Friday, May 8, 2009

Cameras and harvest festivals

When I was little my parents were both scenic photographers. We had a house in Oregon but we spent a lot of time at Harvest Festivals and other shows where my parents sold their photographs and even more time on the road while they were taking those photographs. By the time I was 6 I'd been to half of the states in the US. When I was around 5 years old my parents gave me my first camera. It was made by Fisher-Price and Kodak and used 110 film. Of course I was always begging for more film and for them to have my film processed. And for more flashes since it had a top flash that plugged in (right below where it says Fisher-Price) that was good for about 10 flashes. I'm so glad I'll be able to give my kids digital cameras as it will probably save me hundreds.

I think they gave me the camera so I'd stop complaining about how long they took while they were photographing. Places like the Grand Canyon get boring pretty quick when you stand in one spot for hours "waiting for the right light".

Harvest Festivals were fun, though. My parents had a booth for their photos and they couldn't have all 6 kids hanging around since there had to be room for the customers so we were usually kicked out. My little sister Lee and I were often sent off together with instructions not to seperate. I remember doing this when we were as young as 4 and 5. If we were lucky we might even get sent off with a dollar or two to spend on popcorn or something. If we were less lucky we might get 10 pennies each which didn't buy anything, though penny swallowing contests were pretty entertaining. As in, which one of us could swallow more. Yup, we really did that. My personal best was 6. Did you know that stomach acid makes very shiny pennies?

Lee and I would wander around for hours at look at booths and watch the entertainers. This was especially fun at Christmas with singers like Elmo and Patsy (Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer) performing. Sometimes we'd find odd jobs at another booth and earn a dollar to spend elsewhere. A lot of people at the shows became like extended family that we saw over and over at all of the shows. At the end of the shows when the booths were being broken up and taken down the kids ran all over trying to find treasures (discards and broken stuff) left behind before the other kids found it.

Another artist that spent a lot of time at the craft shows was Judy Bergsma. We had a print of hers hanging in my mother's house that said "There are two things we can give our children. One is roots, the other wings." Everyday of my childhood, at least once a day, I read that phrase and I believe it became ingrained in my subconcious. My other favorite is a refrigerator magnet I have by her that says "Some days the dragon wins."

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