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Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2007
Just a little ‘ol experiment here.

The latest of the grandson, and Maggie. Right here at This site

Comments? And by the way, does anybody know a blamed thing about this whole Photobucket stuff? Like making an album and transferring old pictures into it? And I ask because . . .

When I was about 8 I had my first moment in photography. Now lest you think that creating images at that time involved the use of charcoal upon vertical cave walls, or the ubiquitous stick/sand method, let me assure you that Outfoxed at 8 years old was part of the age of technology.

After a fashion. I mean, the word digital had yet to come about but we had cameras. The kind where you had to buy a roll of actual film and wind it on a depressingly uncooperative spool and no two cameras did this in exactly the same way but by golly you got images out of the thing. Eventually. Sort of.

‘Twas at the wedding of my brother, and yes I really was 8 and he really was 21 (there being no limits to my parents forays into unplanned parenthood, evidently). Somehow in the midst of my stumbling down the aisle with lighted candles and standing rigid in a rented suit with breath mints and everything I gained possession of a camera. My new sister-in-laws camera, to be exact.

“Here honey,” she said from some dazzling white sphere of lace and pearl. “Just look through this little window and press this button and wind this here thing and we’ll have some pictures when you’re done.” She was smiling and I was at that entranced moment of being entrusted with something important, using something grown-up. “And remember, you only have 12 pictures on this roll, so choose wisely, yes?”

This in a day when 12 pictures, on a Kodak Brownie, was the mainstream of middle class photography. Yes, you did indeed choose your pictures wisely.

So I wandered and posed the candidates, imitating the wedding photographer with his professional stuff and lights and bags of gear. A midget in a tux, and Ansell Adams never stalked a scene as carefully as I did. Finishing at the reception, the cake scene as I recall, and the winder on the camera read 12 and would wind no more.

I approached the newly married couple, seated at the head table and brought forth the camera as if it were a live bomb. “All finished,” I murmured to the bride.

My sister-in-law flashed a smile and bent her head to my brother for a word, and he raised and eyebrow and shrugged. “Young master photographer,” she said over a forkful of salmon. “Why don’t you take that camera home with you? We’re going to get another one soon anyway, and you can take some more pictures while we’re away on our . . .our trip.” And she was ever the blushing bride, because in those days and in that company the very word ‘honeymoon’ was a delicate one, especially when used around 8 year olds.

“Really? I can keep it?”

“Yes honey, I’ll take the film out later and you can get a new roll.”

I don’t know what the modern equivalent to this would be, maybe handing me the keys to a Ferrari (or a John Deere tractor). But I was in bliss. A camera! The heady joy of recording life! Making time stand still!

So it was, and I got home and was back in jeans and pondering the day and the camera with its hidden treasure sitting safely atop the old pine dresser.

It’s safe to say that there isn’t much of anything more dangerous than an 8 year old left to his own devices. Just enough imagination, just enough mechanical skill and just enough curiosity. And not one whit of fear.

“Take the film out later, eh? Gee, maybe I’ll just save her the trouble . . .”

I had enough sense to turn the lights out. I had the persistence of youth to figure out how to open up the camera. I had the mechanics to grasp the roll in one hand and the trailing edge of film in the other and begin to pull, and pull. Taking the film out, you see.

Trouble was, I couldn’t for the life of me get it stuffed back in the roll from whence it came. So I basically had a two foot roll of exposed film and no idea what to do next. And I hated to ask for help, especially when the slow horror of “Uh oh” began to sink into my crew cut head.

It was all brought to light, in more ways than one. My mother was stern, my dad had a chuckle, the newlyweds were off someplace warm and none the wiser. “Why didn’t you ask for help?” seemed to be the prevailing theme, and I had no answer then and don’t to this very day. I hate asking for help about the obvious, seems to imply a lack of something very necessary. Brains, say.

And now I take pictures with a device beyond the imagination of the 8 year old in me, and you can still make time stand still but you do it for the whole world to see. That part of me standing in a dark bedroom with a two foot roll of exposed film comes to the fore every now and then and says, “Now what?”

The grandson, he doesn’t care. His job is to look at the boob with the funny box plastered to his face and laugh. He does this with surprising regularity.

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