My grandfather Opa left behind a large box of photographic slides. Hundreds of them encased in shiny metal slide mounts. Fitted into 1940’s and 1950’s era slide magazine cases. For viewing in a slide projector.
I inherited this box of treasured memories of the many travels he and my Oma embarked on…before advancing age and illness ended their adventures.
After unearthing the box in our basement during the let’s-get-ready-to-downsize years, I removed all the slides from the magazines…and mounts. Viewed them on a lighted slide sorter. And kept a sampling of my favorites (eventually inspiring one of my first blog posts…slides!)
The bright color caught my eye. The trademark yellow-with-red-lettering Kodachrome logo. Empty boxes that once held carousels of slides. I didn’t notice any slides or carousels; obviously not recyclable. The boxes had tumbled out of a recycling container that I passed on a recent walk. Put to the curb. Recycling day. But I wondered about their contents. What happened to the slides? Did they get scanned? Printed? Or handed down to the next generation (I wondered hopefully…). I recognized those boxes and that logo because that was me a few years ago. My late grandfather photographed with slide film. He took pictures everywhere: on fishing trips, hunting trips, trips to Europe, Asia and around the USA. He also photographed his family, especially his grandchildren when they were young. Anyone who is still familiar with slides knows the quality is superior to film. To view 50-plus year old slide images is to step back in time.
My grandfather, who we called Opa, loved his grandchildren and loved to take slides, polaroids and 8mm home movies of us. I remember the bright pop of the flashbulb, which he licked before inserting in the flash unit of his camera. Usually while balancing a cigarette in one hand or while it hung from the corner of his mouth. (Throughout my childhood, I always held my breath waiting for the cigarette to fall out and set him or the house on fire. Fortunately it never did). Now I have those slides.
He also took hundreds of photos on his many trips with my grandmother Oma. A few years ago I went through the large box of slide boxes and “magazines” (for slide projectors pre-carousel) that had been handed down to me. Opa had sorted them but only labeled sporadically. Venice –Paris – Zurich – Florence – Pompeii – Naples – Rome – Switzerland– Madrid – India – Germany – ???
I looked at every slide, curious and fascinated by the people and places he framed and preserved. I estimate the time frame to be in the 1940’s – 1960’s. I wonder if he ever loaded the magazines into a slide projector, sat back and watched the images one by one. I sure hope so.