Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Kodak Moment of my Life

A common catch-phrase when I was growing up was "A Kodak Moment" which simply meant that whatever was going on at that time and you felt it was important you should catch it on film. Believe me, I caught a lot of moments on film. I had baby photos, family photos, vacation photos, bad photos, good photos, out-of-focus photos and photos that I don't even know now what they were of! I grew to really appreciate photos after so many that I had were destroyed by Hurricane Mitch.

One of my most treasured photos was this photo of me at about 3 months with my mother, who was then 16! I found the photo among our things after cleaning our apartment after Hurricane Mitch and found it had been ruined by water. I cried my eyes out and wrote my Mother telling her how upset I was. Lo and behold somehow she had a duplicate of the photo and sent it to me. I have since kept it in, what I believe is a safe place.

In my search through various things that were damaged by Hurricane Mitch, I came across several more of my childhood photos which I have since begun to scan with the idea of setting up a book for my children of their Great Grandparents, Grandparents, Mom and Dad and siblings. I have lost a lot of the baby photos of my children, not due to Mitch, but because I gave the baby books of each individual child to that child to hold on to and they have mislaid them over the years.

I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and was from strong Swedish stock (is there any other kind?). I lived a city life of parks, backyards, school yards, bicycles, roller skates, jump ropes, jacks, hide and seek, and, on a rare occasion our family went to a nearby lake where we could swim. At the age of 7 (photo on the left) my brother and I with our parents periodically went to the "farm" where our Great Uncles lived. There we were joined up with any number of our two dozen cousins. We slept 4-5 to a bed, got dressed in front of a wood burning stove, jumped into hay mounds in the barn, helped to herd the cows, pumped water from the well for the house, among other duties, and swung on a tire swing - a great life.

My life was busy but at that age it passed by soooo slowly. I remember hardly being able to wait for 1950 to arrive as it would be a year with my lucky number in it - 5. I remember the years dragging by, especially just before I turned 13! It seemed that during my Grade school years, time passed in slow motion. While in Junior High (which is now called middle school) time moved on a bit more quickly (maybe because I was then in my teenage years). But in high school, for some strange reason, time dragged again.

I graduated in 1961 at the ripe old age of 17 1/2 and since I had not taken the required classes in High School, going to College was out. Of course, at that time the positions to be gained by going to College were in nursing or teaching (for the most part). I did attend a Business School to learn shorthand and eventually my life's occupation was as a secretary.

Marriage, my career and motherhood filled up the majority of my young life and I was fulfilled with my role as wife and mother.

By the ripe age of 26, my life, like my friends' lives, had its ups and downs. I was active with my children and parenting duties, not to mention all the different school groups I found myself in to help nuture my children's education.

My children grew, married, had children and went on to live their lives independent of their Mother, as it should be. But something strange had happened, I was older! I don't know how it snuck up on me as I was much to busy to notice any differences, but, yes, one day I found I was 40, then 50 and 60. I don't feel much older than when in my 30's (a few more aches and pains) and I'm surprised at times to see a different face in the mirror.....usually my mother's. Where did these years suddenly go?

My husband, too, can't figure out how we suddenly went from our early 20's to 60 in a flash! Now we hear about someone who is 65 and say, "oh, they are so young yet". And now, people don't appear to be as old as they did when my parents and grandparents were of this same age. I never concerned myself with how old people were, they were just in categories: kids, grownups, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. I never thought in terms of age and it was not something I dwelled upon.

But now I'm there - at the "Senior Moment" in life. What have I learned over all the years? Family is important; friends are essential; a good outlook will get you a long way and a deep appreciation of nature gives one a sense of peace.

There are a few things I wish I would have done in my life and I'm not giving up on them just yet. Thankfully my health is quite good and I feel that I will be able to attain some of my unreached goals - just have to work a little faster!
I have been busy scanning old family photos to make up a book for my children. Also busy on a book of all the wonderful photos my husband has taken to present to his children. We lost so many photos in Hurricane Mitch that the ability to recover some via a scanner is simply a wonder. I can still picture photos of my children in my mind that have been lost and how I wish I had them back. Since I do not have them, I'll just make sure that those I have remain for others to enjoy and to enjoy the "Kodak Moments" in life.


  1. I too had such a childhood. We use to play "Kick the Can" after supper with all the neighborhood kids until our mom's called us to go to bed.

    Very nice memories.

  2. Never did "kick the can" but roller skating was a favorite pastime. Do you remember the roller skate keys we carried around our necks on a shoe string? Loved riding my bike for hours and climbing anything that looked like it would offer a good view was great.
    Our Mom never worried about us out playing in the neighborhood, the only rule was to get home by the time the street lights came on.

  3. I really liked your post. MN was a great place to have grown up for me too. I often wonder what it will be like when I am older and look back. I'm sorry you lost so many precious photos in Mitch.

  4. You know, like a lot of people who grew up in the '60s, I have a shoebox full of pictures. Good memories, all. But I wonder now, with the advent of digital cameras, what people are doing to preserve their memories for future generations? Most of my friends have folders and folders full of digital pics on their computer, but few actually print them out, much less transfer them to a more permanent media. (How many pics have I lost when the laptop just died and I wasn't able to retrieve the data before tossing it in the trash?) And nobody keeps their pics in any kind of order.

    And it's a problem. We need to preserve the past, if only just to see where we've been and keep us connected to the past.

    On the other hand, it's nice to see people taking so many pictures these days. In the past, it could be awkward when someone pulled out a camera. Not anymore! Just about everyone has a camera in their cellphone, and it seems that we all carry around digitals (at least, I do). But if we never *do* anything with these pictures, they'll end up in some recycle bin somewhere, or a buried file folder, or on an inaccessible hard drive, never to be looked at again.

    Well you got me, Sharon. I hereby vow to...this weekend...organize all my digital pics onto as many DVD's as it takes to hold them.

    Thanks for the post.