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Film Rescue International

Earlier this year, I sent in a roll of film we found in an old Kodak Vest Pocket Autographic camera to Film Rescue International for their cycle starting April 1, 2014.  The camera was in my grandfather’s office and was presumably my great grand uncle Herb’s at some point.  Herb probably took it off to war with him and after he passed away, my grandfather kept the camera since he was quite the shutterbug.  As far as turn-around time goes, I had a link to the scans in my inbox on May 16th.  It ended up costing $34 for 5 images which is steep, but I’m not sure I would’ve trusted film that was over 30 years old to just anyone.  Even though Kodak Verichrome Pan is more stable than other films, it could have been anywhere between 30-50 years old, and the possibility of some lackey at a lab not familiar with developing old film screwing up what may have been priceless photos was just too much of a risk to take.  As it turns out, there was nothing really precious on the roll, but it’s great to know for sure, rather than sit around wondering what the heck is on there.  I am VERY happy with the level of communication and the extra care they take to manage expectations.  Expired and old film is a real crapshoot and sometimes you win big, sometimes you lose big.  I opted to download the free scans (at 532×864, 300 dpi), but if I wanted quality copies, I could’ve purchased the full resolution download for $.99 each with a 20% discount if I placed an order in the first two weeks.  The images are available on their website for a full year.  They mailed me the developed negatives in plastic sleeves along with the original spool and backing paper.

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The images are below, and that first image is the one I shot out of the front door of grandpa’s old house when I realized there was still live film inside.  Clearly, I’ve got some practicing to do if I want to use the camera again, but it appears to be light leak free which is a plus!  The next three shots are of grandpa’s junkyard in the snow which helps me date them to somewhere in the 1970s probably and the last one is the view from great grandma Olga’s house.  It’s a view that shows up over and over again in photos, so it’s one I’m very familiar with, even if the house no longer exists.

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Sepia Saturday 246: Children, tents, fences, fields, poppies, smocks, sailor-suits

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Well, I couldn’t resist posting these two for this week’s Sepia Saturday.  When I saw the prompt photo, these two immediately came to mind, mostly because they match the prompt photo so well!  I’ve pasted what’s written on the back of the photo at the bottom of the image because it’s fun to see the handwriting, especially from other countries.  I think the photos are probably from about 1930 +- 5 years and are from my husband’s Dutch family, likely taken somewhere in northern Holland.

Left Photo: We have, Left to Right, Ellechien Dijkemna, Geertje Bouwman, and Willemina Dijkema.  “Elly” and “Mien” were sisters of my husband’s paternal grandmother, Hilje Dijkema.  Geertje is probably a family friend of some sort – I haven’t been able to connect her to the tree yet.  I have to imagine that Hilje took the photo since she’s in the next photo.

Right Photo: Left to Right are Ellechien Dijkema and Hilje Dijkema.  Different dog in this photo!

The set looks like a nice afternoon out somewhere.  I can’t tell if they’re actualy camping or just using the tent for shade.  Either way, it makes for a charming set of photos for this week’s theme, showing that the three sisters spent lots of time together as young girls.

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Sepia Saturday 245: Drinking, sharing, posing, lurking

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When the prompt for this week came up, my mind almost immediately went to this photo.  Five young men standing outside a fair that apparently runs September 11-14th and may be a circus from the Barnum & Bailey sign in the background.  The young man in the light colored hat, second from the right (including the lurker in the background by the door), I believe is my great grand uncle Harry Oscar Frederick “Fritz” Powis (b. 1 May 1903, Blain City, Clearfield, PA; d. 22 Jun 1972, Philipsburg, Centre, PA).  The man standing to the left of Fritz, I think is either George Riley or Floyd Shank.  I have another photo with two men in uniform, one of whom looks an awful lot like the gentleman in uniform here, but I don’t know who is who in the other photo!  I hit two of the themes this week between posing and lurking, and how about the tie on the man on the far left!  As far as a year for the photo, I’d guess somewhere around 1919 or so.  I’m not sure at all who the other two young boys are or the man in the tie.  Still, it’s a neat photo, even if it’s a bit faded and worn!

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Sepia Saturday 244: Itinerant Entertainers, Hurdy Gurdy Man, Unusual Pets, Monkeying Around

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Two photos to fit the theme, even if a rabbit isn’t really that unusual of a pet.  I didn’t have any photos of itinerant entertainers, so these two will have to suffice for this week!

On The Left: My grandpa, Leon Kitko (b. 20 Mar 1933, PA, died 18 Jun 2011, Clearfield, PA), holding a rabbit.  It’s a rare photo of him with a beard – he kept his face clean shaven nearly all of his life except for a brief period around 1954 where he shows up in a few photos with a beard.  A rabbit really isn’t an unusual pet, but among the many photos of their pets, this is the only one that isn’t a cat or dog!  I never heard stories about a rabbit from grandpa, but it’s clear he had one at some point!

On The Right: My grandma (step-grandma.. Leon’s second wife, not my biological grandmother, but I always knew her as grandma), Romayne (Greenaway) Kitko (b. 30 May 1936, PA, d. 7 Jan 2013, Clearfield, PA).  She was quite the musician her whole life from piano to organ and even the accordion!  This is a scan from a negative, so I don’t know when exactly this was taken, but I’d assume sometime in the 1950s.  She’s sitting at the back of her childhood home at the well, perfectly posed and coiffed, playing on the accordian.

Short and sweet this week!  It was nice to be able to include different photos from this set of grandparents who have both passed away.  Having memories like this and photos from their younger years really helps keep the memory alive and I’m so glad I have a chance to share them with Sepia Saturday as well!

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Sepia Saturday 242: Fans, Faces, National Costumes, Hidden Meanings

I really love it when a Sepia Saturday prompt really makes me think or leads me to a new discovery.  In this case, it’s definitely a new discovery and the prompt helped me link up a few pieces of an old puzzle.  In the trunk of photos from Grandpa’s house, there was a large-ish photo (about 8×10) of a native tribe’s band.  I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why my great-great grandmother would’ve had such a large photo of a band like this, and left the mystery behind since there were SO many more to work on.  Here enters this week’s prompt where I nail two categories, National Costumes and Hidden Meanings.  Below is a photo of the Ogonomowok (or Oconomowok, spelling is different from the drum to the banner) tribe band.  It’s the only photo in my collection that really fit, so I figured I’d go with it, even if it was a mystery.  I started zooming in on the faces, and poked around the newspaper archive to see what came up for the band.  There’s an article from June 14, 1917 in the Altoona Tribune in Pennsylvania stating that the tribe band participated in a parade ending the Great Council of the “Improved Order of Red Men.”  Great grand uncle Alfred Herbert Powis (b. 28 Oct 1892 in Blain City, Clearfield, PA; d. 6 Jul 1926, Clearfield, PA), affectionately referred to as “Herb,” was in a number of bands throughout his life, and the trunk had a bunch of photos of him posing with his trumpet.  Looking closer at the photos, it looks like the man standing up, 5th in from the left, is Herb!  I’ve added another photo in for comparison’s sake to see if you agree or not.  In the other photo, he’s very clearly identified with an “X” over his head.  The second image is dated as, “Herbert, 1918, overseas,” so it seems that these two were taken within a year or so of eachother.

As far as Hidden Meanings, Herb was 100% British, the first son born in America of two parents from England, so I was stumped as to why he was in a Native American costume.  The band members do have different colored costumes, so I wondered if perhaps people with Native American heritage were in the darker uniforms, and ordinary band members were in the lighter uniforms, or if the band was just for fun and had little to do with the tribe other than the namesake.  The Wikipedia article linked above though, clued me in that the organization was a fraternal society established to promote Liberty and defy the tyrrany of the English Crown, using rituals and regalia modeled after Native American tribes.  In fact, Wikipedia goes on to point out, the organization was Whites Only until 1974!  So, the “National Costume” is a “Hidden Meaning” in and of itself.  Turns out the photo was absolutely nothing that I assumed it to be at first glance.  I won’t get into how I feel about an organization of white men using Native American dress and terms to form a fraternal order – that’s something for another post.

In closing, I want to thank Sepia Saturday for challenging me to explore these old family photos and bringing about new discoveries!

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