Thursday, July 26, 2007
Kindergarten through the Kodak Lens
I got my first camera when I was in kindergarten. It was either a birthday or Christmas gift, I can't remember which. It was one of the Kodak Brownie models, and, surprisingly, I have one surviving snapshot that came from that little black box. This picture was taken toward the end of my kindergarten year (the date printed on the border is JUN 55). Mom let me take the camera to school that day for Show and Tell. At recess time, the teacher gathered us all onto the outside stairs, and had someone take a class picture with my camera. As you can see, there I was, standing backrow-center, feeling as important as if I'd just been selected Queen for a Day.Looking at this picture brings back memories, but the details are sketchy, at best. I think my teacher's name was Miss Eggmonton. I had a crush on a boy in my class, named Kim H. He had seven brothers and sisters whose first names all started with "K", his dad was a doctor, and I'm pretty sure he's the boy sitting the farthest to the right in the picture (second row). I remember the feeling of panic that came over me whenever either the fire drill or the air raid drill sounded. It wasn't because I was afraid of a fire or even a Russian A-bomb, but because I couldn't remember what to do. . . Which alarm meant to go outside and move away from the building? Which one meant to go into the cloakroom, sit down on the floor, and cover my head with my arms? (And how was that supposed to save me from those bombs?) I also remember fondly a pair of sunglasses I had, with plastic, aqua-blue, glitter-infused frames; my Davy Crocket charm bracelet and coonskin cap (the cap part was made from rabbit fur back then, with a real coon's tail -- much nicer than the ones you can buy now); and Green River fountain sodas, with a lot of heavy, sweet, green limey syrup sitting in the bottom of the glass, not completely stirred in. I remember always wanting to be the "bad guy" when we played cowboys and Indians. And I'll never forget those garter snake funerals we had in the "field" behind my house, which seemed as big as all of Texas, but was actually only one, single, empty residential lot, grown up in weeds.