Pearne House 1967   Pearne House 2005

This month's collection is of one subject, a man I knew as Uncle Elfie. He was a friend of my grandparents for several decades, and would stay at their house whenever he was in town. Uncle Elfie was an actor with a theatre group, a gentle man who loved cats and children and the roar of the greasepaint – and the stage, the kids, and felines adored him in return. He was never married, and he had quite the reputation as a ladies' man though in all of the giggling hushed gossip there was never a specific woman's name mentioned as to who he was wooing at the time. Closer to reality was what the older women and occasionally the men would tell each other at their fences in nervous whispers, that being a man of the stage his true interest was young men. My grandparents lived in what was at the time a small town, so everyone knew Uncle Elfie... yet no one really knew him, not even my grandparents. To my knowledge they never used his real name in my presence (I was a little kid when I was around him) and while they told me I was the one who gave him the nickname "Elfie" due to how he dressed for shows and how he carried himself, I have found out that most of the people in town called him Elfie twenty years before I was born... and the people I've asked about him don't recall his given name either, they thought of him as Elfie for as long as they can remember also.

The Pearne House — 101 Pearne Street, Toppenish WA
left: taken October 1967, found in my grandparents' desk drawer December 1991; both of my grandparents died in 1985.
right: taken September 2005 by me [ergo not found]; I had the honor of living here from September 1986 to June 1987.

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