23 January 2009

Three years ago, during my annual visit to Florida, my mom and I began a long-overdue project of organizing and labelling the photos from my childhood. Daddy always shot 35 mm and had the photos made into slides. Slideshows were a regular part of lots of family gatherings—like birthdays and anniversaries . . . the slides that had been made since the last gathering, would be viewed for the first time. Mama always used a polaroid for the day to day stuff, but all the vacation photos were on slides.

About a fifth or so of the way through the organization project, the light on the slide projector went dark. Since we were using a machine that had likely been new at about the time I was born—maybe earlier—getting a bulb for it was a little more complicated than running to the hardware store. The project had to be shelved.

Mama eventually found a bulb online, and we were finally going to tackle the job again this week. Only, today, we discovered that there are actually two slide projectors—one for the loose slides and straight magazines of slides, and the other for the round carousels of slides. And the one we needed to use for most of the job had another burned out bulb! So, John has ordered the darn thing and it should arrive within a couple of days or so. It became quite the production though, to figure out the disassembly and working details of these two old machines. When we finally figured out we had a bad bulb, then it was an ordeal to get the bulb out! After all, it had sat in there for most of forty years or so. It did not want to come out. I finally coaxed it out, but in the process became quite intrigued with the simplistic beauty of this slice of mid-twentieth century technology.