Thursday, November 13, 2014

Echoes of Summer: Now and Then, Past and Present


The only place where my past and present merge completely is in New Hampshire, at our house on Lake Winnipesaukee.  A few years ago, inspired by a website called Dear Photograph, I merged my past and present by taking pictures of old photographs against the background of the original location.  It was much more difficult than I had anticipated, lining up those photographs of the past with the present.  

It is actually impossible to line up the past and present, but we come close, as close as we can, with our summer trips to NH.

Blowing bubbles on the dock in 1963.  This is my favorite photo from the early days of NH.
I made my first trip to the lake that very first summer, the summer I turned one. My earliest memories are of the water, the sky, the sunsets and the mountains, of the watermelon spitting contests, the bubbles, glass-bottomed boats, and breakfast around an old table with an oilcloth cover, of driving up Mount Washington, riding the cruise ship of the same name, exploring the Polar Caves and shopping in Black's, a store that exists even now. 

We lived without television until my senior year in college and, even then, we could pull in only one grainy station on the old black and white. The old rotary phone, a clunky bakelite antique, still exists in a drawer in one of the bedrooms, but the party line that existed well into my teenage years is long-gone. Only my mother mourned its demise as she fancied spying on the neighbors by listening in on the calls, something she never did. Of course, we often interrupted their calls when we picked up the phone to make our own.

If I were to guess, I would think that these were taken either at Storybook Forest or at Polar Caves in NH around 1966 or 1967.  Dad looks like he is very popular with the four-legged set.
There was a pattern to those days of my childhood that I try to repeat with each visit north. We would wake each morning and discuss the field trip to come. The mornings were spent exploring the area, visiting new attractions and revisiting old friends. Come afternoon, we would sit out on the dock, swim in the water with our feet avoiding the muck on the bottom created by the leaves that fell each autumn or read books that took us around the world. Nancy Drew was a favorite. Around 3pm, my mom would bring down our afternoon snack. If it was, by chance, the beloved watermelon, my brother, dad and I would compete to see who could spit their seeds the furthest.  Dad always won. On rainy days, we played cards on the kitchen table. This is where I learned to play poker, much to my mom's chagrin. We kept pennies in an old metal box which originally stored Band-Aids. That box and those pennies are still in a drawer in the dining room cabinet.

On some days, we would take out a rowboat, a fiberglass miracle that allowed us to see what lurked below. There used to be two of these boats, but only one survives and, for the most part, it stays in the murky basement as no one has sufficient enthusiasm to haul the heavy thing out to the water and then back in. 
After dinner, we might go down "to the bay," the part of our village where everyone went after dinner. We played mini-golf at the Blue Jay or watched the roller skaters and played pinball games at the Pavilion.  The mini-golf was sold and renovated a while ago and the Pavilion is now five condominiums, but the ice cream stand remains, tormenting us even now. At night, my brother and I would lie in bed (we shared a room until I was 12 or so) and "write" letters on the ceiling with a flashlight or just read until we could last no longer.  E.B. White's Trumpet of the Swan was one of the books I distinctly remember reading by flashlight.


In looking at old photos of those days, I can see that not all that much has changed at the camp, though. The rope beds have been replaced with modern, comfortable ones. The old fridge that was a danger to small children everywhere has met the junkyard. The bookshelves in the living room have collapsed and the books have disappeared. Squirrels are no longer able to run through the walls. Some things, like my mother's desk with the built-in blotter, were stolen during the long winters when no one visited. 

But the smell is the same, a mixture of must and pine that I have never found anywhere else. As long as that almost unpleasant aroma exists, it will feel as if nothing has changed. 

These pictures were taken during the summer of 1978, after I was given darkroom equipment for my high school graduation. I not only took these photos, but I processed them as well.
Even when my much younger brother appeared on the scene, the pattern of our days never really changed. We just revisited the attractions of my childhood once again, seeing them through different eyes.  Many are gone, but remnants of those attractions remain in the ones that replaced them.

Recently, we renovated our kitchen cabinets here in NJ and had to pile everything on various surfaces around the house. I put the toaster on the kitchen table. During those few mornings of the renovation, I made toast right there on the table. At the camp, the toaster did not live in the kitchen but on a small table in a corner, next to the dining table. Every morning, my mother would make toast throughout breakfast, popping the slices out, one after another, and we buttered them and added grape jelly, munching on crisp toast along with our eggs. For some reason, that memory has stuck with me as one of the sweetest. I miss the toaster on the table, but relived it for a few days while the dust swirled and the paint splattered in my kitchen.  

Maybe I will put the toaster back on a table in the corner and bring the past into the present on a more permanent basis.

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Layout Notes:

Now and Then

Supplies: Patterned Paper - Tim Holtz; punch - Martha Stewart; ribbons - unknown; clock and lake tag - Creek Bank Creations; paint - Ranger Adirondack Paint Dabber, Clearsnap Smooch, Ranger Distress Stain, Ranger Distress Crackle Paint; Martha Stewart Scoring Board; ink - Ranger Distress Ink; buttons - unknown; camera diecut - K and Company; brad - Imaginisce; work stickers - Simple Stories by Memoryworks, Making Memories; chipboard letters - K and Company; lake ticket - Creek Bank Creations; acrylic chip - unknown; marker - Zig.

Bubble Wishes

Supplies: Cardstock - Coredinations/Tim Holtz; patterned paper - Francis Meyers; metal - unknown; embossing plate - Walnut Hollow; clock - Dusty Attic; metal flowers - Imaginisce; acrylic sticker - unknown; dewdrops - Robins Nest; flowers - Tim Holtz Grungeboard; bird diecut - My Minds Eye; ink - Brilliance, Tim Holtz Distress Ink, Versa Mark Dazzle; flowers - Tim Holtz Grungeboard; spray ink - Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist; chipboard letters - Kaiser Craft; paint - Timi Holtz Crackle Paint; button - Memory Makers; word stickers - Authentique; marker - Y&C Gel Extreme; Diamond Glaze; Stickles.

Talk to the Animals

The sun embellishment was made my stamping a foam stamp on to a metal sheet. I then cut out the stamp and dry embossed the image with tools from Hero Arts.  I sprinkled and heated gold and copper embossing powder on the rays and then dotted on dimensional paint.  I did the same on the bear and moose charms and the bear paw and used the same dimensional paint on the border and the tag.  I aged the letters by painting them, covering them with Tim Holtz Crackle paint and rubbing ink into the paint after it dried. The paw was painted with spray ink using a paint brush and then coated with Diamond Glaze.  

Supplies:  cardstock - Basic Grey; patterned paper - Tim Holtz; metal - unknown; foam stamp - unknown; embossing powder; Viva Pearl Pen; die Tim Holtz (tags); metal animals - unknown; chipboard paw - Chip Off the Old Block; markers - Y&C Gel Extreme, Micron; bear charm - Dondero's Rock Shop (N. Conway, NH); embossing tool - Hero Arts; ribbon - unknown; ink- Ranger Distress; gems - Prima; paint - Making Memories; glaze - Distress Crackle Paint, Diamond Glaze

Me and Dad and the Glass-Bottomed Boat

I did not note the supplies used on this layout, but the background paper is from Basic Grey, the markers are my Micron and the acrylic shapes were colored with Ranger Alcohol Inks.

Camp

The tree embellishment was made by stamping an image on Stampbord (a stamping surface of hard board with clay), coloring it with ink and then using Stampbord tools to scrape away some of the ink revealing the white clay below.

Supplies: Paper - SEI; paint - Folk Art; markers - Zig. Y&C Gel Extreme; ink - Ranger Distress Ink; tree embellishment - Stampbord, Smooch, Ranger Distress Ink, stamp (Unity Stamp Company), Zig marker; letters - Jillibean Soup.

Family Vacation

Again, I did not keep track of the supplies used on this layout, but the word strip and other patterned paper is from a Tim Holtz paper pack.  The acrylic dots are from Robin's Next.  The metal sun is from Vintaj and was run through a Sizzix machine in a Vintaj embossing folder.  Everything else is a mystery.