finding Storybookland
These two look so much alike! Same facial expression and everything!

Finding Storybookland



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