Saturday, December 22, 2012

Twas The Night Before........

Ny first Christmas with Bill - 1964
Pennsauken, New Jersey

Or something like that.  Only a few more days to go before Santa dumps his load (or something like that). It's one of those days folks. 


Original photo - oh whatever happened to that sweater - they don't make them like that anymore
It doesn't feel much like Christmas this year.  No, I'm not a "Bah Humbug" kind of guy, it's just that each year Christmas seems to come to early and then, before you know it, Christmas is gone and the Mummers are marching down Broad Street Philadelphia in the cold winds of the new year.  


Female impersonator Philadelphia Mummers Parade - 1965
Back when female impersonation was dangerous
Me, yes in "bank drag" (overcoat and horn rimmed glasses) at the Philadelphia Mummers Parade 1965

Then comes the Big Gray Chill, the bitter cold monochrome months of January, February and March.  The "just get through it" months of mid winter.  The "I hope it doesn't snow two feet" months.    

When I was a kind, which was a LONG time ago, Christmas couldn't come fast enough.  Such was the glittery promise of the magic of getting free things.  Invariably I was always disappointed with my "take" but I still remember my favorite Christmas.  That was the Christmas of 1954 when I was twelve years old, I received my first camera. Oh sure, I know what some of my faithful blog followers are thinking "So that's when it ALL STARTED with Ron and HIS CAMERA."  Yep, that is when it started.  Even then, at the tender age of a dozen years I started clicking away.  My year each younger brothers John and Isaac were the involuntary subjects of many of my first photo assaults.  


My brothers Isaac, John and our pets Bobby (the cat) and Sam (the dog) - Christmas - 1954
My camera was one of those inexpensive Kodak Brownie cameras. I took a lot of pictures for a Fifties teenager but, looking back from my vantage point now, not near as many as I wish I had taken.  Perhaps the main reason I didn't take more pictures was that it was just too darn expensive.  To take an eight picture role, I had to buy the film and then get it developed. I forget exactly what the film cost but I know getting it processed was usually a couple of dollars and took at least a week of anxious anticipation waiting (to see "if they came out") until I got the developed pictures back from the Sam Charles News Agency where I took them for developing.  



The Charles News Agency (on the left) Downingtown, PA - 1970 (the earliest I could get a picture - I bicycled this street (Lancaster Avenue, Route 30) from 1954 to 1959 - where I grew up


The only known picture of my on my newspaper bicycle - one of my brothers took this picture - don't blame me - 1954

I was a newspaper boy back in those days and earn about $5.00 a week, which after what I spent on candy and comic books; didn't leave a whole lot left for buying and developing film.  But I did manage to take quite a few pictures for a Fifties teenager, more than almost all of my friends and classmates I daresay.  


"Bobby" - 1954 - my first and only cat pet - a willing photo subject


20 comments:

  1. you are NOT going to believe this, but my old lady had a lamp like that (first pix) in our living room in paoli!

    you were standing in front of the academy of music in "bank drag".

    you know what would be cool? a "then and now" photo of pix #3 (female drag) and pix #6 (route 30).

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    1. Anne Marie,

      You truly are a real Philly Girl! You recognize the PLACE TO BE during the Mummers' Parade, in front of the Academy of Music.
      I like you suggestion but I don't think I can do a "now" photo of pix #3, I'm sure that drag queen is long gone. As for pix #6, yes, I can do that. I'll do it the next time I visit Downingtown which shouldn't be too long.

      Ron

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    2. By the way Anne Marie, remember when people used to get dressed up to go out? Hard to believe I got dressed up to see the Mummers' Parade. In my later years I saw the parade in "bar drag." No pictures exist of that era as far as I know. Shame.

      Ron

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    3. for pix #3, not the drag queen but the street corner.

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    4. Got it Anne Marie! Great suggestion. I'll be in Philly March 5th, 2013 for the Flower Show. I'll take the "now" pictures then.

      Ron

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    5. well then I guess I will have to commute downtown on that day to see you! we can have a drink at the loew's hotel bar (the PSFS building); that's where I met shawn from san diego.

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    6. Anne Marie,

      Make plans to have lunch with me and Don on March 5th. I would like to check out the Westbury Bar and Restaurant at 15th and Spruce Streets. That's where I met Bill forty-eight years ago.

      Ron

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  2. hohoho
    May the new year be your best one yet !

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    1. New Year's in Philadelphia was always the best Dr. Spo. We looked forward to New Year's more than Christmas. New Year's Eve in the bars and then New Year's Day, freezing on Broad Street watching the Mummers strut their stuff. Jolly good fun!

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  3. I love the newspaper route photo with the long bicycle shadow!

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    1. David,
      I wish I had more pictures of me with my newspapers and my paper route. Those years were such a big part of my life, I'm surprised I didn't think to take more pictures. I delivered newspapers from 3rd grade to 8th grade. Five years; 10 years old to 15 years old. Loved that job! Probably the best job I ever had

      Ron

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  4. Despite awful tensions of the mid-20th century I remember goofing off a lot more than I do now. Maybe that's why Christmas excitement is harder to feel. There's all this build-up then nothing skips town faster than Christmas. I write goofy essays but that's about it these days. Maybe that's a doable New Year's resolution: forget world news and goof off a little more every day.

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    1. Geo.,

      I still like the colors and sounds of the Christmas season but the "excitement" just isn't there any more for me. I like the way you said "There's all this build-up then nothing skips town faster than Christmas." Well said. The week after Christmas before New Year's is one of the most empty of the year.

      Ron

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  5. Great pics! I had a paper route from the age of 14 until I was 19 and college got in the way. Loved it (well, almost every part of it - the deluging rain wasn't too great).

    MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
    Peace <3
    Jay

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    1. Jay,

      Now I remember, when it rained (and snowed), the paper route wasn't too great. I must have blocked those memories out of my Paper Route Good Times. I quite my paper route for a very silly reason, I thought by the time I was 15 I was too old to have a paper route and too big to ride a bicycle. Now that I look back on it, I should have kept my paper route. But the mindset was different in those days wasn't it? So much has changed.

      Have a wonderful Christmas!

      Ron

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  6. I came to your blog through finding Jon who follows John's blog! Love your old photos and look forward to following your blog in 2013!

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    1. Welcome Paul! I love Jon's blog but am not familiar with John's blog. What is the name of it?

      Thanks!

      Ron

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  7. I certainly remember Kodak Brownies and I reluctantly remember how tedious photography was before Digital cameras. Buying the film, waiting a week for the photos to be developed.......
    I like Bobby the cat. My cat hates cameras and is difficult to photograph (much like myself.....).

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    1. Jon,

      Photography was tedious wasn't it back in the Good Old Days? A major operation time and expense wise. Never knew if all of the photo would "turn out." Now we have digital and we know right away. In one way I miss not having digital cameras available when I was young but then if I did, can you imagine how many photos I would have now? Literally hundreds of thousands! I would never get through them.
      Bobby the Cat was named after my first big high school crush, Bobby Murdaugh. Bobby the Cat was a big ham and always posed for pictures. Unfortunately, Bobby had a sad ending which I will relate in a future blog posting. Of course my father was involved as he usually was in bad things happening in my life.

      Ron

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