Monday, August 23, 2010

The Brownie Hawkeye and a Little Mystery

A few weeks ago I started reminiscing about the first camera I ever took a picture with. I remember being very young, maybe 5 or 6, and my mother handing me a box-like contraption, telling me to hold it at waist level while looking through the viewfinder. She told me to be as still as possible, make sure the family was centered, then press down on the shutter button. I was instantly smitten, and so proud that she had given me an adult job to do.

Thanks to Google, I was able to figure out that it was the Kodak Brownie Hawkeye. I found one on e-bay WITH UNDEVELOPED FILM STILL INSIDE! I placed my bid and waited. I almost forgot about it, then received an email a couple days later stating that I had won the bid! How much, you ask? $4.99! Here are the photos I took of the camera itself and the film:

Last week I finally found a lab that still produces 620 film. I had no expectations that there would be anything on there and if so, the film was probably severely degraded from age, handling, etc., rendering any photos completely worthless. Still, I hoped. I imagined all kinds of scenarios such as children playing on snow covered streets, old homes, a farm, farm animals, a child on his/her first day of school, baby photos, cars. Or, *gasp*, maybe these photos held the key to an unsolved murder!

Well, it didn't quite turn out to be what I was hoping for, but at least there was something! Five photos to be exact. Looks like a grandfather and grandson at Christmas, maybe? Although nothing spectacular, I'm now left with questions. Why was the film left in the camera never to be developed? Who are these people? Where are they from? What year is this? Are they still alive?

At least the photos have now seen the light of day. They have been released from camera prison after 30+ years. I'm guessing this was taken in the early 70s because the Kodacolor II, 620 film was created in 1973. That's probably as close as I'll ever get to knowing anything about them...

UPDATE: I had emailed the e-bayer I purchased this from, asking where he obtained the camera. He told me it was purchased at an estate sale somewhere in Ohio. Exact location unknown. Another piece to the puzzle!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

City of Flames

My patio thermometer
The Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex is now in its 19th day of triple-digit temperatures. Since July 31 we have hit 100+ degrees every single day, with hardly a drop of rain. Every summer I grumpily complain to anyone who will listen:

"We have to move!"

"I can't take another summer here!"

"This is my last summer in this godforsaken place! I mean it this time!" (Stated for the last 26 summers.)

"I don't know how much longer I can take this!"

Whenever it's this hot I start thinking a lot about hell, and how I hope and pray that I don't end up there. Texas is as close to Hell as I care to experience. Sometimes I wonder why God didn't threaten humanity with freezing temperatures or an eternity of snow. For whatever reason, He chose heat, and for me, it is a threat that works. Unless Hades has air conditioning, which I highly doubt, that is going to be one miserable existence. I want no part of that. Spending eternity in a reasonably cool environment is all I ask. Please and Amen.

Here are some of my favorite "It's hot/hotter than" quotes:

It's hotter than the hinges on the gates of Hades.

It's hotter than Paris Hilton's underwear.

It's hot enough to cure tobacco.

It's hotter than seven hells.

It's hotter than a whore in church without her panties on.

It's hotter than a $2 pistol.

Do you have any favorite heat-related sayings or jokes to help me through this miserable time?

Monday, August 16, 2010

At the Proverbial Crossroads

My life has been in turmoil and limbo lately; more-so after the visit with my mother around July 4th weekend. I've been wanting to blog about it but could not seem to press the "New Post" button to start the first word. Today I decided to start typing and see what comes out. So here I go (deep breath)...

It's painful to go home and watch my once vibrant mother struggle to complete the simplest tasks we all take for granted. Rarely do I hear her complain, and even when she does she'll say, "This is really the pits, you know?", as she struggles to sit in her favorite chair.

Parkinson's is an insidious thief that robs you of your life one tiny segment at a time. One day you think you're fine, perfectly capable and in charge, wondering what all the fuss is about. A few months, years down the road and you're now shuffling your feet, no longer able to make them go briskly across the room. She's had this for over 20 years after all, so it's taken that long to get to this point. Twenty years of various levels of struggling, not knowing exactly what day you will wake up and no longer be able to function.

Her goal these last couple of years is to have everything in place for when she can no longer do anything for herself. She's made me financial and medical Power of Attorney, she's put me on her bank checks, taken me to see her financial broker. Last week she decided to make a will. She said that even though I'm an only child, she wants there to be no question.

The other big, looming issue was my sister's remains. She had talked of moving my sister into the mausoleum where she plans to be interred. The thought of digging my sister up caused me extreme distress. I really could not discuss this with her without crying. She let the matter drop, then a few visits ago she calmly stated, "I've decided that Dee shouldn't be disturbed. If no one paints or cleans her grave or puts flowers on it, so be it."

"Oh, mama, I'll do it! Or I'll find someone who can! Don't worry!"

But something told me she is not really worried because she knows Dee is not in that grave anyway, that she will be joining her soon. Maybe she's looking forward to it. Is that possible?

The type of planning my mother is into these days is extremely difficult for me to listen to, but strangely she doesn't seem to get overly emotional. My mother is a planner and this is definitely in line with her personality; wanting to make sure that after she's gone all is in its proper place.

Sometimes I think it would be better for a loved one to just drop dead suddenly of a heart attack than to deal with slow death for 20+ years. But maybe I should look at this as a gift, a way to strengthen the bond with my mother which has had a sometimes rocky history.

My dilemma is...should I move there and take care of her in her last days? Should I sell my house here in Texas, leave my children and go? Do I leave my job of 22 years and start over? Double D has said he wants to move there, but I worry about the economy in Louisiana and how his business will fare there. I keep hoping that God will show me, that He will give me a sign or something. What should I do?!