My First Year
Pappy’s flash technology did a nice job of capturing little me. Valerie says I’m a couple months old, here. I’da guessed younger, but what do I know?

That couch — it figures in several shots here — stirs vague memories, believe it or not. Mostly tactile and olfactory. I don’t think it went with us to California, five years later.

This classic Anniversary Speed Graphic camera looks very much like what I remember of Pappy’s treasured real-newspaper-photographer’s-big-black machine.
This story belongs later, but I’ll forget it if I don’t squeeze it in here. Note the flash attachment: this was too late for the pile of flash powder on the hand-held mortarboard. It was detachable, so that the photographer could adjust his subject’s illumination.

Sometimes the flashbulbs would fizzle when they were supposed to flash. Once, when that happened, I reached in to pull out the “dud,” and it went off in my hand. Nasty burns. One of my most painful childhood memories. Slept a couple of nights with my little paw dangling in a bedside bowl of ice water.
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(1941-46)
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