Like I said before, pay attention to the flooring with these folks.

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I wish I had names for these gorgeous kids. I also wish I could have seen them smile.


STILL Camera

Film, in any form, has always been interesting to me. Anything visual, moving or still, attracts me. It's my shiny object. My father is the one who got me interested when I was young. He had a 35 mm and an 8 mm movie camera. Even my mother had a 35 mm. It wasn't until I was around eleven that they gave me my mom's old Brownie. I wish I could find the first snapshots I took. It was a sunny day at Fort DeRussy in Waikiki with my folks and my best friends family. I remember being anxious to get the prints hoping I'd done a good job. I used that camera for several years until my folks bought me my own Instamatic in the '60s.

Also in the '60s my maternal grandmother in Pennsylvania gave me her first Brownie, which looks very much like the one in this snapshot. My grandmother had to sell newspaper subscriptions to get the camera. I think she was around thirteen at the time. Both of her cameras, and my mom's old Brownie, sit on my bookshelf.

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This snapshot was purchased from a seller in Pennsylvania which leads me to believe the shot may have been taken there. It certainly looks like the rural Pennsylvania I remember from my childhood. The Appalachian Mountains could be seen from my grandparents back windows. Small mountains that in California would simply be called hills.

I like this shot for the simplicity. A woman standing in the sun on a dirt road with her Brownie camera and umbrella. Off in the distance people walking along the same dirt road. I imagine she eventually walked the same area where they can be seen. Perhaps a Sunday walk after church? A slow relaxed walk through the neighborhood, when neighborhoods were farmhouses spread far apart.

It's a still picture; a moving picture. It's my submission for Sepia Saturday.

The final Serious Family with the weird rugs will appear tomorrow.



Was there someone out of sight saying, "Smile kids! Come on, smile!"

I'm beginning to think it's the flooring. Yup, the flooring is causing the problem.



Then there were three. And poor little fella left the barn door open.

Click on image to see it larger.

Pay attention to the flooring in all photos.



In November of 2014 I posted the following two photos. On the first day I posted this portrait of the pretty woman. The next day I posted a photo of two children that I assume are hers because they look so much like her. The children always look a bit confused.

So a year and half later I find more photos of the children. They never smile.

Tattered and Lost volumes 1 to 7 available at Amazon.


SNOW Driving

After yesterdays post I've done a lot of dreaming about my years at the family cabin in the Sierras. And so I add this snapshot to remind me of driving during the winter.

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Yes, there were the cold nights heading into the Sierras in snowstorms; anything to get up there for a weekend of skiing. It always came down to either putting the chains on ourselves or hiring a chain monkey. I was cheap; we usually put the chains on ourselves. It made it easier that I had a front wheel drive. And then we'd return to the line of red taillights making our way towards the summit.

But then there were days like the one in this photo when the freeway was empty; silence except for the sound of the chains on the crunching snow. Heading east over the summit for Truckee and a night of fun at our favorite hangout; wall to wall ski bums. It was a bit of heaven.

There was one thing I always took along on those weekend trips that I had to carry from the parking lot for the half mile tramp along the mostly snow packed road. Oh sure, I had to carry my skis, and my weekend bag of clothes, but the most important item was the briefcase full of LPs. Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark was always along. And so now when I listen to it I see the snow drifts and hear the heavy snow falling from the pine branches. I'd put it on for inspiration while getting ready for the night out.

Eventually there'd be the long drive home in the middle of the night on the empty freeway, again heading for the summit, heading west. We never really thought of the stupidity of what we did. We weren't going to get hurt. It wasn't our time. The walk through the darkness from the parking lot to the cabin, especially in a snowstorm, could be a slog, but then there was sleep followed by another day of skiing. It's my past and at times I miss it and would love to step back in time to do it one more time.
Tattered and Lost volumes 1 to 7 available at Amazon.



I can't even begin to count how many times I drove this road. It's near the summit of Donner Pass in Northern California; the old route 40 of the Sierras. Off in the distance at the far end of Donner Lake is where the Donner Party attempted to survive the winter of 1846-47. There is a state park and campground located where the families lived. And the towns of Gateway and Truckee have tourists far removed from what once happened in the area.

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Until you've experienced a winter in this area you simply can't imagine what the Donner Party were dealing with. My families cabin was on the western side of the summit. I can remember going in the second floor—which was really the third floor because the "basement" was above ground—more than once. The first floor and basement were completely covered in snow. And it's not a fluffy snow. It's called Sierra Cement for a reason. The summit is where the storms dump their first round of heavy water in storms and the snow depth and weight proves it. I can remember walking along the road and having to duck to get under the power lines; the snow was that deep. The upstairs beam in the cabin was actually two 15-18 inch beams stacked which ran the length of the cabin. Without such beams we would have had the problem so many other cabins had in the heavy snow…complete collapse.
Winter weather at Donner Pass can be brutal. Precipitation averages 51.6 inches (131 cm) per year, much of which falls as snow. At an average of 411.5 inches (10.45 m) per year, Donner Pass is one of the snowiest places in the United States. Four times since 1880 total snowfall at Donner Summit has exceeded 775 inches (19.7 m) and topped 800 inches (20 m) in both 1938 and 1953. To take advantage of the heavy snows, the Boreal Ski Resort was built to the north. Ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe area report an average of 300 to 500 inches (7.6 to 12.7 m) of snowfall per season. Winds in the pass can also become extreme and wind gusts in excess of 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) are common during winter storms. Winter temperatures in the area drop below zero several times each year; the all-time record low for California of −45 °F (−43 °C) was recorded at Boca (east of Truckee) in January 1937.
The winter of 1846-47 was especially severe, and this is generally cited as the single most important factor in the disaster of the Donner Party. In the winter of 2010-11, over 700 inches (1,800 cm) had fallen as of May 23, 2011. Snow depth peaked in early April 2011 with over 250 inches (21 ft) of snow on the ground. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
To say the least, before route 80, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Highway, was built, getting over the summit in the winter was at best a challenge if the road was open at all. It was, and still is, a two lane road. These days it's closed during the winter. But the rest of the year it's a beautiful drive. In fact it's often used in car commercials.

For decades there was a rusty old bus sitting upside down on those rocks a bit east of that tall tree on the right. I never knew the story of that bus, but we all made up some great stories. Eventually sometime in the late '90s, I think, the bus was finally removed.

I miss driving the pass on a warm summer day with the car windows open. It's a wonderful snaky road that's fun to drive. There's a lot to see along this road, so next time you think of staying on interstate 80 get off at Cisco Grove and follow the old 40 through Truckee. I can remember driving it before the freeway was in. In fact, I can remember going over and seeing dynamite blasts where the freeway was being constructed. That really dates me.
Tattered and Lost volumes 1 to 7 available at Amazon.


Real Man or MANNEQUIN?

The fella comes home from work hoping for a hot meal.

"Where's my pot roast? I'm hungry."

The woman, in the kitchen, hears his voice and sighs. She walks to the dining room, drying her hands on her apron.

"Listen dummy, you'll get your pot roast when I'm good and ready to serve it to you!"

And so it goes each night in the home of Mary and her hubby, the Man-nequin.

Seriously, is this a photo of a man or a mannequin? I'm open to all suggestions.

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My submission for Sepia Saturday, the first this year.
Tattered and Lost volumes 1 to 7 available at Amazon.