FIRMLY FOUNDED June/July 2010

THE BROWNIE BOX CAMERA

As I grew up I came to realize that my Mom was a camera freak. There wasn’t a day that

went by that she didn’t have to take a picture of something or somebody, just because it

looked like a special event to her. Forty, fifty, and sixty years later, I still have to admit

thast she was exactly right, as usual. On the other hand, it just got too expensive for us,

twenty years ago, before digital stuff, to take a living history about each and every thing

that happened, even though Mom did it all of her adult life. For my eighth birthday,

Mom and Dad gave me a real, live Brownie Holiday camera ALL MY OWN. Before

that, I had to settle for using Mom’s old Brownie Box camera, that was probably around

when Columbus discovered America. Well, that new-fangled Brownie even had a flash

attachment, to allow me to take pictures at night and in the house, our Church, at school,

or wherever……..and I did, much to the distress of my family, friends, and those who

walked through our lives. After going through a few dozen rolls, I got so I was fairly

good at using that little jewel. One of my favorite shows on television. at that time was

called “Candid Camera.” Now my sisters didn’t call me “Sneaky Pete” fer nothing.

. Whenever my one sister would have a boyfriend over for dinner, or for the evening to

watch our new-fangled Stromberg Carlson T.V., I was in my glory. I was ordered to stay

out of the living room so they could watch television and talk in peace. Now, I didn’t

find that a viable alternative and did whatever I could to make certain that they didn’t

enjoy watching t.v. any more than I enjoyed not being allowed to watch it either. I’d grab

my camera and carefully slither into the parlor (next to the living room) on my belly, just

like John Wayne in those war movies, or like Cochise (my personal hero) would sneak up

on a buffalo. I’d poke my head around the corner to see if they had heard me coming up

on their blind side. If I was real lucky they would be engrossed in the show, or

smooching, or some such thing and I’d gain another trophy picture to add to my scalp

belt. My sister would let out a war whoop and go hollering to Mom that I’d done gone

and done it again. Well, as is still the case today, I loved eating in those days, and Mom

fixed a great dessert, no matter what she tried to make. There were many nights that I’d

not be allowed dessert, because of my expertise in photography. Sis always did wonder

why I didn’t go into the movies and become a cinematographer. I guess I didn’t because

I was always afraid I’d never get another fresh apple, peach, or pumpkin pie again.

Looking back, I must admit, sheepishly, in retrospect, that I did give her and her

boyfriends an awful hard way to go. The neat thing about that little Brownie camera is

that I have a very clear record of what life in small-town USA was like in the 1940’s and

1950’s…………..and it was a very good year, every year. I learned a lot about life,

animals, people, and myself while using that little Brownie Box Camera. These are

memories that I’ll not lose over time, but that I tell my children and grandchildren

about…and will continue to tell the tales of “back then, in the good old days” until the

day that either the memory or body is no longer capable of telling the tale. That little

village has pictures from 23 albums that Mom filled, plus many other pictures, that tell

the living history of that time, and the people who participated in that space and time.

It’s something all of you might want to think about looking into within your own family.

There is a logical reason for Who-What-Why-When-Where and How. It’s about you.

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