A Father’s Day Tribute…
ROCHESTER, September 26 — Eastman Kodak Company today announced its intent to stop making and selling slide projectors by June 2004.
“The Kodak slide projector has been a hallmark for quality and ubiquity, used for decades to produce the best in audio visual shows throughout the world,” the company said. “However, in recent years, slide projectors have declined in usage, replaced by alternative projection technologies.”
One of my happiest and most comforting memories of childhood was our family slide shows. These coveted movie nights which generally took place once a year, consisted of nothing more than three simple ingredients: a blank wall in our living room, a Kodak carousel slide projector with my father at the mast and myself and three sisters, huddled on the sofa, pressed together in anticipation like peas in a pod. My mother, who had seen the slide shows too many times to mention, usually busied herself with other things, occasionally stopping in to comment on a particularly beloved picture. Prior to turning off the lights, my father would announce in a deep theatrical voice “Who wants a magic drink?”
They were always different in taste and made from whatever struck his fancy that night; orange juice with a splash of pineapple juice and Grenadine or perhaps apple juice and ginger ale with a jigger of seltzer. The ingredients were unimportant. It was the anticipation of what was to be and the lovely ritual of our movie night routine that we cherished. Those magic drinks were just part of the show.
There was always one slide, without fail, that was turned upside down. This would halt the show momentarily, as my father with a slightly frustrated “tsk” would right the renegade slide. And we were ready to go once again.
I loved that Kodak carousel projector and the faded yellow boxes of slides stacked beside it. They were never labeled so each reel was a surprise in itself. Who might appear on the screen that night was anyone’s guess — my six or sixteen year old self? Our first family pet Bubbles the beagle, or our gentle giant of a Great Dane we called Jenny? My mother posing on the beach in her youth, or proudly cradling her first grandchild? The lack of chronology only added to the experience.
Some days, in the quiet of my mind, I can still hear the slow deliberate click of the projector, advancing slowly, telling without words the story of our life. Slide to slide, toddler to teenager, mother to grandmother, youth to twilight. An entire lifetime displayed on the wall of the darkened living room.
When my parents died, I cared about no other of their possessions albeit that time warped machine that could somehow transform me back to family vacations, birthday parties and people and places no more. With my sister’s blessings, I brought it to my own home with the promise to bring it to family gatherings, a carousal reunion of sort. Though it is yet to be. It sits up on a shelf in an unused room. I have taken it down one or two times in a half -hearted attempt to have my own family slide show but then, as it spits and jams due to age, return it in frustration to the loneliness of the upstairs closet. I have made myself a promise. I will find a way to restore that Kodak Carousel to the beauty of its youth. And I will mix once again, those magic drinks..
“The first lights of the evening were springing into pale existence. The Ferris wheel, pricked out now in lights, revolved leisurely through the dusk; a few empty cars of the roller coaster rattled overhead.” F. Scott Fitgerald
A tribute to my friend Joe whose memory I keep always. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all.
I am not superstitious by nature, but this lovely, simple symbol of my Irish heritage is never far from my side. In fact, I keep it tucked in a small zippered compartment of my purse. Made from Connemara marble, the Irish Worry Stone so smooth and cool to the touch, is reputed to keep worries at bay and bring a sense of comfort to those who hold it. My mother loved these worry stones and often brought them back to friends as souvenirs when she visited her homeland of Ireland. My close friend Joe, who was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at 32 years of age was the recipient of one of my mother’s worry stones. When he died, I visited his apartment where his mother was staying temporarily. As we comforted each other with memories of her youngest son, she asked if she could show me something. Entering his bedroom she gestured toward his night table. On the corner closest to his bed, lay the worry stone. I like to think that it brought him comfort.
“I walked beside the evening sea and dreamed a dream that could not be; the waves that plunged along the shore said only: “Dreamer, dream no more!”
George William Curtis
Well, not quite the sea but an image of the Long Island sound at dusk had to do for this week’s challenge. There is something about the shoreline that has always instilled in me, a certain tranquility. This recent photo reflected that sort of ambience I always feel when near a body of water.
I spotted this abandoned boat yesterday morning, moored on a small creek in Westport, CT. A name displayed on the bow was carefully written in simple block letters…GLORIA. Captivating in its stillness with not a soul in sight, it instilled a feeling of both peace and melancholy. Returning home I researched to discover the boat was owned by a gentleman who lived his entire life in Westport and worked as an oyster fisherman aboard the vessel. The boat was both his work and home, when weather permitted. “Gloria” was the name of an old girlfriend who clearly left a mark on his heart. He passed away recently yet the barge remains, a testament to earlier days and a time long gone. This past Christmas, an unknown angel strung festive lights on the boat in memory of the late fisherman. It must have been a beautiful sight. I wonder if Gloria ever knew she was his muse?
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin
A pair of iguanas atop a third mate, mugging for my camera at the pet store.
“Winter is here, best time of year, come on along sing a skating song…”
One of my fondest childhood memories was ice-skating on a small rink my best friend’s dad built for us in her backyard. Round and round we would soar feeling the chill of the air on our cheeks. Not an iPhone or computer in sight. This year, to kick off the holiday season, I took my two sons to an ice rink near to us which overlooks the Long Island sound. They enjoyed two hours of skating until they could stand no more. Finally in physical defeat rather than want, they staggered off the ice with tired smiles and wobbly legs proclaiming “That was SO much fun…”