The conceptual idea for this post was inspired attending a cousins reunion at my cousin Barbara's weekend shore home in Long Beach Island, N.J. on June 29th. A party with first, second and third cousins on my Dad's side, some I hadn't seen for nearly 30 years. I was amazed how quickly memories came back and the span of years instantly bridged.
John and I started collecting vintage cameras back in the 80's. I believe the simple activity and enjoyment taking photographs capture moments to become our lasting memories we all eventually share.
We don't remember days, we remember moments.
All but 3 of our 28 vintage camera's are displayed along side personal treasures in our bedroom on a leaning Black vintage (from the early 80's) Terence Conran designed shelf. Purchased new at Conran's. The British store that once sold in the U.S. 3 folding cameras are hung on our hall stairwell wall. I showed a photo of them on an earlier post, now I will show you close ups of them.
Love this Kodak, next to it hangs an actual photo taken of the Eiffel Tower back in the 50's. Someone's lasting memory we like and display.
A wonderful vintage green Koda 37610 by Eastman Kodak Co. hangs in the middle,
An Agfa folding camera. Now back to the leaning shelf in our bedroom for the other 25 camera's.
The top shelf has one of my favorites displayed. The Ciro Flex. It is a twin reflex camera made in Ohio during the late 1940's manufactured until the early 1950's. When John and I first started collecting camera's in the early 80's I would construct a scenario around each one. OK, over active imagination, trust me, I know, I agree. Often surprisingly film was left in the camera and we would develop it and see what pictures were taken by the original owner. But if not, I would just make up my own story about the owners, taking honeymoon and vacation pictures, babies first steps, Christmas Day ...
We'd seek sometimes hard to find film to purchase and experiment with the cameras. WELL, that fizzled out when we dropped off our film at a local 1 hour processing lab and somehow they switched customer photos. We received photographs back that we wish we could forget ... Nasty images burned right into our Retina's! Don't ask, it was ugly! Fused into our minds eye. We never did receive our photos. That old clique of "Haste makes waste" is true.
The folding camera on the left is a Leiss Ikon, another wonderful camera worth noting.
Every man's memory is his private literature.
My favorite is the Diana -F, an authentic camera (love the blue) from the 60's into 70's made in Hong Kong. This camera has become quite a cult collectible item. In the 1990's Lomography in Austria bought the rights to Diana -F camera's. Now there is even an app to take photos in the Lomography style, available for the iPhone.
Close up of the Diana -F, of all our cameras she is my favorite.
Argus - Seventy Five is a little Bakelite beauty produced from 1949 - 1964, it takes 620 film.
2nd shelf down I want to point out the needle felted mouse in a Mickey Mouse costume.
I asked Penny White from Angelsdoor blog to create him recently in memory of my brother Michael. Mike was a Doctor with many interesting hobbies, one of his favorites besides Ham Radio was photography. He traveled to many remote areas, the Galápagos Islands, Bird-Watching in Peru. But of all the vacations he went on he was happiest at DisneyWorld in Orlando Florida. As a kid I would call him Mickey Mouse. Singing M-I-C (see you soon) K-E-Y (why because I love you) M-O-U-S-E.
Three cameras displayed were gifts from my brother to help build our collection. All Brownie box.
Moviematic motion picture camera, ours is circa 1937 made in New York City. It produces 16 mm movies, snapshots and filmbook exposures and is wound with a key. Another camera I treasure. I can certainly make up lots of scenarios with this camera.
How sweet is my Mickey Mouse, Penny has magical fingers felting wool into cherished creations.
A close up of the Moviematic, ours is in excellent condition. Found at a flea market on a Sunday afternoon by John.
Moving down to the third shelf ...
The photos are John's graduation and baby pictures.
I love Tin Tin and snowy, Plush gifts from John.
Yesterday is but today's memory and tomorrow is today's dream.
5th shelf, we have 4 matching vintage suit-cases, we've displayed 2 on the shelf. I use them to store stuff in, stuff I just can't part with. Remember the George Carlin comedy routine about stuff? That was my all time favorite of his.
In February my cousin Barbara and I were talking about Childhood memories when my Dad and his two brothers (Uncle Stanley and Bruno) on Sunday's would drive to Kingswood, NJ to help out at our grandparents commercial chicken farm.
Sure we had chores to do, but we had fun. Grand mom along with our Mothers helping would cook a huge dinner, of course there was Chicken served. My memories of my Grandfather are faint, I remember he walked with a cane. He always made me smile and giggle, he said he liked seeing my dimples. It would take nearly a decade to understand what he meant and said when I smiled ... "A smile isn't a smile unless it is felt". He would take my brother Mike, I and cousins over to the closet in the hall off the kitchen. A floral barkcloth curtain hung from a rod and inside my Grandfather would show us the Franks Wishniak black cherry soda bought for us kids. I remember lots of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer also in the closet! I thought the presentation of the soda and beer every Sunday was theatrical excitement. On the farms property close to the house grew a mature black cherry tree. Confession, I have an obsession with cherries. In the heat of August Grandpa would lift me up in the tree. There I'd eat to my hearts content. There were Raspberry bushes growing in the back of the farmhouse. I remember being handed a bowl to pick raspberries for dessert after dinner, but honestly I ate more than I put into the bowl. Another of my favorite fruits.
Our Dad's Father died when I was 5. Back in the winter at a party Barbara was talking with cousin Stanley about our Grandparents. Stanley is a few months younger than I. Stanley's memory of Grand Dad was of a green telephone chair in the farmhouse...
This chair!!! Barbara told Stanley she still had the chair in the basement of her parents house which has remained untouched for over a decade. The chair had moved to her parents when the Chicken farm was sold. Barbara asked me if I remembered the chair, I said ugly green vinyl? She said "Yup that's the one!" It sat near the stairs in her parents basement and we danced around it playing Beatles music on her 45 record player. My favorite Beatle was John.
Well the ugly chair after a hosing off of dirt was brought to the cousins reunion! The day was also a celebration of her weekend shore home's rebuilding, you see when hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast it caused major damage in Long Beach island. Many dumpsters still, much construction, some for sale signs dot the islands landscape. She placed ugly green in front of the garage. Such contrast to her beautifully designed and furnished shore home.
I asked Barbara why she had brought it to the shore, she replied "I'm giving it to Stanley, as his memory of our Grandfather, it should stay in the family". To which I replied laughing - Oh really, you think Stanley and Joey are going to take that into their style chic home? Sure ... Says Barbara it's his only memory of Grandpa.
When Stanley and Joey arrived I couldn't wait to tell them Barbara packed up the telephone chair, to which they replied with an "OMG - we saw it, can't miss that thing" as Stanley chuckled in disbelief, Joey, Stanley's spouse looked a tad bit in shock!
As the sun was to set within an hour, it was the perfect chance for a photo opportunity. I snapped away as Stanley had fun posing, as you can see. To tell you Stanley is the life of a party is an understatement, his wit and humor are a rare gift.
Too funny! Joey says to me, Vera you don't think he's thinking about bringing T-H-A-T thing home do you? As Stanley picks up the chair and loads it into the back seat of their car, Joey grabbed my arm, his eyes wide and Bambi like riddled with fear that made me almost pee my pants in laughter. I spoke with Stanley on Monday of this week and asked him if the ugly green made it home. Yes he said, but I put it into the garage - I'll bring it out on Halloween as a prop was his answer. As Stanley and Joey drove away with ugly green I said to my brother Kevin, we'll see that chair along side the road driving home. I was wrong!
Below Is a poem I wrote about Memories followed by my latest Ballet presentation of "By the Light of the Silvery Moon". I'll be back in August to post, unless I'm sitting in a black cherry tree making a stained mess out of myselfI' I'll bring you back to our row-house and I will share my most valued antique collection on my nightstand and give a little tour of our bedroom. John Lennon will make an appearance, oh what a tease!
Whenever you find yourself feeling unexplained happiness in your heart, it's from a precious memory you hope will forever last.
Remembrances you subconsciously store and occasionally draw upon from the long distant and nearly forgotten past.
Thoughts can linger and imprint without any kind of acknowledgement from us while dealing and processing through a seemingly normal day,
Triggers occur sending neurons of energy, pulsating to be stored in our memory part of our Brain, because we're just hardwired that way.
Memories of both joy and sadness are received constantly and magically one billion neurons fire energy and all memories can remain.
But the unconscious emotional memories can switch off key neural circuits and that explains the ability to suppress traumatic memories in our brain.
I'm fascinated by the ability of our mind, to be able to recall in a split second a stored memory or thought.
I've observed the frustration of faded memories, only to realize for some it's a battle daily fought.
Precious memories we hold dear without doubt are meant to be expressed and kept alive in stories we share,
And when loss occurs as it always does in the circle of life, you will be able to share your remembrances with an heir.
It is said our lives are an never ending continual story, stored in our memories so learn to tell it's stories well,
For shared stories are emotionally relived where precious memories in our mind will always dwell.
My French Opera/Ballet theatre purchased from Doré Callaway of Burlap Luxe's etsy store sits on my dining room credenza. It is staged with a Ballet production every season. This year it is featuring an additional Summer ballet presentation. I placed it there to entertain guests like a dinner theatre production, Ha, Ha. But what is a constant is there are always mice dancing on the stage, custom designed by Penny White of Angelsdoor blog. Penny designs needled felted mice for me. Which are always named in memory of someone I love. Some might say ... But a mouse? Why yes, of course a mouse ... mice are beloved by me!
Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things.
~Marcus Tullius Cicero~
The 27th of July is my parents wedding anniversary and memories of them, their lives, their love, inspired me to creativity stage a tribute in honor of them. I grew up with parents deeply in love, romantic and freely expressing their affection. Yup, I one of those kisses and hugs kind of girls.
Dad had a wonderful voice, a crooner, as he would joyfully burst out in song. Singing Doris Day Lyrics "By the Light of the Silvery Moon". Sweeping Mom into his arms as he glided her across the floor.
I made the 2 inch moon out of styrofoam, scattered rhinestones on the floor for bling. On a clear acetate we type set and printed in black ink placed on the back wall with the chorus of "By the Light of the Silvery Moon". Vintage silver tinsel garland adds shimmer. The 3x3 miniature painting "Silver Moonlight" was painted by Cheryl Bain. You can find her art in her etsy store, VioletHouseCrafts. The easel came with the art. The camera didn't catch the silver metallic paint highlights and the light dusting of glitter on it.
Fond memory brings the light of other days around me.
I've always felt my parents love and show of affection was amazing, Mom often would ask Dad to dress in colors to compliment her outfit. Mom was quite a Fashionista. Memories flood my head today and emotions are accented by tears as I write ...
After years of waiting, they are reunited in the celestial heavens above. Hand in hand they dance under the glorious moonlight, kissed by the stars in external love.
All photos taken by me - Vera