foto faves

foto faves

Saturday, December 27, 2014

so full of it!

so who ever said "once begun is half done" (which actually sounds Ben Franklin-ish) was such a liar.... when I retired from full time work in June 2010 one of the things I had on my list to do was to get the large box of old family photos scanned and catalogued.... I had other things as well and I will have to admit this one is the first one I have tackled despite it now being almost 2015!

But seriously I have now started on this project and am amazed at how long it takes- the scanning of course is not the issue- the cataloging and identification etc... are the real time consuming tasks...

I have now done roughly 750 photographs and I would say I am about 10-12% done... years ago I had more than 15,000 of my photos sent for high speed scanning (genius move) and then had another several thousand of my mother's travel photos sent as well - but these are all odd sizes and lots of Polaroids and so the high speed scanning place won't' do them....and as I said - the scanning is not what eats up the time... and if someone else does it you still have the huge task of identification and catalogue - aaaaacccckkkk - and wouldn't you know back in 1923 they thought someone would always know who those people were LOL- and with both my parents gone and all of my grandparents and the six great grandparents I knew, if I don't get these folks (when I can) identified my nieces and nephews never will be able to....

so I am slogging away at it- and the bin (post office bulk mail bin) is only slightly less full than it was when I started this... but duty calls--- and so I will be using these as the basis for some posts about long lost times along the way....

I think you may have read in prior posts about my circus loving grandfather- here is a portrait of him from later in life-


although you can't tell from the painting he was very debonair- he spent my father's growing up years on the road with some film making company (he was a PR and marketing guy) and he always had stories for us later about where he had been...

My father and his father were not close until my dad was well into adulthood because his father was never around when he was growing up. The good news for us kids was two fold - as a result of having an absentee father my father vowed to be around for his kids - so we had dinner together every night when he came home from work and he taught how to swim and ride bikes and roller skate among many other things.  And because my grandfather (Pop Pop to us) had missed his own son growing up he was especially interactive with his grandchildren... a sure WIN WIN for us.  You may recall a recent post about the circus where I said -

My beloved grandfather (beloved by all, not just by my sister and me) was artistic and had a great love for art in all its forms and all its levels.  He was the one who would spend hours with us in the art museum and discuss various artists with us- seeking our opinions and thoughts as if every child of single digit age should be consulted on these matters.  In short- my grandfather did not take himself too seriously but took us very seriously. I think this might be the perfect formula for being a grandparent.

I remember well before being in high school my grandfather would argue politics and current events with us at the Sunday dinner table (we had Sunday dinners at their house every week until we moved to a far away city when I was 13) - my sister and I always said he was our first law school professor LOL- because he made us support our views intellectually rather than emotionally.

below a photo with my brother (Jeff) and father (Jack) and Pop Pop- probably around 1970 or so-


and one with my dad and sister and mom along with his lifelong partner Lori... my grandmother was difficult.  her son was an only child of two only children and so the world revolved around him... and she was not all that nice to my mother who tried her best to please her mother-in-law but never managed to quite win her approval (which was seriously ludicrous given my mother's amazing personality and intelligence and kindness and devotion to my dad and the three of us kids...) Ah but more on that some other time.... by the time we were in high school and college we referred to her as "the big granny" - born in 1903 she was a tall girl who managed to finish eighth grade and made a good match with Ed Heltman, an uptown boy whose father was the postmaster of all of the city of Cincinnati.  Her mother-in-law (also having only one child - my grandfather) was probably the example Lori learned and not a good one at that... but life went on and much of this dynamic was opaque to us kids...


My mother's parents on the other hand each had one sibling- my Grand Dad had a sister and Grandma Catherine had a brother (Uncle Bruce- who  was the first to settle on Anna Maria sometime in the late 30s I think) - My grandmother - a lovely woman much like her daughter, died early of breast cancer and so my grandfather was quite the man about town - finally settling down again with a widow from Brooklyn, Marge Adams - they are shown together below in front of her brother's house on 70th street in Holmes Beach FL... this might have even been his wedding day- LOL - we weren't invited...


the area where he lived, on Anna Maria Island (70th street in Holmes Beach) had beach access at 77th street and the residents had their own little shade shelter (my grandfather shown below with the "hair like Stalin" - LOL


and totally unrelated to the above photos - my brother Jeff and his wife Gretchen sometime in the early 1980s, as best I can tell-


but here is a gem - my grandmother holding my sister and my grandfather with me and three of my great grandparents John and Margaret Woellner (grandma Lori's parents) and Ella Heltman (Ed's mother)


when my sister and I were young we had all four grandparents and six great grandparents - these were the grandparents and great grandparents on my dad's (the Heltman) side...

so I continue with the scanning and labeling and cataloging - in order for someone to have some idea who these people and places are when I am no longer around- sure do wish I had started this earlier - when my mother or father could have helped out a bit.... time flies- giving me all the more reason to get to this now rather than wait ANOTHER five years...LOL and then...on to the closet clean out (HA! fat chance)....

Sunday, December 21, 2014

the hardest part

of losing friends to a new home and location far away... is making the transition to seeing them regularly, to seeing them frequently, to seeing them occasionally, to seeing sometimes, to seeing them rarely... this is a natural occurrence because as they build a new life they return with less and less frequency to the life they once knew...  so someone you might have seen as frequently as twice a week moves to someone you get to see maybe once a year... alas- time marches on...

for those readers who know us well - this is a known fact- our dear friends moved from Chicago to NYC about three and a half years ago.  And as with all "moving on" followed a foreseeable pattern to no one's surprise.  It is always great to catch up with old friends whenever you get a chance- like meeting Aase in Venice or our quick visit with Claus & Evi in Frankfurt or with Mac in recent months.  The thing is - you just pick up and catch up where you were and left off... and it seems like little time has passed since you were last together...

that is the good news... and thankfully it will always be that way...

the bad news is that - the same does not hold true for our "youngest" loved ones- time zooms by and things change so quickly- they grow up so fast!

so when our friends left Chicago, they did so with their three month old baby- and now of course we watch her grow up from a distance... she is busy, her parents are busy, even when the two of us get to NYC we get only an afternoon or a few hours before bed time... but through the modern miracles of Facebook and digital photography and cell phones... we get to see some of the stages along the way and can feel a little like we are there to watch her grow...

and here she is now- the star of her own show (far right hand) - and yes, we, her adoring fans, like all fans, never get enough! LOL







seems like only last month that she looked like this- the world's cutest baby- LOL


and now she is heading to four years! how did that happen? and yes, it is the hardest part.....

highlights of Cuba

Since the President decided last week to head in the direction of normalizing relationships with Cuba, I thought I would do a post on some of my favorite moments from the people to people trip I took there in April 2012.  For lots of details on the trip you can return to the blog posts from April 27th to May 1st in 2012.... but if you want to know about the way Cubans live read this single post from the trip on how they deal with issues which are always blamed on the embargo (regardless of whether this is the case or not)

http://semifreelife.blogspot.com/2012/04/defining-moment.html

but back to my favorite photos of Cuba- a stunningly beautiful place even in the midst of ruin...

first the drinks- there were welcome drinks every where we went- so we had lots of good libations!


and then of course the thing all Americans want to see- the old cars still running as if it was 1959 just yesterday-


 but old cars are not the only form of transportation here-




more of life on the island-














and the ultimate in Cuban ingenuity- (I highly recommend the above linked blog post for lots of details of day to day life in Cuba) this and many other things are explained - and yet many think they are much better off today (health care - education - opportunity) than they were pre-Castro... this is a fascinating place... read more by going back in time on the blog to April 2012...


later this week- some family reminiscing - on the anniversary of my mother's death- good memories... good times... good travel... what more can you ask for? LOL