The Story Is In The Shutter

My Grandparents on vacation in 1970.

Photographs not only hold images of our past and experiences, but keep memories and feelings fresh and help channel our reminiscence of those times. They are just paper and ink but are valued above most other things. Many times when people are rushed to escape from a crisis photographs are often grabbed first.

Contemporary cameras are all about pixels, multiple zoom, and auto-focus, promising crisp, clear pictures with the full color spectrum and detailing unmatched. This is all great and you can take some spectacular photographs, but what about those old cameras that gave us photographs with a little more character?

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Packed, Latched, And Ready To Go

Foggy train station platforms swarmed with scampering travelers and misty-eyed loved ones saying goodbye dressed in hats and traveling gloves, toting sturdy, hard-shelled luggage and trunks. . .

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‘Tis The Season

Chilled, ice shavings, swirling. . .

No, I’m not talking about making a drink, but about ice skating. Hat-topped people bundled in scarves and gloves, twirling and gliding, slipping and tumbling against a backdrop of pine trees and snowy hills is a magnificent scene to imagine. It is often portrayed in movies, books, or those miniature winter scenery figurines. It’s one of those scenes, though usually snowy and cold, that gives a person the warm fuzzies.

I have no great memories of ice skating on a pond or a local lake growing up, nor did I ever own a pair of ice skates. My only encounter with ice skating was when I was about eight years old and stayed with cousins in Kansas City. We all went to Crown Center where they had an outdoor rink. I remember there being a lot of people, most of them much bigger than myself, and my cousins leaving me in the middle of the rink amid the chaos of holiday skaters and atop the giant penguin painted under the ice. As an eight year old, this was very traumatizing. (Thanks a lot, cousins. You know who you are.) Somehow, I did make it back to safety.

Despite all of the above, my idyllic visions of ice skating were never stolen from me. Wanting to feel my nose and cheeks turning red from frosty air and light snowflakes while having enough skills to stay upright and have at least some movement over the ice. Passing other skaters while laughter and conversation filled the air. And somewhere nearby there would be a statuesque snowman decked out in winter attire.

It wasn’t until a few years ago, after having lived in California for a few years (of all places), that I found an outlet for my ice skating fantasy. Granted, no snowman, no snowy hills or pine trees, and no red-nosed skaters. Instead a backdrop of the beach, ocean, and palm trees set the scene for ice skating.

The rink is to the right.

Hotel del Coronado constructs an outdoor ice skating rink every year for the holidays, starting at Thanksgiving and going through New Years. There are skate times during the day, with a close and clear view of the ocean, as well as nighttime skating. I’ve been to both, and both are spectacular, but I think I prefer the nighttime. The ocean doesn’t show up in photos, but the Christmas lights are all aglow and there’s a different and more special feeling to it.

          I conquered the ice! Bwhahaha!                  A snippet of the lobby of the hotel.

The hotel is gorgeous and their decorations are incredible. Holiday music floats above the slash of skates on ice. Some people are fluent on the ice, others stumble, but everyone enjoys feeling giddy and young again, as only an activity like ice skating can do.

I haven’t found anyone willing to go with me yet this year, but hope to make it back again. To conquer the ice once more.

And yes, all without falling.

Put The Top Down: 1950s

My ultimate dream car is a 1955 Chevy convertible in two-tone, preferably green and white (but who am I kidding, any color would do) with white wall tires. The big, yet skinny steering wheel, the push button radio, the hood ornament, the headlights, the tail fins, the cavernous front seat. . . I’m getting misty-eyed just thinking about it. Yes, I know, they’re not exactly “road friendly” but I suppose some updates to it would do the trick, because I would drive this – everywhere. I would eagerly take this car over any other car that could be offered to me. Of course, I just have to dream about, and drool at seeing, classic cars when I get the chance, because I think the chance of me ever having one is slight to non-existent.

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Sealed With A . . .Digital Signature?

I have loved writing letters, real letters, ever since I can remember. I used to send away for multiple pen pals and relished in each letter I received, and in return, could write. When I was away at college, working at summer camps, and for a bit after I moved to California, my aunt and I would write letters to each other. For some reason or another, we don’t do this so much anymore.

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Contents May Cause Twitching

I have the most horrendous sweet tooth. As will be evidenced by this blog post. You have been forewarned.

Candy cigarettes were one of my ultimate favorites as a child. I would ride around on my bicycle, pretending it was my car, “cruising,” all while pretending to puff away on a candy cigarette. Horrible, right? Can you believe I have never once taken even one puff of a real cigarette? Well, it’s true. So, it apparently wasn’t all that horrible. Most people would say that this candy tasted chalky, and it did. That was the best part of it! Would you believe that they peddle these as candy sticks now? Perhaps children would be more inclined to smoke later on in life because of candy cigarettes, but what are the statistics on children who became vampires from eating and playing with waxed fangs? I make light, seriously kids, don’t smoke, it’s gross. In fact, you can still get authentic candy cigarettes online from several different sites. (Sidenote: They also kind of remind me of the disk-like candy that tasted like Pepto-Bismal. I don’t remember the name of it, but I remember always wanting one of the small bags of them when I would go to the grocery store with my Mom. Anyone remember what those were called and if you can still get them?)

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Colonel Mustard In The Lounge With The Chainsaw

Err. . .that last part might not be right.

It seems like most people are more interested in playing Wii, PlayStation, or Guitar Hero these days. Which I’m sure are all enjoyable, but I miss old-fashioned board games. As illustrated in this blog, I can be quite a dork, so this should come as no surprise.

Sitting around the table with the board game spread out in front of everyone. Everyone choosing which piece/color/character they’re going to be. Drawing cards, performing tasks, making decisions, physically moving your piece around the board. The physical exertion, the actual touch of game pieces, and interacting with other human beings face-to-face are all aspects that make game night and board games an enjoyable and nostalgic feat.

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Oh Golly Gee, What A Pair Of Gams!

Long ago in a faraway land, when someone said, “I’m so gay!” you knew they were having a good day. Or people exclaimed, “Oh golly gee!” instead of “WTF!” When food was hot, and not a way to describe an attractive woman. When being sick meant you were stuffy and achy.

Every generation and era has its own lingo, slang, and catchy phrases. Sometimes the words have a long life, and sometimes they are short lived and soon forgotten. Often new generations invent their own, and the previous are rarely ever used again.

I often utilize words that people give me strange looks for, or just plain have to ask what they mean. Some I use frequently, others I’m on a campaign to use more and resurrect in general. They either have a nice ring to them, or I just have an aversion to using the contemporary equivalent. Mostly they’re just fun to use and say, with a lusciously fulfilling impact.

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Life Lessons: The Golden Girls

I don’t watch a lot of TV, but most of the shows I do enjoy are older shows. Probably my favorite is The Golden Girls. I remember watching this show when I was growing up, right after we would come home from church. I even remember our priest at the time loving the show, making jokes and references in relation to it, and teasing how he would keep his sermon short so everyone could make it home in time for The Golden Girls.

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Have You Smelled A Book Lately?

I have been called a “purist” many times, and when it comes to books, there’s no exception. My love of books goes back to when I could first grasp one in my hands. As a child, I remember carrying stacks of books around the house, and sitting while flipping through them long before I could actually read the words. I not only enjoyed the pictures, there was more to it than that. I enjoyed the look and feel of the book, the sheen of the pages and gliding my hand across each to feel the softness of the paper.

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