Still Scanning Memories

I recently found some old 120 (or possibly 620) format “Black and White” film negatives showing images of the construction of my childhood home. For her August 21, 1963 diary entry, my grandmother wrote that she had received a letter from my mom saying that the area for the house had been “scraped off and the builder has started work”. Since I can see the “scraping off” had been already done, this image was made in mid to late August, 1963. I was not yet 3 years old

I remember riding on a road grader in the desert and I’m guessing I was riding it when the area for the house was being smoothed off, but I can’t be sure. I find this memory amazing, but I guess I can see why I might remember something so awesome as me (thinking I am) driving a REAL road grader instead of pushing a Tonka Toy road grader while making the engine noises with my mouth! I know I don’t remember anything else from then.

I am “the little one”. My then 9 year old brother is behind me.


I find it amazing what I remember about what was a minor event in my life.

I was laying on the floor in my parent’s bedroom, wrapped up in a blanket and watching the Rose Parade on a black and white TV with a 9 inch screen and a avocado green case.   I even remember that the picture was a bit snowy.  Next to me was the day’s newspaper and I remember continually glancing at the date printed on the front page–January 1, 1970.

Mom and dad, along with my brother and grandparents were in the dining room, watching a (American) football game on the “big” TV.  Big is in quotes because that television had a 12 inch screen.  It’s picture was also black and white, and equally as snowy.

I was 9 years old and I was thinking about how it was so amazing that I had just gone through a decade change.  I continued that thought with “the next big event”, which was going through a century change and decided it was so far into the future–I would be 39 years old–that it really wasn’t worth thinking about.

And now, that “next big event” is now nearly 20 years in the past.

In reality, that “next big event” is nothing when compared to my other big events; college graduation, my first job in my career field, the relief of hearing “Yes!” to my marriage proposal, marriage, fatherhood, watching our daughter grow into a confident young woman, “my” 30th wedding anniversary.

Fifty years ago none of those things existed and my outlook on life was so simple.  Neither life, nor my outlook has remained simple, and I must say, that is a good thing.

Argus part 2

Mom and I spent yesterday afternoon looking through about 100 slides. For her, it was an emotional experience seeing pictures of her parents and her husband (my dad..same person).

For me, the most interesting pictures were those where I was young and could clearly remember the event shown in the pictures.  For those, I could close my eyes and simultaneously be in the “then” and the “now”, even though the times were separated by almost 1/2 a century.  It turns out that HG Wells’ Time Machine is really an Argus slide projector.

I found several more copy paper boxes–the kind that holds 10 reams of paper–that contain slides still in the little mailing boxes.  The post marks on the boxes range from the mid 1940s to the late 1970s, with the majority being from 1955 to about 1966.

I also found another Argus slide projector that is set up to conveniently as possible handle single slides.  This one’s projector lamp was missing, so I ordered a couple of lamps.


Not long ago, I discovered that my 96 year old mother still had the slide photographs taken by my late grandfather.  These slides were all loaded into square tubular “magazines” and I very much wanted to look at the slides.  I was somewhat disheartened when I thought about moving many thousand slides over to a less obsolete slide projector system.

When I was working in mom’s garage, I noticed an old Argus slide projector and remembered that my grandfather used it with those square magazines.  I brought the projector home, cleaned it inside and out and lubricated the cooling fan motor.  It now works very well and, yes, it uses those square magazines.

I  brought a set of slides home so I could test the projector and the images are intriguing.  It looks like the pictures are those of my childhood’s backyard, except these pictures are of the place before the house was built.

Tomorrow I will take the projector and a screen over to my mom’s house and the two of us will start looking at slides.  My mom is very excited about this and I am too.