I finally got around to scanning some additional photos, primarily to make digital files for prints. Before getting a computer I'd expected this (process) would be a simple thing. It isn't. It takes quite a bit of time just to scan pics. It can then take a LOT more time to clean up & edit such digital files... especially if you're anal or picky... and like many here: quite faded & partially out of focus. I purposely left (a bit of) those qualities on them to illustrate the challenge. It can take a LOT of mouse work, even if you use a tablet. Not for people with arthritis or bad necks... LOL. My mom, at the far right, is about 18 in this family portrait.
Graphics Note: Photos here will look best if your (tube, not LCD) display brightness is turned way up, then down... until the middle box just barely fades into total blackness: [ | | ]
There are precious few pics this old of my mom(L), uncles & aunt, which makes it quite special for me. I'm struck with the visage that both images (above) present. They remind me so much of the many images of similar kids in Europe during WW-2 -- the time period is almost the same. Anyone who's seen the History Channel, historical film, or books of war photos will see images of normal people caught in the maelstrom of that tragic violence -- fleeing refugees, starving families, and worse. It's the same people I see in this photo... at least it eerily echoes that for me everytime I see such historical film. Without sounding too sappily emotional, I thank God my grandparents had the foresight to see the approaching danger and come to America when they did. It couldn't have been easy to say goodby to one's family & friends and leave with no money for a country that speaks a foreign language. I'm sure many of their relatives who remained in Europe didn't survive to live & smile like my mom's family above.
I should add here that these digital copies vary widely in quality. The reason is a natural limitation of the web -- having LARGER images (on your screen) can look more impressive, but they hold server & formatting issues. And then there's the issue of the widely different monitors people use. But even such LARGER pics can't reproduce the detail or artistic/ graphic qualities of a print which are lost on a computer screen. Which is why we're stuck with these (SMALLER compressed) pics here. It's a matter of compromises & limitations... a lot like life.
Again, not many photos of mom this far back.
Two early pics of Dad around the time he was dating mom. In the grand scheme of things, this was a pretty favorable event for myself.
Not sure about the (L) shot, but the other (R) is from their Honeymoon in Canada.
Me on the left, waay young... but I liked the light, shadows and background (architectural geometrics... alas, poorly shown on this small compressed image), and how they contrast to the dress. On the right that's my sister Carol a few years later (w/ me in the background).
Looks like I wasn't missing any meals.
At Hampton Beach
Christmas, back when times were simpler and life was definitely good.
Me & sis (L) in a shot that was used for some Christmas cards. Check out the old TV set in the background. OK, this will about do it.... hope you weren't too bored.
A final personal note...
I recently was re-reading some memoirs by Louise Brooks. Brooks was a film "star" in the early days of cinema (both silent & talkies). "Star," because her last film was in 1938 and her later work was in the German Expressionist school. So even though she's developed a mythic reputation (today), she was only a minor 'celebrity' back then, at least by today's standards. But she was a ground-breaking actor, perhaps the first "natural" actor, and is often held in higher esteem than Gish or Deitrich. However, she had the additional (rarer) talent to also write really well.
Although she's different in many respects from my mom, she writes some things that are pretty universal, certainly if you're as lucky as both she and I were. Trying to avoid sentimentality (too much) here, her words allow me an easier path to express some emotions that deserve to be said, without getting too introspective or personal. So I'll defer to her here.
My own mom always hugged me a lot as a kid. It's something seemingly so basic, yet it's often absent -- sad because it's so very important for any youngster's ego & self-worth in this (often harsh) world. And just like Louise Brook's mom, mine also gave me both a love for music and for books.
Mom sang quite naturally and I'm sure that gift (love of music) was passed into my soul. Although she'd always longed to learn to play the piano as a kid, her family circumstances made that (lessons) quite impossible. But she joined the church choir when I was growing up, singing alto (harmony... 5'ths) which is quite difficult even for trained vocalists. She often sang such harmony along with tunes on the radio or TV at home... and all quite naturally. Mom also taught me to read from before I can remember (my first 2 years in school were largely a waste of time; this was before Kindergarten was mandatory by the government... no thank you). And all this from her, despite not speaking any English herself as a kid.
Anyway... as I grow older, I see certain truths and loves that Louise Brooks reflects upon from her life here. It echoes a lot of myself... and I find it comforting:
"Over the years, I brought upon myself both poverty and solitude, and came to the conclusion that my mother had fostered in me an idea of freedom that was totally utopian, and a guaranteed source of disillusionment. In 1971, at the age of 64, crippled by frequent attacks of arthritis of the hips, I found myself imprisoned in a minuscule apartment in Rochester, N.Y, a city alienated from all other cities, without friends to comfort me, and with no one to talk to about literature, music, theater, dance, movies, and the places and the people had known. Looking around me, I saw millions of old people living the same way, whimpering like a bunch of puppies that they were alone, and with no one to talk to. They were enslaved by their habits, reduced to bodies endowed with the power of speech. But, I was free! Although my mother left us in 1944, she never abandoned me. She brings me comfort every time I read a book. Each time I read, it's as if I were reading over her shoulder, and learning the words, just like when she read out loud from Alice in Wonderland." - Louise Brooks
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