Passing it Down

Jim with our grandson Jamie.

Jim believed in documenting family history. And we have the legacy to prove it. Photos, home movies, videos, and audio tapes. I am in process of gathering them from closets and drawers to be sure we have them all together in one place.

When we met in Baltimore he was taking pictures with one of his father's range-finder cameras. Developing the black and white film was expensive so we don't have many photos of those days - but the ones we do capture the moment. I could never take pictures with that camera. It baffled me. My speed was a Brownie reflex. 

Jim learned to take pictures from his father who was one of those camera smitten amateur photographers of the California 1930s. Jim helped his father take 16mm movies of the family. We have copies of those movies - scripts written by Jim's mother and performed by his brothers and sisters - with sound. They are priceless and precious to us.

I remember the first time I saw those movies I had heard so much about.  One special evening in 1969 when we were at his parents house in Madera, CA for Christmas Jim's father brought out the big movie projector. It was a small crowd that evening - Jim's mother and father, Jim and me and our three kids.  Hal showed the family movies and a selection of Castle WWII films. 

A dozen years ago Jim's oldest brother Harold transferred those movies to DVD for each of his siblings. They are wonderful - except that he backed the films with the theme from Chariots of Fire. I challenge anyone to watch them without crying as those kids of long ago cavort in the snow at Bass Lake and act out their mother's scripts in their Fresno living room. We should all be so lucky as to have our childhoods captured for us to relive again and again.

With the advent of digital cameras which made photography immediate and much easier I took up photography as well. And albums became part of my art form.

Jim and I enjoyed and shared a passion for documenting everyday life. Jim got it from his father, I inherited it from my Aunt Katherine and we see it shared out in our kids.

Feels good.

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