Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rainy day fun

We had big plans for Sunday, but then the rains began. Even though I carried a huge umbrella, my pants were dripping onto my feet when I got home from church. Our friends called and apologized that they could not come over for lunch as we had planned. They couldn’t imagine coming through the downpour and bringing their dripping children into our house.

Alla re-set the table for the two of us and we feasted on a meal originally intended to feed six. (Yes, we had leftovers.) We talked about going back to the Museum of Fine Arts to see the Chihuly exhibit one more time before it closed, but decided against fighting the rain and the crowds. Instead, Alla curled up with a book and I got out the slide projector.

About two years ago my dad sent me thousands of slides that he had collected until sometime in the 1970’s when his lifestyle began to change. Overwhelmed, I put the boxes into a far corner and waited for an auspicious time to sort through them and decide which to keep. Finally, I decided after lunch to choose a few from these thousands to salvage.

The first box I opened contained the most recent stuff, from 1973-1974. My parents went to Japan a couple of times then, and my dad joined some mountaineering expeditions with the Mazama club in Oregon. I stormed through the slides, loading a roll at a time into my projector and picking out one or two photos from each roll. While I enjoyed some of the scenic photographs, I didn’t spend long with most of them. I developed a rhythm, click-click-clicking through a roll and stopping only for the really great photos.

After getting through half of the slides, I got tired, bored and hungry. I stopped for dinner and planned to put away the projector and save the remaining slides for later. I didn’t particularly enjoy looking through so many pictures of places I’d never seen and people I didn’t know. But after my break I decided to finish the project for the sake of efficiency. This time I found myself digging into the older stuff (where I appeared more often!) I found pictures depicting the Christmas when Santa brought my brother a toy saxophone and left me a toy trumpet. Roger hadn’t gotten up yet, so I rushed into my parents’ bedroom and told them I really wanted the saxophone. They allowed me to switch the instruments before Roger saw anything. I saw the saxophone again on Sunday, and it brought back far more than a memory of two little boys.

I also found pictures of our bikes decorated for Play Day at school. Play Day! I’d forgotten that too. Once a year we set aside all academic considerations and played. The festivities included a bicycle rodeo, for which we always decorated our bikes with colored crepe paper. A policeman would come to spend the morning with us and judge our cycling abilities. He would also run a little demonstration to show us how much time it takes to stop a car from the moment one of the teachers fired a piece of chalk into the pavement from a gun mounted on his bumper. Then he’d measure the distance from the chalk mark to the bumper and tell us all to be careful around cars.

All the slides are gone now. I selected about 800 favorites and sent them off to a slide-scanning service, where they promise to start work on my shipment sometime next month. The thousands of rejects have already left the city, sent wherever Boston buries its trash.

No comments:

Post a Comment