Tuesday, May 21, 2013
The Brownie Kodak and the cell phone
By Lois Wyrick
Aunt Helen was dad’s youngest sister. She never married and was a favorite of all of the nieces and nephews in the family. She knew how to meet the needs of these younger family members. This was, no doubt, due to her ability to stay in their age group and be at ease with their work and play. She worked for Southern Bell as a telephone operator and the nieces were all planning to be telephone operators when they grew up.
One of her hobbies was taking pictures with her Kodak Brownie Camera. This was a box camera and I suppose was the first camera that was inexpensive to purchase by the everyday citizen and simple to use by the man and woman who lived next door. Everyone owned a Brownie Camera and my oldest picture album is filled with pictures taken by Aunt Helen and her box camera.
One of the pictures is of me when I was about three and written around the edge of the picture are these words. “Everybody loves my girl!” You don’t have enough money to buy this picture.
Many of the pictures are of adults and there is a fashion show of the clothing worn during the times. Men posed by their autos. (The first one owned by many of the men.) The Ford model “T” and “A” were proudly shown. Even dad’s car that was shown parked by the front of the house. What isn’t shown is when the car was burning and Dad trying to put out the fire with a quilt that mother had made. All of it made by hand. My understanding is that there could have been the first divorce in my father’s family.
The hair and clothing of the women are quite interesting. The younger women wearing the so-called “flapper style along with the latest cut hair (called “Bobbed” hair) and the older and more sedate fashion of the more mature woman.
Aunt Helen took many pictures when they visited us during their vacations. It is a chart in growth. My favorite ones are of when I was fifteen and we took pictures all over the acres owned by my family. And I have the only picture taken of me sitting by the “branch” that traveled through our property. Some of you might not know of the term “branch” meaning a “tributary stream” that has left a larger stream of water.
This was a favorite place of mine. I enjoyed fishing there even when I didn’t catch anything. I sat there when I was sorting out my feelings because of a verbal fight with my dad. I sat there when I came to terms with the mixed up world of being a teen-ager. It was my place to be when the latest boy-friend and I no longer understood each other and above all else I could be there and find peace when the outside world and I no longer had peace.
It was the picture of me sitting there that still brings peace to my world. . A picture taken by Aunt Helen and her Brownie Kodak camera.
I don’t know what happened to her camera or mine. I also had a“Brownie” camera and took many of the pictures of our early marriage. It is amazing how well we could take indoor pictures with that camera. The only light needed was provided by our floor or table lamps.
Then the camera progressed down the line and colored pictures entered our world. The camera became more involved and more expensive. We, then, learned the color picture would not last and that gave us cause for concern.
Colored pictures made into “slides” were shown to families and friends back home. Hundreds of slides were taken and shown to the folks who couldn’t travel with them and who still didn’t travel with them because they would sleep with the showing. The idea of the colored pictures fadinto nothing is heart breaking. I hope someone can tell me it isn’t so!
The movie camera came into our world— people moving without words. And then the “Video” camera became popular and not one step up the hill was taken without being recorded for posterity. Boxes and boxes of these “movie” pictures are stacked away in closets in the homes of people. There wasn’t a vacation traveled without being recorded.
We haven’t had time to take a step in place without a new way of taking pictures. It seemed that each year brought a new way of recording time. And it is the “Cell Phone” and the “computer” that has brought the latest way of recording our lives onto plastic or paper. It is amazing what is being shown at the present time.
We have just received a picture of our youngest great grandchild and she is laughing as hard as she can. So much so that one cannot keep from laughing with her. And we owe this to the cell phone and computer. How my parents would have enjoyed this. We have come along way from the brownie Kodak and Aunt Helen would be so amazed and rightly so.
The cell phone’s ability to snap pictures does what the Brownie did.. It has become the “every day” camera much like the old “Brownie.” So, “What else is new?” It is the same ole mouse trap with better and more features—I think!!
I would love to be here to see what comes next!
Wyrick is a regular columnist for this paper and a resident of Sharpsburg
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