Kodak Memories, What To Do?

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When I first married my wife and I decided to capture our life together on film. With a little help from Kodak the number one producer of film encouraging us to do so. We bit hard. I was always engrossed in finding a camera that would take the ultimate pictures. When Super 8 movies arrived on the scene I went bonkers. I loved cinema photography. I took cartridge after cartridge of film with my trusty Bell & Howell Super Eight camera. That lasted until the camera slid from my lap onto the steel deck of a ferry boat taking us to Mackinac Island. When the camera hit the deck it made a loud noise and scared the heck out of the passengers. More than one thought the noise came from a ship sinking collision at sea.

I bought a 35 mm Argus camera for taking slides. It was completely manual and could take beautiful pictures. Note, it isn’t the camera that is responsible for taking beautiful photos, it is the operator of the device. I quickly learned after processing roll after roll of film that my operative ability amounted to nil. I chose a simple box camera instead and began to get some surprisingly great shots. There were no adjustments to make on such a device, I merely pointed the camera and clicked. My picture taking improved and it was the beginning of our life’s chronicle.

I replaced a totally broken Bell and Howell movie camera with a Bolex. The Bolex camera was the industry leader in moving pictures. Barb and I joined a movie club to learn the basics of making Hollywood style movies on a very strained budget. It was fun for me, but a drag for the family. I was the producer, director, camera man, editor, and author of all our family films. My movies would not be the ordinary ones of kids waving at the camera and smiling, they would be action films with the kids in motion. I quickly learned that the kids would cooperate provided I got my pictures in one take. Retakes became a drag for them. I prevailed most times and got some really great stuff. I entered my very first film into the cinema club annual contest and won the grand prize. I was stunned. All that honor did for me was to inspire me to out do the winner. That didn’t seem to happen, although I tried. You can view one of my films on You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2OkQtp8wSA 

In the meantime, the cassettes began to pile up with our life on film, both still and movie chronicled, but not properly edited, spliced, arranged, timed, and turned into award winning movies.

Fast forward sixty years, to today. My first wife left me for heaven sixteen years ago, my second wife left just three months ago, and I am avoiding grief by clearing my home of all things unessential to my remaining years. I’ve thinned the wardrobe, decluttered the knick knacks, shredded the documents, and now I am left with ten boxes of photos.

Every time I attack a box and handle photos of my wives I get emotional, grief sneaks it’s way in and takes over. I stop dead in my tracks and begin to recall the actual events in my mind. All of them are there in the brain waiting for a stimulus to recall them. The question is do I want to recall them? Yes of course I do, but not while I am in a quandary about what to do with the hard evidence of fuzzy photos. Each time I find a duplicate of a favorite photo or even the not so favorite ones and I make an instantaneous decision to trash it, my guardian angel blows his whistle and shouts “STOP.”

Yesterday, I opened a drawer on Peg’s desk and put my hand on an envelope I hadn’t seen before. My Angel told me to look inside, and there is a set of pictures Peg made of her house, room by room so she wouldn’t forget. Guess what, she forgot, at the end she couldn’t remember how to swallow, or breathe much less care about her house loaded with her beloved knick knacks. For me this group of photos was an easy decision, trash. The same picture finding scene has repeated itself over and over through out the past eleven weeks.

When I first began sorting the albums I devised a strategy that would cut the job down. I would take the albums of my bicycle trips which meant nothing to anyone but me and trash them without looking at them. That worked for four albums. The ten boxes of family photos remain. What to do?

My new strategy is to group photos and send them to my grandkids. For instance, all of my wife Barbara’s nursing school memorabilia and photos will be boxed and sent to the grand daughter that followed in her footsteps and beaome a nurse. All of my love letters and courtship photos will go to my oldest grand daughter who is a pharmacist/writer. Perhaps she will use the information to develop characters for a best selling novel. I can continue to sort pictures into blocks of memories and send them to each of my seven natural grand kids. My pictures with Peg are another matter. Her grand children were adults when we married and our photos together do not include them. Also, our photos are 99% digital and are on my computer. It will be easier to delete these files or send them to electronic heaven when the computer dies.

Another strategy is to do nothing. I can do what 99.9% of the population does and leave the job to my heirs be they direct desendants or grandchildren.

My final thought on this topic is about Kodak, the company that created this nightmare for all people who were sucked into memory saving images. You were so involved in selling the concept of memories on film that you failed to heed the signs of a changing world. You allowed the Japanese to out wit you with digital cameras, and now they are selling the virtues of making memories on digital media which has already evolved from VHS tape, to cassette tape, to compact disks, to MP3 flash cards to the Cloud. What next? Kodak is dead now, but the world is stuck with their product and a proper way to dispose of them.

How about if we just convince ourselves to save memories in our head and recall them when needed?

 

 

Factions & White Canes

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One week ago I sat in on a session of OASIS (Orland Area Sight Impaired Support) with fellow Lions. Our club is supporting OASIS in their endeavor to initiate a new chapter in the Will County area. Sight impaired people are no different than you or me in that they love to participate in normal activities the same as they did when they were sighted. The range of impairment goes from blind at birth to age related diseases. Some can see, but very poorly, some are totally blind. When observing the group it was obvious to tell who was totally blind by their mannerisms, but those whose blindness was age related there was no way to tell that they had a problem.

The founders of OASIS is a married couple, both blind, who took it upon themselves to do something to help others in their situation. They have been doing counseling and support for twenty-three years which is how old OASIS is. Kim, leads the group in a discussion by asking a question. Her first and only question of the day was What is your greatest frustration caused by blindness? A very astute and lengthy discussion ensued as each of the participants (eight) responded. The number one frustration is getting transportation to do things, like going to the grocery store, or for a hair-do, or church. Even though our county supports seniors and disabled by running special bus services, the service is considered slow to respond, and inconvenient. Many use Uber, but complain of the high cost. The number two frustration is not getting respect from the public. For instance a few people cited being made fun of because of their cane. For the uninitiated, blind people can learn to negotiate on their own by using a cane. There is a special white cane with a red tip that is available for them to use. Evidently, our culture has shifted from giving the cane respect to one of harassment, and ridicule. In the good old days when a person with a white cane stopped at a street corner to cross there was always a citizen nearby who would step up and assist the blind person across the street. The same happened at building doors, elevators, etc. They complain that the respect is no longer there. Another situation arises when a vision impaired person steps up to the counter at a fast food restaurant. The order taker will ask “order please?” When the blind person responds I can’t see the menu, they respond “look up at the board.”

I can understand the frustration of the order taker who is under pressure to serve as many people as possible in an hour, but there comes a time when speed must be second to politeness and courtesy. I took it upon myself to write to the CEO’s of ten major fast food corporations with a suggestion to fit a  simple excise into their clerk training program. It is too early to have received any responses  yet, but I can hardly wait.

This got me to thinking about all the causes and problems experienced by people. I just mentioned the frustration of the blind, but there are many others, like those in wheel chairs or on crutches, or are linguistically impaired. Each segment is a tiny fraction of our total population, but we as citizens expect our businesses to react appropriately to each situation. Even though, what I suggested is a simple and short addition to a training program I began to vision all the other problems that can be taken care of by training. Add them up and the cost of training becomes major. It becomes even more complicated in our country because of the many different nationalities and cultures who look for entry level jobs in fast food restaurants. Many of these people are still learning the language and don’t understand the menu themselves. In the meantime, factional groups register their daily living frustrations.

What is the answer? Robotic order takers. With artificial intelligence programmed into a robot it could be programed to detect situations like language differences, visual impairments, and others. If Robo detects a person is vision impaired he read’s the menu. If a person is hearing impaired he shows a large print electronic menu, and so on.

I’m not sure any of this is necessary, but something has to change or the visually impaired will be doomed to living solitary lives inside their apartments and suffer for help.

Another thing we must do is teach our youngsters from an  early age to be polite and courteous to everyone. We won’t need robots when our neighbors step up and help us out.

Week Eight of Twelve

 

I don’t believe the meme. We enter with our mother, we leave with family or friends, and it is rotten to be alone.

I took on a super goal after Peg died. I vowed to move out of this big house into a smaller less expensive place after she left me. Right now I am in week eight of a twelve week program to empty the house of all unnecessary stuff; most of it belonged to my beloved Peggy. As long as she lived with me I happily tolerated her belongings, but once she left I no longer feel the connection. The house still looks like a train hit it, but in reality it is much more empty than it has been in a long time. By the end of next week I will have removed all things Peg except her memory which I will cherish for as long as I live. She was a beautiful woman who really took my heart, and I couldn’t do enough for her. We shared an amazing fourteen years together, and I miss her.

Peg had a habit of never throwing anything away. Yesterday, I attacked her desk to clear the drawers. Grief overwhelmed me, but I persisted and succeeded getting through everything in an hour. Toward the end, she was  packaging all the newspaper articles she saved in plastic bags or manilla envelopes. Most likely she did this out of boredom while I stayed engrossed in writing or cartooning. No doubt this finding will be one of my regrets that will haunt me during my lifetime.

Regret is an amazing emotion, and coupled with grief it can destroy a person. The only tool I have to fight it off is a promise not to neglect someone I love like I did Peg.

There are four weeks remaining in my project and I will once again be alone with my thoughts, regrets, and loneliness. I’m not alone yet because I retained Peg’s caretaker as my helper for twelve weeks to clear out the house. She is like a sister to me and a wonderful companion. Just knowing someone is in the house with me is comforting.

Yesterday, I got a call from an agent about an apartment that I  have my eyes on. I’m on a waiting list (currently number thirty) to get into the place. I have never seen what these apartments look like and asked to be shown. When I got the call I got weak in the knees thinking the place became available.  Lucky for me, an apartment became empty and I was able to walk through to see it. Someone else on the list is moving in.

The apartment is very nice, but I had a problem accepting it as a place to call home. Maybe, it is because it is the only building within 500 yards of another. Or maybe because it is occupied by seniors, living in a neighborhood with kids of all ages has some social advantages. Everyday I see people walking past my house with their dogs. In the afternoon I see kids returning from school. In the evenings I often see neighbors exercising their dogs by playing fetch. If I get to feeling alone, I walk up to the library and browse. Social contact is important in one’s life. Living in the senior complex so far away from everyone is definitely a negative.

Another negative of living in an apartment is having to give up my wood shop and Intarsia work. I look forward to giving up my garden, but the shop is another thing. I have worked with wood since I was twelve, but then again I worked with plants since I was four. I think it must be a brain thing.

The worst part of living alone after so many years of marriage is losing the soft cushy body to snuggle with. Although I have just endured four years without snuggles while Peg and I slept in separate beds in the same room. I can go on and on listing the advantages and disadvantages of living single, but it won’t do a thing for me to do so. I just have to live through this and get into a single routine like so many of my friends have already done.

No Extra Words Needed

 

 





Show Time

The curtain goes up at six tonight, and the show begins. Frankfort Lions present their annual Wurst Fest. I like to call it the “BEST Wurst Fest.” This is the club’s major fund raiser for the year. We have many more lessor drives to make money but the Wurst fuels our charities throughout the year. So many people not familiar with Lions ask me “just what do the Lions do?” My response is a lot, then I proceed to rattle off the list.

What do Frankfort Lions Do?

Typical Activities by month:

January—      Winter Games on the Green

KidSight Vision Screenings begin

February–     KidSight Vision Screening

Sights and Sounds Raffle for Lions Illinois Foundation (LIF)

March             Community Showcase

Blood Drive

Information Table

KidSight Vision Screening

Adult Hearing & Vision screening

Diabetes Awareness

Lighthouse Demonstration

Adult Vision Screening at Founder’s Center

April               Easter Food Distribution: Buy, Pack, and Deliver Food to 25 families

Bunny Breakfast-KidSight Vision Screening

Earth Day Clean Up

Birdies for Charity, LIF

May                 Kick off for Wurst Fest Raffle tickets

Clarendale Vision and Hearing Screening

Lincoln Way Scholarship Presentation

June                Wurst Fest Raffle Tickets

Nominate Club Officers

July                 Movies on the Green, Pop corn distribution

Sponsor Library Youth Group in Lions Peace Poster Contest

Wurst Fest Raffle Tickets

Club Election

President’s Night BBQ

August            Rib Fest Water Soft Drink Sale

PD Night Out Against Crime, Water Distribution and presence

Kick off OASIS second support group for vision impaired people

Farmer’s Market Raffle Ticket Sales

Camp Quality-Cook-Serve Lunch

Wurst Fest Raffle & Dance

September     Labor Day Parade, Distribute flags

Raffle Prize Dinner

PD Health Fair-Vision and Hearing Screening

Diabetes Awareness at Silver Cross Hospital

October          Trunk or Treats, Distribute candy treats

Candy Day Collection on Street Corners for LIF

November      Collect money at Jewel for TG turkeys and food

Thanksgiving Food Dist: Buy, Pack, and Deliver Food to 25 families

December      Polar Express/Park District

Collect Money @ Jewel for Christmas Food

Christmas Food Dist: Buy, Pack, and Deliver Food to 25 families

Christmas Gift Distribution for kids in need

We add to the list as new needs are identified. I have chosen to leave off the names of people with  serious impairments or conditions who we have helped in the interest of their privacy. During the year we contribute to over fifty community organizations and/or organizations that help our residents: Where there is a need there is a Lion.

If you want to join the fun and help Lions to serve come on out tonight to the Chamber of Commerce Wine and Beer Garden located at the corner of Oak and Kansas in historic Frankfort. The Wurst is a German themed social gathering featuring German food, German beer, and German music keeping with the German heritage of the community. The highlight of the evening is the raffle. If you were lucky enough to buy one of the two thousand $20 raffle tickets you may win one of seven cash prizes, the largest being $10,000. That same ticket gets two people entry into the venue for an evening of fun and camaraderie, not to mention a buzz from the delicious German beer.

The Lions kick off the much greater community Fall Festival, recently rated as the third best Craft and Arts Fair in the United States. With over two hundred and fifty thousand people attending over the three day Labor Day weekend. This fest is run 100% by volunteers from the village.

Come out to help the LIONS and have a ball too.

She Hit It Outta’ the Park

A truly great essay and a genius level analysis of our millennial generation. How can our youngsters truly know what living poor is all about? They can’t know and never will know until they get into the world and have to fend for themselves. Prosperity is their norm. Please read the attached essay by Alyssa Ahlgren

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To Whom It All Concerns….
My Generation Is Blind to the Prosperity Around Us
I’m sitting in a small coffee shop near Nokomis trying to think of what to write about.
I scroll through my newsfeed on my phone looking at the latest headlines of Democratic candidates calling for policies to fix the so-called injustices of capitalism.
I put my phone down and continue to look around. I see people talking freely, working on their MacBooks, ordering food they get in an instant, seeing cars go by outside, and it dawned on me.
We live in the most privileged time in the most prosperous nation and we’ve become completely blind to it Vehicles, food, technology, freedom to associate with whom we choose.
These things are so ingrained in our American way of life we don’t give them a second thought.
We are so well off here in the United States that our poverty line begins 31 times above the global average. Thirty. One. Times. Virtually no one in the United States is considered poor by global standards.
Yet, in a time where we can order a product off Amazon with one click and have it at our doorstep the next day, we are unappreciative, unsatisfied, and ungrateful.
Our unappreciation is evident as the popularity of socialist policies among my generation continues to grow.
Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently said to Newsweek talking about the millennial generation, “An entire generation, which is now becoming one of the largest electorates in America, came of age and never saw American prosperity.”
Never saw American prosperity!  Let that sink in.
When I first read that statement, I thought to myself, that was quite literally the most entitled and factually illiterate thing I’ve ever heard in my 26 years on this earth.
Many young people agree with her, which is entirely misguided.
My generation is being indoctrinated by a mainstream narrative to actually believe we have never seen prosperity.
I know this first hand, I went to college, let’s just say I didn’t have the popular opinion, but I digress.
Why then, with all of the overwhelming evidence around us, evidence that I can even see sitting at a coffee shop, do we not view this as prosperity?
We have people who are dying to get into our country. People around the world destitute and truly impoverished.
Yet, we have a young generation convinced they’ve never seen prosperity, and as a result, elect politicians dead set on taking steps towards abolishing capitalism. Why?
The answer is this, my generation has only seen prosperity. We have no contrast. We didn’t live in the great depression, or live through two world wars, the Korean War, The Vietnam War or see the rise and fall of socialism and communism.
We don’t know what it’s like to live without the internet, without cars, without smartphones.
We don’t have a lack of prosperity problem. We have an entitlement problem, an ungratefulness problem, and it’s spreading like a plague.”

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

When one lives in prosperity from the minute they are born, how can they understand poverty? People of my generation witnessed the struggle of our parents working to give us what they never had. My grandfather John sent my Dad to America because he “could not feed him”. My Dad left, and never looked back. He knew what poverty was.

My dad had an aversion to potatoes, and when I challenged him once on why he didn’t take any potatoes at the Sunday dinner table he told me “I ate enough potatoes in my home country.” He left when he was seventeen. In my mind that is a whole lot of potatoes to eat in seventeen short years.

As an adult, I traveled to the far east on my job. I visited some pretty poor places in Malaysia and Indonesia. I came home with one major impression. These people work for pennies per hour because they are hungry and those pennies represent more money than they have ever seen before.  In the USA we have people who protest the poor wages in these far away countries yet our poverty level salary would make the people in those countries very rich. As my mother reminded me often “we have a loaf of bread under each arm and we complain that we don’t have anything to eat.”

What socialist leaning millennials do not understand is that to bring the level of poverty up in the world will also mean reducing the wealth of our nation. So the complaint of never having seen prosperity will reverse to seeing poverty in a grossly mis-calculated backfire.

I Had a Date With An Angel

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A couple of weeks ago, i went to lunch with my friend and his wife They live in Georgia, the state not the country, and were staying at his wife’s twin sister’s house. I asked him to include his sister-in-law. At the same time I asked my daughter to join the party too. The five of us had a wonderful lunch at the Trail’s Edge restaurant and brewery. Although the place has been open since January, it was my first time there. It was nice. After lunch we continued on to the Creamery, a small roadhouse serving soft serve ice cream delights. It is a long time Frankfort business that maintains itself as an old time business. Open from March through October the place is loaded every day with parents and kids lined up and waiting to buy any number of soft serve treats.

The five of us sat around a concrete table on matching concrete benches enjoying the mid-afternoon sun while wolfing down turtle sundaes. Ice cream doesn’t stay solid very long when it is in the high eighties, and the sun is bright, ergo the wolfing. We spent the better part of an hour shooting the breeze before my friend began to fall asleep. He has Parkinson’s disease and tires easily. Long gone are the days when he and I challenged each other on who could reach the top of a hill faster on our bikes during our one week bicycle-camping trips. Most times he won the challenge. One time, while riding up a hill in Nova Scotia he pedaled so hard he stripped the threads on his rear chain cog; he literally blew his transmission. The rest of that story is in my chronicle of the trip on my blog homepage under the button Bicyclist-Nova Scotia-The Other Side of the Story.

We finished our sundaes and said our goodbyes. I had to drive my daughter home and decided to take a route that was a couple of miles further into the country to avoid the shortest route which was a confirmed speed trap. Try driving thirty-five miles an hour through miles of corn and soybeans. The road I chose was also through corn and soybeans and a beautiful traffic-free drive. I chatted with Jacque and the speedometer needle crept up near sixty. The Death Star has a propensity to go faster when I am not paying attention. I spotted a black SUV parked on the opposite side of the road almost touching the six foot tall corn. I payed no attention to it until I blew by and saw the large white letters spelling out “POLICE” on the side. Oh, oh, I said and looked into the rearview he’s turning around to come after me. He did catch up to me and insisted I pull over. A very young police officer asked for my license and insurance registration. I meekly handed it over without a word. I did ask him which jurisdiction he worked in. “Manhattan” he replied. I was as far from Manhattan as one could get and still be within the limits. “I’m sorry,” I said, “where is the road marked with the limit?” Oh its marked right after the last intersection. (About three quarters of a mile back). “The limit is thirty-five mph.” (in the middle of a houseless stretch of corn and soy beans). So much for avoiding a speed trap.

He gave me three options to stay out of jail: 1.) Pay the speeding fine of $165, and get the citation pegged to my record. 2. ) Pay $205, take a driver safety course, and keep the mark off my license. 3.) Go to court and take my chances with a judge.

I’m not going to take my chances with a judge. No telling what political persuasion the judge may be. If he/she learns I am the opposite of him politically, my odds of getting off are non-existent. My odds of getting off regardless are non-existent. My decision will be whether or not waste four hours and an extra forty dollars to keep the citation off my license. I plan on driving a lot in the upcoming year so I’m leaning toward the safety class. What the heck, I might meet some foxy old lady in class and hook up.

My daughter knows me well enough to keep her mouth shut about the stop while we were in the car together, and we continued our date the rest of the way home as if nothing happened. I told her I planned the stop for her entertainment.

 

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