Number two in a series about the photographs hanging in the little half-bath that adjoins my study.
This picture, which hangs right above the one of my great-grandfather and his family (see earlier post), comes from the summer of 1959. Little brother Davi (on the left) was 10; I, 14; older brother Richard, 17. He had just graduated from Hiram High School and in a few weeks would commence his career at Hiram College. This was in the days before selfies, so I'm guessing Dad took it--though Mom could have, as well.
We are on our way to Oregon for a family reunion (Dad's family). and we have stopped in Rugby, ND, which, Mom has informed us from information she's obtained in one of the little AAA travel guides we always travel with, is the geographical center of North America.
We have been traveling across the northern plains on US 2, a gorgeous road that, years later, I will take with Joyce and our son, Steve, on yet another trip west for yet another family reunion. We will stop at Rugby, too ... but let me delay that part of the story.
Davi is wearing a shirt similar to shirts that both Richard and I had. We called them our "coronation shirts" because our grandmother Osborn had made them from material she bought in England when she and my grandfather were there for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953. I see on the Internet that it was a rainy day for the royal procession, and I picture my grandparents under an umbrella, waiting for a glimpse of the young queen (she was 27).
Around Davi's neck, his Kodak Brownie camera.
I've had a recent haircut, it seems. I wore my hair short throughout my public school days--and on into college. My shirt's untucked. Rowdy kid. About to be a sophomore at Hiram High.
Brother Richard does not look happy. I don't think he wanted to go on this trip.
But there he is--and there we are at the Geographical Center of North America.
Or were we?
On Rugby's website (which I just now consulted for the first time) I see that the Center is not exactly where the marker is. (Link to the site.) I wondered why I felt so ... uncentered ... throughout high school!
Okay, so ... years later. Joyce, Steve (elementary school age), and I stopped in Rugby. I wanted another picture. I set up our camera on the tripod. Took a few shots using the camera's timing feature.
But this, of course, was in the Old Days--before instant feedback on your photos. I had to wait until I got back to Ohio; I had to wait until I sent the film off to be processed; I had to wait for the pictures to come back.
And when they did?
Well, now I need to explain something else: This was an old-fashioned camera that required you to open the back of the camera, hand-load the film, wind it around the spool, close camera, take pictures.
But when our shots came back ... well, I saw something very odd. The shots at Rugby were double-exposed. Superimposed on Joyce, Steve, and me was an image of my uncle John Dyer and his family sitting around a picnic table.
I'd inadvertently used the film twice. All shots similarly ruined. In a fit of self-loathing, I threw the prints away.
And now, of course, I'd give all to have them back.