Inherited from my father

My father and I were not particularly close, but one thing we had in common is an interest in technology and, in particular, photography. You might say I inherited these interests from him.

What is noteworthy and a little strange, however, is that he and I never talked about it; it was not a shared thing between us at all while he was still alive.

Things I remember:

We have some interesting audio recordings of family times thanks to my father recording them on cassette tape. There is one dinner time conversation in particular when all of us are eating dinner as little children that is hilariously chaotic.

He bought one of the first true pocket calculators. I also remember him installing a fancy phone answering machine in his office, using one of the first cell phones, and buying my mother one of the first available microwaves. He really enjoyed using a Super 8 mm video camera and projector to create home movies and show them to family and friends. (Thankfully, we still have many of those movies because some years ago, we paid to have them digitized.)

He used multiple cameras, but the type I remember him using the most was Polaroids, including one of his old ones that he gave to me as my first camera that was an old bellows-type model. He also had one of the first portable TV/VCR combos I had ever seen, which he used in his work as a traveling salesman.

All of this is remarkable given his background. Although he was intelligent and at times experienced a lot of success in his work, he did not graduate from high school, and attended a rural, one-room schoolhouse as a child. During his nearly seven decades of life, he witnessed incredible changes in the world, not only technologically. He recalled listening to reports about World War II on the radio as a child and remembered using kerosene lamps for light at night. He grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere but traveled quite a bit overseas. He bragged about having the fastest horse at school and loved cars. I lost track of how many cars we had growing up, and his love of them frequently contributed to financial stress for our family.

He was a complicated person who struggled in some areas. And as I noted, we weren’t very close. But I loved him, and learned from him, and like to think his interest in technology and photography sparked my own.

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