Something Funny in my Brownie

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about my family’s history with cameras. Paula from Stuff I Tell My Sister, commented and told me she wanted to send me an old Brownie camera for my collection. A few days later this baby arrived – it was a bit dusty, but in great shape.

Something funny about this Brownie

Something funny about this Brownie

As I turned the knobs I heard the distinctive sound of film advancing inside the camera! I have been shooting some film this year so I carefully removed it from the camera. I emailed Paula and told her there was film, thinking this could be an old family camera – she told me that it was a flea market find and had no idea of what could be on the roll.

The label said Verachrome 620 – it was wider than my 120 Rollei film.  I dropped it off that weekend with a roll of 35mm at the camera store. Ironically they had to ship the roll to Oklahoma – Paula’s neck of the woods – to the only lab in this part of the country that could process it.

Well – the photos arrived this week. I was hoping for vacation shots from Paris in the 50’s or something exotic – what I got was not quite so fancy, but it was pretty interesting – what follows is pictures in the order they were on the roll – the film looks like it had some water damage, but there were images. The meaning of these images I leave to you…

On second thought I think I will make up a story – a story about a boy named Billy. His mom is a Dolly Parton look-alike – his nana is a waitress at Mel’s Diner named Flo. There is a special party guest who bears a striking resemblance to Sam Donaldson.

Happy 4th Birthday! Enjoy the spotlight - hey, isn't it past your bedtime?

Happy 4th Birthday, Billy ! Enjoy the spotlight – hey, isn’t it past your bedtime?

Look at those cute chubby cheeks – I count 4 candles. Noting the poinsettia on the left, either Billy’s mom has neglected to take down the Christmas decorations – or he is one of those poor unfortunates with a birthday at Christmas time. Either way, it looks like party time is about over for you, Billy. Night night.

The kid's birthday is clearly an event that calls for a visit to the hairdresser for Flo and Dolly. Aquanet, polyester and some drinks - time to get our party on!

The kid’s birthday is clearly an event that calls for a visit to the hairdresser for Flo and Dolly. Aqua Net, polyester and some drinks – time to get our party on!

Mother and daughter clearly share the same hairdresser. Flo wears her hair in an updo, while Dolly keeps those youthful ringlets at her collar – both women are clearly familiar with a ratting comb and Aqua Net. Pop Culture Note – In the 1960’s women believed that helmet hair was a good look.

Oh Sweetie - that is one serious comb-over! Is that your hand in my armpit?

Oh Sweetie – that is one serious comb-over! Is that your hand in my armpit?

Now that Billy has finished his cake and gone off to bed – it seems a visitor has stopped by – a visitor with and impressive comb-over. Sam seems to take a shine to Flo as he drinks a Big Gulp sized drink. A 2 drink minimum at this party could be scary.

While Flo's away Dolly will Play...

While Flo’s away Dolly will Play…

Here’s an even better shot of Sam’s comb-over. Interestingly enough, Flo is no longer on his lap – that honor now belongs to Dolly. Sam’s drink looks like it’s in need of a refill.

If I'm not mistaken, I believe that Sam is relieving himself on the outside of the house, unless Flo has a bathroom lined in brick with shrubs...

If I’m not mistaken, I believe that Sam is relieving himself on the outside of the house, unless Flo has a bathroom lined in brick with shrubs…

Apparently Sam has had enough to drink and steps outside to relive himself. Note his stylish white belt and bell-bottom cords.

Flo is back on the lap and admiring that combover. The highballs are apparently served in tumblers at this 4-year-old's birthday party.

Flo is back on the lap and admiring that comb-over. The highballs are apparently served in tumblers at this 4-year-old’s birthday party.

This shot shows the nuance of the wall decor – looks like a fine painting of a spinning wheel over some velvet brocade wallpaper. Sam comes back inside and Flo takes her place in his lap, drinks are refilled, Billy is forgotten. The party continues – was it someone’s birthday?

I suppose we could turn this last frame into the FBI to see if we can learn more about Flo, Dolly, and Sam - someone was too tipsy to reload the film...

I suppose we could turn this last frame into the FBI to see if we can learn more about Flo, Dolly, and Sam – someone was too tipsy to reload the film…

The last shot isn’t really a shot at all. It’s a mass of smudged fingerprints. No clue of who they belong to – Flo? Dolly? Sam? Billy?

So many questions remain -

Did Sam bring Billy a present?

Did Flo know that Sam was two-timing her with Dolly?

Did Dolly know that Sam took a leak in her shrubs?

Who took the photos? Who knows?

If you are interested in a bit of whimsy – take a look at this video by The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players – they are an indie-vaudeville band who buys old family slides at estate sales and flea markets and makes up songs about the people in the photos -

67 thoughts on “Something Funny in my Brownie

  1. Love the brownie story. You ask some very good questions, and therein lies the WHOLE story, yet to be written by you! hahaha Your story is much better than the video of the family singers! You are the one who should go into business.

    • LOL – I feel bad for that little guy – not much of a birthday celebration. Not sure there’s much of a call for stories made up about mystery people – who knows?

      • I’m sure. I got rid of my first husband’s family pictures since I had remarried, and he had no relatives that would have been interested – at least, so I thought. Now I am so sorry I did that. very short-sighted of me at the time. Yes, in the case of poor Billy, he didn’t have much of a chance. haha :)

        • Well, I can’t seem to throw a photo away. I always want to know who it was. Recently I found a photo that was of my grandmother’s first husband. I knew she had been married but had no idea of what he looked like. It turns out he was a childhood friend and there were tons of photos of him in her old family snapshots.

  2. Great fun! You are going to have everyone going to yard sales and flea markets looking for old cameras with film in them. :-) I wish I had the old brownie my dad had, all his cameras went to my older brother who probably sold them for beer money. sighhhh. The photos reminded me of family reunions, lots of drinking and smoking :-)

    • I was thrilled to see 60s style – I have read some articles about amazing photos forgotten inside cameras – I guess I was lucky to get some funny ones. It’a amazing how much smoking there was in the 60s.

  3. What a find! The hair! I so remember those teased up piles of fluff, stiff with Aqua Net. The cloudiness makes it look like the air was filled with cigarette smoke. Another Friday night with Scotch and Marlboros – These could have been taken in any living room anywhere. Your captions crack me up. I was wondering where you’d been all week. Now I know doing some investigating.

    • Lol – that haze does look like the cigarette smoke that filled our living rooms in the 60s – I think I have a shot of my nana holding me and a cigarette as an infant. Totally ok in 1962.

      I have been offline for a bit. A week with old friends has morphed into a complete bathroom remodel. The house is complete chaos – but the plumbing is working again.

  4. Great post. Somewhere I have 2 rolls of negatives that were in some old aluminum Kodak film canisters that my father found in a yard sale. You have inspired me to find them and see what I can do with them. Thanks!

  5. I LOVE this! Sam and Dolly are perfect in their discretion while celebrating the birthday of a small child and getting horny and bombed. Great post!

  6. I’m always amazed at what accidentally gets sent to secondhand stores, yard sales, etc. I’m sure somebody would have liked to have some of those pictures (except for Sam taking a leak – really, one highball too many). Nice back story, Lorri!

  7. These are such interesting photos… and the mind boggles as to their origin… it would be magnificent if someone recognised something or someone and could fill you in on the history…

  8. There is something about memories being left on a camera and never seen by the people hoping to capture the memories. That being said, your story was great and fit the photos perfectly. :-)

  9. I love your Billy, Dolly, Flo and Sam story and I love that slideshow thing. My daughter and I sit on the park bench and make up stories about people in the summer. We can’t hear what they’re saying to each other so we make up the conversations taking cues from their facial expressions and body language – it’s fun!

  10. Wow, there’s something very disturbing about those shots. I’m worried about Billie. That ghostly haze….brrrrr, creepy! Your story nails the subtly twisted vibe.

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