This is the first photograph ever taken that shows a human being. I did not take this picture. I wasn’t born until a hundred and one years later.
1838 IMAGE: PUBLIC DOMAIN
“I have seized the light. I have arrested its flight.” LOUIS DAGUERRE, 1839
The picture, the earliest known photo to include a recognizable human form, was taken in Paris, France, in 1838 by Louis Daguerre. The human in question is standing in the bottom-left of the photograph, on the pavement by the curve in the road. He is having his boots shined. The exposure time for the image was around seven minutes and although the street would have been busy with traffic and pedestrians, everything was moving too fast to register on the plate.
However, the oldest known photograph of me was taken one hundred years later by my father. It too, had to be taken out-of-doors, because they hadn’t invented a flash attachment for the Kodak Box Camera of that era.
1940 IMAGE: FAMILY ALBUM
“That’s my boy! And he sat still for this picture.” LEO B EDLER, 1940
In case you are interested, this was the camera that took all the family pictures throughout the 30s, 40s and early 50s. Don’t you just love that deco design?
For Christmas in 1955 I was given what would become the NEW family camera. The Kodak Hawkeye Camera that finally used flashbulbs.
It took all the family photos until I finally bought my first real camera … actually made in Germany. OK, East Germany.
That was when I set up a darkroom in the basement. But that was when a camera actually used film. Since then I’ve gone through a number of different cameras. And yes, I even had a Polaroid. BRIEFLY!
My most recent photo!
Yes, yesterday was that time again! And yes, I’ll admit it … I’m growing older!
And that kid hanging on the fence wasn’t even invited to the party.
Over the years, I’ve collected a list of famous and/or infamous people who also were born on September 5. From the high-born King Louis XIV of France (aka. The Sun King), Freddie Mercury, Jesse James, Michael Keaton, Raquel Welch, Bob Newhart, Jack Daniel, George Lazenby, Dwezzil Zappa, John Cage, Carol Lawrence, Werner Herzog, Bill Mazeroski, Jack Valenti, Loudon Wainwright III, and also me. Only one person on the list was born on the same day and year as I was though
As a Virgo born on September 5th, we are known for our great organization skills and will power. Even in hectic situations that would overwhelm others, we can always find a way to bring control and order. Our skills become especially evident in group settings, where our understanding of others allows us to naturally take on the leadership role. When dealing with challenges that we find particularly important, our friends and family are amazed at our ability to do whatever necessary to get the job done. I also doubt if anyone on the list is very humble.
And yes, I am no longer thirty-nine, but to borrow a few song lyrics from Bob Merrill …
The Moon has a few new wrinkles
It shines a bit more silver now than gold
I’m stayin’ young, I’m stayin’ young
But everything around me’s growin’ old
The house has the creaks and trembles
And winter leaves her shiverin’ from cold
I’m stayin’ young, I’m stayin’ young
It’s wonderful the way I hold my own
When everything surrounding me has grown so old
I passed on an invitation to go to the Japanese Festival at the Botanical Garden today. Mainly because we were being threatened with dire forecasts of storms throughout the entire day. There’s nothing soggier than a Japanese maiden in a rain-soaked kimonos. So when the overnight thunderstorms failed to appear by 8:00 am, I decided to get up and cut the overgrown back lawn. I suspect that twelve-inch tall crab grass qualifies as overgrown and even over-groan. I didn’t cut it at the normal grass height since the grass was too tall for that. So when I finished cutting two hours later, the grass was cut to the normal height it is when I decide it is time to cut the lawn. So if the promised thunderstorms and /or tornadoes fail to show up today or tomorrow, I can cut it all over again!
Labor Day never meant much to me. When I was a kid, it was always the day before I had to go back to school. Remember back then school didn’t have to start the last two weeks in August, because we didn’t have anything like SNOW DAYS. Rain or shine, sleet or snow … we didn’t get off because the school buses couldn’t run, because we didn’t have school buses — we walked to school.
It meant a lot to my father though, because he was a laborer in a steel manufacturing factory. He made doors. I was never a laborer though. My first job was an as office boy or mail boy. Then after I got through college, I was able to work myself up to traffic director and copywriter trainee in advertising. So while I worked, I never really labored. Using your brain and being creative never did count as laboring.
My mother never really worked either. She was a house-wife which put her and other women in the same category as beasts of burden back in those olden days. She was always one to note that one Labor Day back in 1939, she did labor most of the entire day. I was born in the early hours the next day. She said she never worked so hard in her life, but I was worth it. Guess, that’s why I took care of her until she was 96.
September 4, 1939 — It was Labor Day — it was the day after the invasion of Poland and the start of World War II — it was the day my dad was going to take her to see the Wizard Of Oz at the Fox — it was the day she spent her 27th birthday at St. Louis Maternity Hospital in labor waiting for me to arrive.
Had a bit of internet problems this week. While West Walnut Manor is not located in the immediate area where this week’s protests and rioting have been occurring, my internet provider’s substation is located across the street from all the action. And it was hacked by that group called Anonymous. As a result, the signal from all six local TV stations were reduced to silent static. Also the internet connection was reduced to donkey cart speed. While it took them two days to get the local stations back, it took a little longer to get the speed back. So I just took a couple of days off for an internet vacation.
For better or worse, I’m back again. And today was the monthly get-together with the Castaways’ Lunch Bunch … a group of former co-workers who get together on a somewhat irregular basis to dine and gab. Today we went to THE HILL for a bit of Italian soul food.
Hey, the lunch and chit-chat was good, too. I had my usual Italian restaurant order … cod-fish with fries with slaw on the side.
And O’CONNELL’S PUB in one of Saint Louis’ classic red brick buildings that dates back to 1905. And yes, it was a tavern back then, too.
He was just a teen when I was born. So I was like a little brother to his big brother.
This was the day I brought Mlle. Renee home and she is holding the first toy she ever owned.
She had been rescued on the streets of the city when she was six months old by the Missouri Humane Society. They performed surgery on her and nursed her back to health. I was there the first day they put her up for adoption. When she saw me, she said I had to take her home with me. I did, and they gave her the Hershey Boy to take home, too.
I also just realized that August is NATIONAL SANDWICH MONTH. And while I don’t want to go through the hassle of creating and eating a different sandwich for each day of the month, I did want to do something to honor the month. I also didn’t have a slice of bread in the house. So, since it was also Throw Back Thursday, I decided to make something I would have enjoyed when I was a kid. So, I whipped up a quick batch of my flakey biscuits and got out my Grandmother’s Throw Back cookie cutter and made a pan of chicken shaped biscuits to serve as my bread.
That’s peanut butter, strawberry jam and melted marshmallow …
On a chicken shaped biscuit with two mini-PEEPs on the side.
I even was able to make a pan of irregular-shaped regular biscuits that should last me a couple of days.
I guessed you probably realized that it has been raining all night and day so far.
THE BUSTER BROWN BUTTERFLY
Today’s butterfly was inspired by childhood memories. When I was a kid my mother and father would walk down Saint Louis Avenue to 14th Street. Back in the post war 40’s 14th Street was a bustling shopping area in North Saint Louis. The hadn’t invented shopping centers back then. So, if you were shopping, you either went downtown where the department stores were or you went to 14th Street or Grand Avenue on the Near North Side. They also had shopping areas on the south side of the city … but to shop there required a long streetcar ride. So 14th Street was closest for us. And the shoes of choice for any kid who listen to the radio and Smiling Ed McConnell, Midnight the Cat, Groggy Gremlin and Squeaky the Mouse were Buster Brown shoes.
Who could forget the famous Buster Brown tag line … THAT’S MY DOG TIGE. HE LIVES IN A SHOE. I’M BUSTER BROWN, LOOK FOR ME IN THERE, TOO! Little did I realize that when I got my first job in advertising, it would be working for a shoe company owned by Brown Shoe Company … the company that made Buster Brown.Shoes. Thankfully, I never had any desire to name Mlle. Renee TIGE! But I did name today’s origami butterfly after Buster Brown. There is a sad tale about Tige though, he was an American Bull Terrier with a toothy grin.
In the late 20th century the Bull Terrier became known as a PIT BULL, a dog trained to fight other dogs viciously. And mother’s became excited about the kids being frightened by poor Tige. So the ad mavens had poor Tige redrawn into a happy faced lap dog…And my childhood dog and shoe idol was gone forever. Maybe I should have named my butterfly TIGE. Butterflies don’t have teeth.
But, the weather wizards won’t guarantee how long it’s going to last. Renee and I slept in this morning and didn’t get up until 9:30. Actually, she’s still snoozing next to my chair. Dogs are great nappers, not to be confused with Nipper, the real fox/bull terrier who lived with his master at the old Prince’s Theater in London in the late 19th Century who went on to worldwide fame and glory as an advertising logo for multitude of recording companies … His Master’s Voice, HMV, EMI, RCA, Victor Talking Machine Company, RCA Victor, JVC and Deutsche Grammophon.My Grandfather, who was known to family and friends as Skip, had dog named Spot that looked like Nipper, and he often tried to convince me that Spot was the dog on the record labels. I was the first grandson and I believed everything he told me. I also considered Spot as my dog who just lived with him and Grandma. Spot lived to his early 20’s and when he went blind he actually had his own much smaller guide dog named Nippy who would lead him around the house and yard. The sad part is people never wasted film on taking pictures of pets back then. So I don’t have a picture of my first dog. I do have a photo of my grandfather though.It’s one of three photos I have of him. Like Spot, he didn’t pose for photos a lot.
If you’re a regular visitor here, you’ll remember that back in April I stated that I wasn’t able to buy any PEEPS for Easter this year. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I went to Target the other day and discovered …
the new PEEPS minis in Chocolate Crème, Strawberry Crème and unfortunately, Sour Watermelon‽ Also the minis aren’t just mini, they really look more like snakes that have been run over by a truck or a school bus than little chick PEEPS.
They also look like they have vampire eyes. But at 14 calories, they’ll do until next Easter.