I would for a moment bask in the joy that was. Every photograph captures the instant the shutter is depressed. Not depressed in the sense that a mechanical or digital connection to an aperture is, forlornly waiting tone used, and therefore depressed. Rather than the moment is wound around the instant that the photographer decides must be captured. I have in my life so far had many moments. Before me, my parents had many moments. In looking back at the many years we’ve been on this planet, the 154000 moments doesn’t seem as much. There are 3600 seconds that pass with each hour on the clock; from 2 pm to 3 pm on a Thursday or from 1 pm to 2 pm on a Tuesday its 3600 seconds.
There are 86400 seconds in a day. We can argue that number it is larger. A day isn’t truly 24 hours. It is fractionally longer. We, throughout our journey, add a day to the calendar every four years. That extra day balances the impurity of 24 hours in a day. Imagine today as you wander in and out of 86000 seconds that represents a day. We are prisoners only for the fleeting passage o time that is a second. Or perhaps we are prisoners of an hour. Or a day. The effect is the passage of time. The effect is perhaps boredom, sitting where we sit to wait. There are, in the time an adjusted year because the numbers are too small every day but in 365 days, we gain ¼ of one day.
31,557,600 seconds in a year. Based on that the 5000 pictures of snow I have, or the many more pictures of water I have, are a small set of moments. The rotational variance adjusted 31 million seconds that have passed since this time last year are represented by 12000 pictures. Give or take, certainly more pictures on vacation than when we are simply living life. Pictures of moments that now gone, evoke memories. But a small fraction of time is captured. Each picture representing something the photographer felt needed to be stored. In those moments I find the magic of wonder. Why this picture? I wish I felt that only when looking upon the picture of my father or my grandfather but those feelings come with pictures I’ve taken as well.
What was I thinking in an instant captured forever?
Our very first boat was on the Ohio River in Cincinnati Ohio. Being on a major US River was interesting. When we moved back to Indiana, we ended up having a smaller boat, that was designed for lake use. The lake we choose was lake Lemon. We spent a lot of time on the Lake over the years. The pictures today show the Twins were at the Helm of the boat. We always had an adult right there when they drove. Not that they would capsize the boat, but because that is the law. It is important when boating to following the established rules. When people break the rules, bad things happen. For example, many boating tragedies start with someone thinking that 2-3 beers in 20 seconds are a good way to start boating.
It isn’t when it is hot, and you drink alcohol quickly, it moves very quickly into your bloodstream. Add to that the reduced vision because of light on the water. Drinking and boating is a bad idea. But, when the kids were little, we only had water on the boat. It was as much to teach them proper boating but also to help them enjoy the overall experience. We went fishing, sunbathing and lakenics. A lake”nic” is where we pack a picnic and wander out onto the water. We did those often, dropping anchor and enjoying lunch. Lake Lemon was a split lake. By Split, I meant there were three distinct sections of the lake. The first part was the more quiet zone on one side of the lake.
The quiet zone was where you went fishing. It was where you went to have a LakeNIc. It was not where you went to drop a rope and an inner tube into the water. That was done in the middle section of the lake. The last section was around the Riddle Point Park, that was a sandy beach and swimming area. You were not allowed to be near that location at full speed. There was beyond the park a small island. People were not allowed on the island it was for birds. They had a protected space to nest! Finally, there were three marinas in the lake area. The North Shore marina where we went was mostly powerboats. The Lake Lemon sailing club was for sailboats. Finally, the Riddle Point launching ramp was where the fisherpeople put their boats into the water.
My mother emailed me today, and it was as always nice to be reminded of the memories I hadn’t yet shared. We had moved to a house in 1968. The house, when we returned from Thailand suddenly felt small. My sisters and I were physically taller. My mother had gone even further into sewing. Not as much as she would later, that was a future state, that the entire family celebrates. I don’t remember the last time I slept without one of my mother’s quilts other than at a hotel. We lived in a subdivision south of Bloomington Indiana called Sherwood Oaks. Yes, it was named for the famed Sherwood Forest, but specifically only the oak trees from that forest. The oak trees that had previously been there in the fields that become our subdivision had been cut down.
First by the farmer who farmed the fields cutting down the majority of the Oak Trees. The last few trees by the developer that built the roads that became our subdivision. We moved to a larger home in another part of Bloomington a little north of where we were. The new house was in a subdivision called Sycamore Knolls although in fairness it was fairly flat and like the Oak Trees the Sycamore trees were gone. The first thing my parents changed in the new house was a fenced back yard for our Newfoundland and planting fruit trees. But the reason for the story today wasn’t the first fence and the Last fence that we built. It wasn’t the changes that happened when we first moved in.
After a couple of years, but my father decided to add a darkroom to the house. Perhaps, had we considered the cost of the entire project it would have never happened. If you consider how much film, chemicals and photo paper cost didn’t save money. But it did let my father turn the film into pictures much faster than he had been able to in the past. Dad and I built the darkroom. There was a bathroom in the family or common area of the house (it was a ½ path). We cut a doorway into the wall between the half bath and the garage. We then laid out the new darkroom on the garage floor and drilled screws into the floor to hold the floor beams. We built stairs and put up drywall. It took us a while. (plus a couple of “I don’t want to” conversations) Suddenly the house had a darkroom. Dad taught all of us how to develop film, create pictures and bring moments to life. I still have a couple of the pictures dad created in his darkroom hanging in my house in Maryland!
I am continuing through my father’s eyes series with some pictures from California. First, if I may diverge from my message to a longer shared message, note the discoloration of the scanned pictures. Over time the composition of slides and pictures changes. The aging process is not kind to images. These images were all stored improperly and are more than 50 years old. The reality is that a huge percentage of the actual image is now gone forever. Not to mention the fact that the slides are more than 50 years old. My father went to California before I was born (I believe) to help his sister move back from California. It was a very difficult trip to my dad and his older sister for some reasons. My Uncle had killed himself. Dad helped his sister move back from California.
I don’t know a lot more about the story. It was a family tragedy that happened either before I was born, or when I was very little (less than a year). It is funny because your family has a history before your appearance. There are many things that happened before I was born that I have out about later in life. My mother always says “it’s your memory.” I suspect many of the stories that stuck with me later in life were told to me before then; they just weren’t sticky. Memories unlike children, have to be sticky. In fairness, children have to sticky as well, but for different reasons than memories. The memories of my aunt and cousins were of visiting my aunt at the end of her life, so my dad could say goodbye to his oldest sister.
We saw my Uncle years later when he and one of my cousins visited Bloomington. We saw my father’s younger sister often. She was a school teacher and a great influence in my life as was her husband my uncle. Memories that don’t directly involve you are hard to share. They aren’t by nature sticky unless there is a wonderful story that goes with them. My father told me of his sister teaching him photography. My aunt was an award-winning photographer. That moment was important to my father. I remember that one. That memory was sticky. The aspects of, the moments of and the memories around my father’s trip to California are lost to me. They should be there, just as the memories of my father’s father should be there. Perhaps they are, sticky, but hidden deep in the recesses of my mind.
using my fathers eyes to see
Through my father’s eyes is a new series of blog posts. It has taken me a few years to be able to look at my father’s pictures without getting sad. It takes time to reconcile the memories. These pictures are from the Autumn of 1964. I would have been a little kid, and my sister was also on the scene. We were living in Chicago (I believe we had moved to Vernon Hills by then, but I am not completely sure). The pictures are of fall scenery. Dad loved to take pictures of fall leaves. It was a passion of his; I know that because there are some Autumn folders in the slide trays. I suspect these pictures were of something important. Dad captured moments that meant something to him over the years. However, I don’t know what these were off regarding importance.
My grandfather, my father’s father also took scenery pictures. His however were mostly of the Wisconsin River around Wisconsin Dells Wisconsin. I can, for the most part, figure out where on the river the picture was taken. From floods to snow Grandpa took pictures of the river. I suspect based on the dates; he has a pictorial study of the Wisconsin River from 1958 until they moved to Racine in the mid/late 1960s. It is funny sometimes when I consider the problem I have here. I know my father, he and I didn’t agree, but I knew him, I knew he was proud of me and often I knew what he felt about politics, ecology, teaching science and what was important to him intellectually.
I don’t however, understand some of the pictures dads took. Some are clear to me, loving pictures of his children and my mother. Loving pictures of signs in parks and along the road. Those I understand. But the ones that are hard for me are the ones I wasn’t around. Or, that I was too young to understand why the picture was important to dad. Through his eyes I see the world that he loved — my grandfather’s pictures, on the other hand, I have the reverse problem. I know the Wisconsin River was important to him. His loving study of that body of water speaks to me. The pictures of my grandfather’s that I don’t understand are the ones with people in them. Why were the people important, why then. Funny how when you look at what others find critical, you end up wondering if you understood in the first place.
through my father’s eyes
The pictures are from the backyard of our house in Indiana circa April 2004. There are several pictures in this grouping that I am proud of. One of one of the twins kneeling over the pond with a stick is a photo I entered in a contest once. The Judge gave it a 3rd place, because of the defect in the picture. If you look in the upper right side of the picture, there is a reflection of the sun on the water, that appears to be a defect. It isn’t but, it remains my favorite picture of one of the twins when they were 5 or 6. They were digging around the pond for algae, not sure why just that was what they were doing. There are also a few of the spring flowers from that year as the world came back to life.
By the time the twins were 5, six years old we had adjusted to life with them. It took a couple of years; the first year was a blur the next couple of years blended into each other as well. We move twice before the twins were two years old. The first from our smaller (and much older house) to the new house we built. A short trip up the road. The new house was less than 5 miles from the old house. And, best of all within walking distance of a Hollywood Video and the 20-mile house. The 20-mile house was a bar and sat exactly 20 miles from the river (the Ohio River) in Cincinnati Ohio. There were houses like that one throughout the state of Ohio, coming from the days of using horses to move people, mail and other things around the area.
We went to that Hollywood video store every single weekend. Normally early on Saturday. Then, my wife and daughter would head off to Kroger to shop. In Western Hills, the Kroger we shopped at was further away than it was in Mt. Airy. Funny how that worked out. When we first moved to Cincinnati, my wife used to shop at a place called Biggs. She loved that store; it was more than just groceries. We then transitioned to shopping at Kroger (where we had also shopped in Bloomington IN). We then picked up and moved to Greenwood Indiana. My wife started shopping at a Midwest store called Meijer’s. We shopped most weeks at Meijer’s. The life of parenting multiples settled down; we started to understand the rules.
Funny how looking back at these pictures I remember the times we had, that is why you capture the pictures.
Wandering to the boat is what we do on Sunday’s (Saturdays or the occasional Holiday Monday). From the end of March to the end of October we are out on the water. We don’t hunker indoors the rest of the year; we just take the boat out of the water during the winter. Boats, in the water, have to be handled differently than boats on land. A boat on land would only be impacted by high wind. If the snow falls on the boat and the ground freezes below the boat, oh well. If you are in the water and the water freezes, you run the risk of cracking the hull of the boat. The other thing that happens is the boat gets power watches. That cleans off everything that grew on the boat over the last two months (since it was last power washed).
The other fun project that happens this time of year is the wood delivery. We have a wonderful woodstove in our house. My dad had one at the farm, and I remember teasing him about that at the time. Now I understand the value of a woodstove! I guess once again dad was right; I just didn’t know it at the time. They deliver a cord of wood to the front of the house (dumping it on the driveway). From there we move it to the back of the house on the patio by the shed. That project involves the wheelbarrow and a little over (according to the Twins) 1,000,000,000,000 trips up and down the side hill of our yard. The cruelty of parents outweighing the value of warmth in the winter. I guess in fairness I didn’t like moving wood when I was younger, either.
It isn’t that the twins don’t see the value, they don’t like moving wood. Once the wood is moved to the patio, the vast majority of the overall moving of wood back into the house is done by twins. The warmth of a fire, offset by carrying wood. Although, I think if their dog (Raven) who loves the fire asked them they might do it for her. Probably not, when I think about it, but one can hope! Raven, Dylan, Serenity, and Tamsyn all have to wrestle my wife for spots close to the fire. Those are the five fire creatures that live in the house. The dogs love the fire because it warms them after a long cold winter walk. My wife is always cold. When the temperature dips below 70 she is cold.
The season of change and the change of seasons!