This post inspired by Frank at Dutch goes the Photo

The prompt: Technology


Bell & Howell movie projector
Purchased 1983
400 ft & 50 ft reels of film


One of my favorite memories as a child was home movie night.
When my grandparents would visit. And the 8mm movie projector was hauled out with great fanfare and set up in the living room on a card table. The screen slid out of its long narrow tattered cardboard box. Metal supports positioned on the carpeted floor. Screen unrolled and hooked tight.

My family would gather & find seats. Kids usually cross legged on the floor. Waited for my father or grandfather to get the film threaded properly. It seemed there was always an issue. Nothing was automatic. The damn film got stuck. Wait a minute. I’ll have to trim it. Okay here we go.

Finally, the window shades were pulled down. Lights out. The room illuminated only by the projector bulb.

Then magic happened. Flickering images of the “old days” appeared on the screen. My parents in their early twenties. My grandparents mugging for the camera – much too young to be my grandparents…but there they were!  My sisters, brother and I as babies. Toddlers. Christmas mornings. Easter baskets. Birthday parties.

My siblings and I…fascinated. Eyes glued to the screen.

The only sound…the humming projector. Interspersed with the whirring and clicking of rewinding and changing each 3 minute long reel.  With no audio….

The original silent home movie. 8mm and later – Super 8mm.

I was forever hooked. My mouth hung open in disbelief at the power of this machine to go back in time. Or so it seemed. Even without sound, it was better than television. When I reached high school age, I was honored to be the one who set up home movie night. Learning to thread the film into the projector. Trimming when necessary.

It was perfectly natural to continue this obsession when I became a mom.

First with a super 8mm movie camera. I had to control myself. Three minutes went by fast. Film sent to Kodak for processing wasn’t cheap. In 1983 we added the movie projector – and a screen – to watch the movies of our baby daughter. Six years later, our son. Christmas. Easter. Birthday parties. Watching a storm. Running in the backyard. At the beach….

We eventually graduated to a camcorder. Next a digital movie camera. Then a phone.

I preserved the home movies of my childhood by having them transferred to videotape in the 1990’s. I held my breath until I got them back in the mail from the video conversion company. Which had first spliced the movies onto over a dozen 400 foot reels. Safely returned along with the videotapes. Which we later added music to. And duplicated for my family members.

Decades later, when the tapes began to disintegrate, I digitized them on my computer.

Grateful for more technology to keep memories alive.

I still have the movie reels. The projector. Just in case. Trusting what I can hold in my hand. No offense to thumb drives, platter drives, solid state drives…phones…and clouds everywhere.

Below is a snippet of a (silent) 3 minute movie I took of my daughter, who is narrating what she sees out the open window.

Hurricane Gloria – September 1985.
Transferred from 8mm movie film to videotape to a M4v digital file.
Old technology saved by the new.




A Memorable Tradition


Easter Sunday was for dressing up…when I was young: “fancy” pastel colored dress, white socks and black patent leather shoes.

And a hat.  An Easter Bonnet type of hat. The kind your mother wrapped in tissue and stored carefully in a cardboard “hat box.” Whisked away from your sticky little hands and tucked on a shelf, safe until the next holiday. They were often made of straw… decorated with artificial flowers. Secured on your head with a ribbon or scratchy elastic band.

I was never a dress-up kind of girl.  My hat was much simpler than my sister’s…and was usually perched askew on my head. I actually kind of liked it. Simple. Primary colors.

Along with the hat came a “Spring Coat.” Also only worn for Easter and going to church. Maybe Mother’s Day. Not real comfortable for playing outside; which was my preference. But easier to wear than the dreaded itchy wool “Winter Coat.”

One Easter – when I was 5 and my sister was 3 – we needed to pose for a photo on the new backyard swing. Complete with our traditional Easter outfits. I’m in the red coat. She’s in the yellow one.

Apparently it took a few minutes to get seated…

easter 1959-1 copy
easter 1959-2 copy

easter 1959038 copy


This Easter tradition continued for a few years with my daughter, who at 5, was also in the spirit…with a hat passed down from one of her aunts.

easter hat 1987 April


Happy Memories.


This morning at church, I noticed children in their Easter finery…including one white straw hat.

Easter Sunday…still a day for dressing up.


Inspired by April photo a day challenge
Today’s challenge: Tradition

Also: One Word Sunday
The theme: Memory




This post inspired by Ragtag Daily Prompt

A timely prompt…egg…as it is almost Easter.

In our house, while raising our children, coloring hard boiled eggs was an Easter tradition.

As it was when I was growing up…


At the kitchen table.
The smell of vinegar in the air.

Easter as a child: the anticipation…first the eggs. Then the wait for Easter morning and the hunt for hidden baskets. Chocolate bunnies! Jelly beans! Marshmallow Peeps!

The same wire holders. Newspapers spread out to catch the inevitable drips.

Tiny color pellets – one for each custard cup (in my childhood) – teacup (for my kids). Dissolving into what seemed like magical colors. Dip the egg in quick or let it soak. Or maybe dip in halfway. Turn it over and try a different color for the other half. This took practice.

Mastering the balancing act…without dropping the egg on the floor…an Easter rite of passage…

My daughter and son…each at 3 years old…experts!


easter eggs1992
Ages 10 and 4 – Go Team!


Last year around this time, I wrote a post about Easter.
I described my favorite book from childhood…featuring Easter eggs and the Easter bunny…who overslept.
The sweetest story…
And the illustrations…sigh.
Well worth mentioning again.
If you want to check it out…Almost Easter 2018