- Ted & Debbie (Photographers)
I didn’t feel like I was back in the darkroom of Pali High. I felt like Scotty beaming someone up from a planet to the Enterprise or like Dr. Frankenstein bringing life to his monster…Energize. I’m resurrecting pieces of my childhood. My mom gave me 2 photo albums recently. One had early photos of my brother Allan and one had photos of me. In the back of “Teddy’s” album there were some old negatives that I shot with of my first camera. Based on my examination of the negatives I was 7 or 8 years old. I forget what kind of camera it was. It may of been an Argus. My brother and I had identical cameras. I tell my kids that my brother and I shared everything, that we didn’t each get an exact replica of the same gift. I’m a big fat liar. The differences were subtle. Allan got the green Rat Fink Hot Wheel and I got the purple one, he got the red suited Major Matt Mason (Capt. Storm I believe his name was) and I got the Matt Mason in the white space suit, Allan got the cassette deck and I got the 8 Track. You get the idea, Even Steven.
Using a loop to look at the scratchy negatives my mind seeps slowly with memories of these early images spark. I actually remember shooting these picture. These early images are my early memories. I almost expect to find a picture of my mom driving our car up Gramatin Avenue the day President Kennedy was shot. But no. These pictures are a bit more personal but life shaping nonetheless for me. There’s Carl Bocchino our next door neighbor popping wheelies on his stingray, our 1968 Pontiac Le Mans with Landau roof before it withered away in the scorching Florida sun.
There’s a couple of shots of a fort we built in Carls’ yard, a portrait of my mom and dad, shots of Allan clowning around, pictures of clouds, trees, alligators, a bell and a license plate. Each image a time release capsule into my early years.
I’m sitting here in our messy office and I look beyond the edge of my monitor and see Sam doing his physics homework, getting ready to go off to college next year and Henry doing a report on Paul Revere. Theo, Ollie and Simon are outside. They built a ramp out of scrap wood and are jumping it with their bikes, scooters and skateboards. I’m staring at these images, trying to look beyond their edges… just a few inches to see a little more of the past.
Our alarm clock has been the sound of Ollie saying, “I’m going to the beach!” The reef in the early morning is a magical landscape. You can practically walk on the water. It’s a little miracle.
When I was growing up in Ft. Lauderdale we pretty much got to roam wild. Shoes were for school. Was sunblock even invented?Â The territory between the Commercial Blvd. bridge to the north and the Sunrise bridge to the south was where we were allowed to pedal our Raleigh Choppers and other banana seated vehicles. To the west, Federal Highway was our boundary and to the east, well… The Atlantic Ocean.
Back home in Santa Monica, our kids don’t have the same freedoms as we did.Â Their boundaries are smaller for sure. We also live in a different world. Our world has become a strange terrain where explorations are often done in front of a computer.
I’ve been outside on the sidewalk watering our parkway plantings, spraying the kids as they go zooming by on their bikes and scooters and cars have stopped their cars, rolled down their windows and told me,” your kids should put some clothes on!”
Here on Kauai every summer we feel fortunate to be able to give our kids a small taste of the freedom we took for granted when we were kids. “Hey guys, make your beds, brush your teeth and put your sunblock on!”
I was having coffee on the porch in the morning and Ollie came running back to the house with half a fishing pole screaming, “I got a tangle and my pole shot off with all my line!” After he calmed down I cut the line with my teeth (something none of my kids can do) and started retracing where the line “shot off.” As I wound the line around my hand I thought about how I used to fish all the time when I was a kid growing up in Ft. Lauderdale.Â My brother and I fished off seawalls into the canals and intracoastal waters pretty much every day. We would catch Jack Crevelle, Pompano, Snapper, Catfish and the occasional Snook or Barracuda. Yes we all get tangles, fishing is all about tangles, but never have I seen one quite like this. This one went from our house, 30 yards down to the beach , hung a left, went throught the neighbors beach chairs, continued on for another 50 yards, went down into the ocean, and back up to the beach where I found the hook in the paka- Paka. I don’t fish much anymore, but I do still untangle tangles.