Saturday, January 12, 2019

Guaymas Airport, Mexico - 1948

It's time for some more photos from my grandfather's stash. It's like I've invited you over to watch a slide show in our basement, while I drone on in a monotone voice for 2 solid hours.

In 1948 my grandma, grandpa, and mother (age 12) accompanied some friends to Guaymas, Mexico -  242 miles south of the U.S. border, in the State of Sonora, and on the coast of the Gulf of California. My grandpa did a lot of ocean fishing in those days.

First up is this great photo of the American Airlines terminal at Guaymas airport. Look at that beautiful sky! And the great old cars. 

Oooh, shiny airplane! I dunno, is it a DC-3? 

My grandpa mostly took blurry photos, and this one falls into that category. There's my mom, squinting in the bright Sonora sunshine. Love that great "woody" station wagon in the background.

Goodbye, airplane. Goodnight, moon. Goodnight, mush.

Here's where my family stayed, though my mom doesn't remember what it was called. Looks nice though!

And finally, there's my mom and my grandparents. It's kind of fun to see grandma and grandpa so young. Judging from the grin on grandma's face, she put that orange (grapefruit? pomelo?) on my mom's head, because why wouldn't she?

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Guaymas!


Nanook said...


Things certainly looked lovely back then. I'm gonna assume these images are from some time late in 1948, as we can see a 1949 Ford in the first image (the dark green one in the center).

Thanks, Major, for sharing these family images.

K. Martinez said...

Great stuff here! I love the runway with the mountain backdrop and beautiful cloudy sky (Pic#4), but I think my favorites are the pics showing the different gardens and landscape. The last pic is the best though with your grandparents and mom. Such a great shot of the three of them next to a beautiful garden of flowers.

Thanks for sharing these personal photos of your family. I didn't notice any droning or monotone voice, so keep posting pics like these cuz I think they're great! Thanks, Major.

Anonymous said...

I think the plane in the second photo is a DC-3, and in the fourth photo a Convair 240. I think...

Irene said...

My husband also says DC-3 for the second photo and Convair 240 for the fourth. Great photos. They're as old as I am :)

Chuck said...

The first plane is definitely a DC-3 (or, more likely, a surplus C-47 or C-53 converted to the DC-3 standard postwar), but the one in the last image is a DC-6. The window pattern, rudder contours, and nosewheel door are the key identifying features.

My mother and her parents drove down to Mexico from Ohio in the late '40s to see Parícutin erupting. In those days, Ohio license plates were numbered based on registration location (although the plate followed the owner from car to car rather than the plate following the car from owner to owner as in California). Their car had the plate number "US 454," with the "US" prefix meaning that my grandfather had registered a previous vehicle in Findlay and kept the plate number on successive vehicles after they had moved.

Everywhere they went in Mexico, they were treated very deferentially. I think most Americans were treated fairly well in Mexico in those days anyway, particularly if they were as polite as my grandparents, but they noticed they were being treated even better than the other Americans that they ran into.

Finally, it dawned on them that people were reacting to the license plate, assuming that they were representatives of the US government.

Great photos, Major, and it's a treat to see your own family memories here. Thank you so much for sharing.

Chuck said...

I wish Patrick Devlin could have seen these. He always enjoyed and commented on vintage airplane photos.

JC Shannon said...

Wow, classic cars AND aircraft, I am in pig heaven! Chuck is correct, the second aircraft is indeed a DC-6, a sweet fourbanger from the golden age of piston driven airliners. Next would come the propjets and finally pure jets.
These are great scans, such beautiful landscapes and flowers. The pic with the woody and the DC-9, one of the most used, and safest airliners ever built, is almost too much to take in. I will be drooling over these scans all day. Thanks for sharing the family photos Major!

JC Shannon said...

Sorry, I meant DC-3 and the woody. I really need and editor!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, the slides are hand-labeled (with green fountain pen ink!) “1948”, so I can only assume that is correct, but… I would assume that the trip to Mexico was done while my mom was out of school for the summer. Who knows, maybe it was really 1948.

K. Martinez, Guaymas looks like it was a beautiful place… I’d imagine it is considerably more developed these days. The landscape is very volcanic and harsh in a pretty way. I think I have some other old family pix that might be worth sharing here.

Anon, thanks!

Irene, seconded! I love those shiny DC-3s.

Chuck, I sure have no clue about airplanes in general. I love your story about your mother and grandparents going to Mexico to view that volcano. My mom said that the trip to Guaymas was wonderful, and everybody was so lovely. During my own international travels (such as they have been), people have generally been very nice, especially when they hear that I am from California. They all assume that I surf to work every day, ha ha. I’m glad you enjoyed these!

Chuck, YES, I wish Patrick was here too, along with some of our other old friends (CoxPilot, Thufer, and Viewliner to name but a few).

Jonathan, ha ha, it’s always nice to know that a post was worth the effort! Talking to my mom about her trip is frustrating because she has forgotten so much, and I want to know what it was like to fly on a DC-3, or what the landscape looked like out the window, what they ate, and about 1000 other things. Ah, well. I wish I had lots more vintage airplane photos ( I do have *some* ) for you flight buffs.

Nanook said...


My [mom's] parents, and her brother along with his second wife for that matter, lived in Mexico City, beginning in the late 1950's. I first visited there in December, 1962. We saw the Teotihuacán Pyramids, Floating Gardens of Xochimilco, Tlatelolco and Guadalupe Shrine, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, among other highlights. We also visited Cuernavaca, Taxco and Acapulco. Needless to say, having family living there afforded us many entrees into many non-touristy areas - although we did attend a bull fight-! (That's pretty touristy). Everyone was more-than friendly - especially to a 12 year old.

Chuck said...

Wait - you don't surf to work every day?

It's funny how movies and TV shape stereotypes. I lived in Oklahoma for most of high school, and I had a friend who went back to New Hampshire to visit grandparents the summer before our senior year. His cousins' friends were surprised to learn he didn't ride a horse to school.

Another high school friend and I ended up as freshmen together at the Air Force Academy. I remember one Friday night we were sitting in Arnie's, a sort of pizza pub that was the only place besides the library that freshmen could go on a weekend, when another guy we were sitting with learned we lived in Oklahoma. He asked us if there were still Indian reservations in the state.

We told him that, yes, there still were.

He then asked if we ever had any problems with Indians getting off the reservation.

We looked at each other, a twinkle in our eyes, and told him that, well, yes, they sometimes did.


"Oh, yeah, sure. What was it...I guess about two weeks before we reported for Beast [Basic Cadet Training], there was a station wagon that was attacked and burned between Lawton and Altus."

I figured that the phrase "station wagon" - sounding so close to "covered wagon" - would clue the guy in as to why he was feeling that tugging on his leg, but he was oblivious.

"Oh, man. Does this happen often?"

"Not too often, but there's always a threat. Why do you think we have Fort Sill and Altus Air Force Base out there?"

"Oh, wow!"

We never did get around to telling him we were just kidding before we both flunked out at the end of the fall semester. I guess there is justice in this world.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, gosh, how did your relatives wind up living in Mexico City, of all places? I’d love to go, but I have several friends (and even my mom and dad) who have had some very bad encounters - with cops! - in Mexico. They said, “With cops like that, who needs criminals?”. Maybe it’s ignorant on my part, but I’d rather go someplace where that is less likely to happen.

Chuck, I prefer to ride my skateboard to work, with my baseball hat on backwards (because I am a rebel). Gosh, how could anybody assume that someone from Oklahoma automatically rode a horse? I presume that the guy who believed that Indians were attacking station wagons had had one too many? But people believe all kinds of nutty things. On a related note, I have an old school geography book from the 1870’s (I think) that I bought in a junk shop in Pennsylvania. Among the interesting things on the US map is that there was no North or South Dakota… it was just one huge state called “Dakota”. And Oklahoma is still called “Indian Territory”, which is pretty cool.

Nanook said...


My grandfather was a sales guy at heart, and during the 20's and 30's flew-around South America selling PAL razorblades, and other cutlery. When he was living in LA, he had a small cutlery shop on La Brea Ave, I think just south of Beverly Blvd, that wholesaled-? cutlery. I think he had travelled extensively to Latin America and saw the business opportunities there. My grandparents probably lived there for about 12 years, before returning to 'The States' - LA, specifically.

The 'six degrees of separation story" (I know you didn't ask) comes into play at the first business he ran in Mexico City - a candy company selling chocolates, similar to M&M's. I was attending a birthday party of a friend back in the early 1990's, which he was hosting at his father's house, across the street from his. I knew this fella for several years (Disney connection, don't-cha know...) and somehow on this day the conversation led to his dad. Turns out his father sold that candy business in Mexico to my grandfather back in the late 1950's-! Crazy. My grandfather also sold that business, to start another chocolate candy business, also in Mexico City.


As a kid - and even today I LOVE slide shows!! Even slides shows of other people’s vacations.

Sadly I agree with your fears of Mexico today - growing up in San Diego - trips to Mexico were once a fun quick getaway- but over time I have NOT 2 or 3 bad stories regarding corrupt Mexico cops or other groups but 2-3 DOZENS stories from friends , family and neighbors — some pretty frightening. Enough to make Mexico VERBOTEN!!

I’ve travelled all over the United States , Japan , Hong Kong, Main land China , and many European countries and in all these trips either work or pleasure I’ve always felt safe .... only Mexico have I had some experiences of my own where I truly felt I was in danger- and topped with the dozens of perilous situations from others I will never travel to Mexico again ( except at Epcot Center)Sad as Mexico was once a beautiful and generally safe place to visit.

Melissa said...

Wait, you're telling me you didn'tride a horse to school in Oklahoma? Next you'll be telling me there's no bright golden haze on the meadow!

Those landscapes are so beautiful they barely look real!

Chuck said...

Melissa, no, I did not ride a horse to school in Oklahoma. It was a shiny little surrey with a fringe on the top.

Tom said...

Great photos! Thank you for sharing - its the personal albums I think I love the most; every family has a story to tell, different experiences and unique perspectives.

Anonymous said...

Major, and everyone, thank you very much for this thread. What Tom Said, really. I love reading these stories and hearing all the memories.

My grandfather also traveled to Mexico in this time frame, although I didn't ever hear much about it from him.

I went a couple of times with my parents on cruises, you don't really get the in-depth visit that you would traveling by car.

But not too long back, a good friend was robbed and murdered, right in a tourist area, and so Mexico is off the list for me.