Thursday, July 24, 2014


The conceptual idea for this post was inspired attending a cousins reunion at my cousin Barbara's weekend shore home in Long Beach Island, N.J. on June 29th. A party with first, second and third cousins on my Dad's side, some I hadn't seen for nearly 30 years. I was amazed how quickly memories came back and the span of years instantly bridged.

John and I started collecting vintage cameras back in the 80's. I believe the simple activity and enjoyment taking photographs capture moments to become our lasting memories we all eventually share.

We don't remember days, we remember moments.
~Cesare Pavese~

All but 3 of our 28 vintage camera's are displayed along side personal treasures in our bedroom on a leaning Black vintage (from the early 80's) Terence Conran designed shelf. Purchased new at Conran's. The British store that once sold in the U.S. 3 folding cameras are hung on our hall stairwell wall. I showed a photo of them on an earlier post, now I will show you close ups of them. 

Love this Kodak, next to it hangs an actual photo taken of the Eiffel Tower back in the 50's. Someone's lasting memory we like and display.

A wonderful vintage green Koda 37610 by Eastman Kodak Co. hangs in the middle,

An Agfa folding camera. Now back to the leaning shelf in our bedroom for the other 25 camera's.

The top shelf has one of my favorites displayed. The Ciro Flex. It is a twin reflex camera made in Ohio during the late 1940's manufactured until the early 1950's. When John and I first started collecting camera's in the early 80's I would construct a scenario around each one. OK, over active imagination, trust me, I know, I agree. Often surprisingly film was left in the camera and we would develop it and see what pictures were taken by the original owner. But if not, I would just make up my own story about the owners, taking honeymoon and vacation pictures, babies first steps, Christmas Day ... 

We'd seek sometimes hard to find film to purchase and experiment with the cameras. WELL, that fizzled out when we dropped off our film at a local 1 hour processing lab and somehow they switched customer photos. We received photographs back that we wish we could forget ... Nasty images burned right into our Retina's! Don't ask, it was ugly! Fused into our minds eye. We never did receive our photos. That old clique of "Haste makes waste" is true.

The folding camera on the left is a Leiss Ikon, another wonderful camera worth noting.

Every man's memory is his private literature.
~Aldous Huxley~

My favorite is the Diana -F, an authentic camera (love the blue) from the 60's into 70's made in Hong Kong. This camera has become quite a cult collectible item. In the 1990's Lomography in Austria bought the rights to Diana -F camera's. Now there is even an app to take photos in the Lomography style, available for the iPhone.

Close up of the Diana -F, of all our cameras she is my favorite. 

Argus - Seventy Five is a little Bakelite beauty produced from 1949 - 1964, it takes 620 film.

2nd shelf down I want to point out the needle felted mouse in a Mickey Mouse costume.
I asked Penny White from Angelsdoor blog to create him recently in memory of my brother Michael. Mike was a Doctor with many interesting hobbies, one of his favorites besides Ham Radio was photography. He traveled to many remote areas, the Galápagos Islands, Bird-Watching in Peru. But of all the vacations he went on he was happiest at DisneyWorld in Orlando Florida.  As a kid I would call him Mickey Mouse. Singing M-I-C (see you soon) K-E-Y (why because I love you) M-O-U-S-E.

Three cameras displayed were gifts from my brother to help build our collection. All Brownie box.

Moviematic motion picture camera, ours is circa 1937 made in New York City. It produces 16 mm movies, snapshots and filmbook exposures and is wound with a key. Another camera I treasure. I can certainly make up lots of scenarios with this camera.

How sweet is my Mickey Mouse, Penny has magical fingers felting wool into cherished creations.

A close up of the Moviematic, ours is in excellent condition. Found at a flea market on a Sunday afternoon by John.

Moving down to the third shelf ... 

The photos are John's graduation and baby pictures.

I love Tin Tin and snowy, Plush gifts from John. 

Yesterday is but today's memory and tomorrow is today's dream.
~Khalil Gilbran~

5th shelf, we have 4 matching vintage suit-cases, we've displayed 2 on the shelf. I use them to store stuff in, stuff I just can't part with. Remember the George Carlin comedy routine about stuff? That was my all time favorite of his.

In February my cousin Barbara and I were talking about Childhood memories when my Dad and his two brothers (Uncle Stanley and Bruno) on Sunday's would drive to Kingswood, NJ to help out at our grandparents commercial chicken farm. 

Sure we had chores to do, but we had fun. Grand mom along with our Mothers helping would cook a huge dinner, of course there was Chicken served. My memories of my Grandfather are faint, I remember he walked with a cane. He always made me smile and giggle, he said he liked seeing my dimples. It would take nearly a decade to understand what he meant and said when I smiled ... "A smile isn't a smile unless it is felt". He would take my brother Mike, I and cousins over to the closet in the hall off the kitchen. A floral barkcloth curtain hung from a rod and inside my Grandfather would show us the Franks Wishniak black cherry soda bought for us kids.  I remember lots of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer also in the closet! I thought the presentation of the soda and beer every Sunday was theatrical excitement. On the farms property close to the house grew a mature black cherry tree. Confession, I have an obsession with cherries. In the heat of August Grandpa would lift me up in the tree. There I'd eat to my hearts content. There were Raspberry bushes growing in the back of the farmhouse. I remember being handed a bowl to pick raspberries for dessert after dinner, but honestly I ate more than I put into the bowl. Another of my favorite fruits.

Our Dad's Father died when I was 5. Back in the winter at a party Barbara was talking with cousin Stanley about our Grandparents. Stanley is a few months younger than I. Stanley's memory of Grand Dad was of a green telephone chair in the farmhouse...

This chair!!! Barbara told Stanley she still had the chair in the basement of her parents house which has remained untouched for over a decade. The chair had moved to her parents when the Chicken farm was sold. Barbara asked me if I remembered the chair, I said ugly green vinyl? She said "Yup that's the one!" It sat near the stairs in her parents basement and we danced around it playing Beatles music on her 45 record player. My favorite Beatle was John.

Well the ugly chair after a hosing off of dirt was brought to the cousins reunion! The day was also a celebration of her weekend shore home's rebuilding, you see when hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast it caused major damage in Long Beach island. Many dumpsters still, much construction, some for sale signs dot the islands landscape. She placed ugly green in front of the garage. Such contrast to her beautifully designed and furnished shore home.

I asked Barbara why she had brought it to the shore, she replied "I'm giving it to Stanley, as his memory of our Grandfather, it should stay in the family". To which I replied laughing - Oh really, you think Stanley and Joey are going to take that into their style chic home? Sure ... Says Barbara it's his only memory of Grandpa.

When Stanley and Joey arrived I couldn't wait to tell them Barbara packed up the telephone chair, to which they replied with an "OMG - we saw it, can't miss that thing" as Stanley chuckled in disbelief, Joey, Stanley's spouse looked a tad bit in shock!

As the sun was to set within an hour, it was the perfect chance for a photo opportunity. I snapped away as Stanley had fun posing, as you can see. To tell you Stanley is the life of a party is an understatement, his wit and humor are a rare gift.

Too funny! Joey says to me, Vera you don't think he's thinking about bringing T-H-A-T thing home do you? As Stanley picks up the chair and loads it into the back seat of their car, Joey grabbed my arm, his eyes wide and Bambi like riddled with fear that made me almost pee my pants in laughter. I spoke with Stanley on Monday of this week and asked him if the ugly green made it home. Yes he said, but I put it into the garage - I'll bring it out on Halloween as a prop was his answer. As Stanley and Joey drove away with ugly green I said to my brother Kevin, we'll see that chair along side the road driving home. I was wrong!

Below Is a poem I wrote about Memories followed by my latest Ballet presentation of "By the Light of the Silvery Moon". I'll be back in August to post, unless I'm sitting in a black cherry tree making a stained mess out of myselfI' I'll bring you back to our row-house and I will share my most valued antique collection on my nightstand and give a little tour of our bedroom. John Lennon will make an appearance, oh what a tease! 


Whenever you find yourself feeling unexplained happiness in your heart, it's from a precious memory you hope will forever last.
Remembrances you subconsciously store and occasionally draw upon from the long distant and nearly forgotten past.

Thoughts can linger and imprint without any kind of acknowledgement from us while dealing and processing through a seemingly normal day,
Triggers occur sending neurons of energy, pulsating to be stored in our memory part of our Brain, because we're just hardwired that way.

Memories of both joy and sadness are received constantly and magically one billion neurons fire energy and all memories can remain.
But the unconscious emotional memories can switch off key neural circuits and that explains the ability to suppress traumatic memories in our brain.

I'm fascinated by the ability of our mind, to be able to recall in a split second a stored memory or thought.
I've observed the frustration of faded memories, only to realize for some it's a battle daily fought.

Precious memories we hold dear without doubt are meant to be expressed and kept alive in stories we share,
And when loss occurs as it always does in the circle of life, you will be able to share your remembrances with an heir.

It is said our lives are an never ending continual story, stored in our memories so learn to tell it's stories well,
For shared stories are emotionally relived where precious memories in our mind will always dwell.

© Vera

My French Opera/Ballet theatre purchased from Doré Callaway of Burlap Luxe's etsy store sits on my dining room credenza. It is staged with a Ballet production every season. This year it is featuring an additional Summer ballet presentation. I placed it there to entertain guests like a dinner theatre production, Ha, Ha. But what is a constant is there are always mice dancing on the stage, custom designed by Penny White of Angelsdoor blog. Penny designs needled felted mice for me. Which are always named in memory of someone I love. Some might say ... But a mouse? Why yes, of course a mouse ... mice are beloved by me! 

Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things.
~Marcus Tullius Cicero~

The 27th of July is my parents wedding anniversary and memories of them, their lives, their love, inspired me to creativity stage a tribute in honor of them. I grew up with parents deeply in love, romantic and freely expressing their affection. Yup, I one of those kisses and hugs kind of girls.

Dad had a wonderful voice, a crooner, as he would joyfully burst out in song. Singing Doris Day Lyrics "By the Light of the Silvery Moon". Sweeping Mom into his arms as he glided her across the floor. 

I made the 2 inch moon out of styrofoam, scattered rhinestones on the floor for bling. On a clear acetate we type set and printed in black ink placed on the back wall with the chorus of "By the Light of the Silvery Moon". Vintage silver tinsel garland adds shimmer. The 3x3 miniature painting "Silver Moonlight" was painted by Cheryl Bain. You can find her art in her etsy store, VioletHouseCrafts. The easel came with the art. The camera didn't catch the silver metallic paint highlights and the light dusting of glitter on it.

Fond memory brings the light of other days around me.
~Thomas Moore-

I've always felt my parents love and show of affection was amazing, Mom often would ask Dad to dress in colors to compliment her outfit.  Mom was quite a Fashionista. Memories flood my head today and emotions are accented by tears as I write ...

After years of waiting, they are reunited in the celestial heavens above. Hand in hand they dance under the glorious moonlight, kissed by the stars in external love.


All photos taken by me - Vera


  1. Oh Vera where to start. First the camera collection is amazing. I think my fave is the Diana too. Love the blue on that one. Love the story of the green chair and how Stanley took her home to have the memories of your grandfather. So sweet.
    Glad you did not find it on the side of the road. I bet he will keep it close. The love story of your parents is so sweet and special. Silvery moom is the perfect stage to highlight their love and the wonderful memories of the two of them. This was a very touching post. I went back through and read it a couple of times. Really touched my heart. Thank you for the special emotions you convey through your writing. Very touching.

  2. Beautifully written my dear friend.
    I too along with Hannah my daughter have a thing for mice and that's why we had Penny do a grey moused tutu for ours.
    The chair what can I say other then glad it was not a family situation that I was gifted such, it might end up on the porch. I so remember my grands parents having such a chair phone stand much this shape but all wood, and my grandfather taking the time to refinish it I am sure was not to my grandmothers likings :)
    Stanley looks to be the comic in the family, that fun shirt and shorts and nerviness to pose for a picture in the phone chair is evidence enough and the photo will pass down to many more family story's.

    Love the camera collection as for that Brownie camera, the boxy brown one, I had one, my very first camera that started it all with take shots everywhere I felt was a photo shoot moment. It was given to me from my grandma, darn I so wish I had mine still not sure what happened to it sadly.

    Love the touching poem, the Mother Fatther dance and there beauty in ever lasting love. He sounds like my father who would break out in song and dance at any given moment, and my grand parents looking on in all the fun.

    Vera, you my dear are a lady of memories, ones that are stored up with such beauty and recal; I could sit and listen and read your stories for days, almost like I am listening to our family stories.

    I love how you embrace life, and how it embraces you back.

    Thank you for all that you add to blogging,

    See you soon,


  3. I am finally here.

    I was swept away by my beloved immediately after he came home from work, to his self-proclaimed "FAVORITE PLACE AT THE END OF THE DAY" (at home, with me).

    Vera, memories are just about my favorite places to dwell. A poet, artist actor, musician, we all must be brave to remember and create from those moments and weave them into the now. You do that well, and you start at the best point: with those special people you love.

    No moment is wasted. Even hard moments in life can be salvaged, and like this darling theatre made to look like the old opéras of Paris where thousands of dancing feet performed, we stage our memories to retell our stories so that someone else can say, "I UNDERSTAND!"

    My theatre is sitting upstairs in my bedroom, waiting for a photo shoot! If not now, surely by Christmas if you are planning it with Doré, I will join in with you for a theatre bash. I too have a silver moon upon which Tea Rat sits. I made it for our first ever Travelin' Show in Nowhere where we had so much laughter and fun.

    It is a joy to know you dear Vera, to know we love many of the same things, that we are bond in LOVE!

  4. Dear Vera,
    You have expressed your memories so beautifully here... I loved your ~Memory~ poem Vera.. The Silvery moon is such a perfect place to highlight your parents love for each other.. Love what you have done to enhance the mood on the stage.. I would love to own one of Dore's beautiful stages one day. Perfect setting, thank you for sharing, dear friend.

    Oh how I enjoyed your camera collection... I really cannot pick a favorite, they are all wonderful... sure takes me back in time... I really enjoyed the ~Chair~ story... Stanley is quite the character....
    Once again you have touched my heart with your writing.

  5. Oh Vera, I see why this is a favorite post of yours! It's filled with so many wonderful memories that you chose to share with us. Love the pictures you so eloquently create in our minds through your words.
    And Wow...what a fabulous collection of old cameras. I think the Diana is my favorite as well.
    It's always a delight to see a new theatre production!!
    Mary Alice

  6. Hi Vera, what a wonderful post filled with so many special memories. Your camera collection is amazing. It has to be the best I've seen similar to the museum at Henry Ford at Greenfield Village.
    The phone chair is a treasure. Looks like Stanley finds it comfy?!? Maybe NOT!! I remember my second cousins having one in wood similar at the bottom of a grand staircase in PA. I always loved that seat.
    Your poem just sweeps one away with your heart touching words.
    LOVE your theater. I have to go back and read again and enjoy your photos.
    Thank you for sharing. You are a special part of blogland my friend.
    Have a great weekend.

  7. Dear Vera,
    Thank you so much for your visit.... Now that you mention it, she does look a little melancholy... I always appreciate you thoughts. So sweet of you to come by.
    I hope today will be a restful one for you.

  8. What a beautiful collection of vintage cameras and memories. Stanely and Joey look like such a fun couple! And I hope that wonderful green chair remains in your family for so so many more generations.

  9. Hello Vera

    I found your tour of cameras fascinating. The green chair did make me laugh. It certainly has character. Your stage by Dore and how you have personalized it is a beautiful tribute to your parents.
    Many thanks for stopping by.
    Have a glorious week filled with sunshine

  10. Oh, what a lovely collection of cameras - I wonder where my father's old cameras are.

    Your poem - so sweet and so true. I will be working away at something and suddenly an old memory, totally unconnected to my work, will pop into my head to make me laugh or smile.

    Your felt mice and the theatre are wonderful!

  11. That was called a gossip bench back in the 50's and we had one in our hallway all thru my jr. and hi school years. I'd give all I own to have it now. Mom probably sold it in a garage sale ...not sure.
    I hope they keep the green one and just have it recovered in a pretty fabric..French, maybe. :)

  12. you have the most amazing collections and that chair is to die for...I am in love with that color!

  13. Your camera collection is amazing Vera! You have collected so many beauties!
    I love reading your writing and poems. Your family must love them too!!!
    OMG that green chair is a scream!

    Dore's theater is so darling. I adore her artwork too.
    hugs from here...

  14. Lovely, lovely post. I was having a conversation with my dad last week (he is about to turn 90) over how very precious memories are. As always, I love your poetry.
    Have a wonderful weekend!
    ~ Lin

  15. Vera, what a fantastic camera collection you have, and I love how you've displayed each and every one! As always, your post is filled with such meaning, memories, and beautiful images. I adore the sweet Summer ballet presentation! :)

  16. Bonjour mon amie!!!!!

    Vera, thank you so much for coming to visit my post. Oh how lovely that you've been to the Bastille Day festivities at the elegant museum where Isabelle de Borchgrave's work was displayed! I used the music on that video to go with the feel of the wooden floor beneath my feet as I danced for my friend who took the photos of me at the American Swedish Institute! What fun we had, and what fun I'm continuing to have as I take photos to improve my visual representations. I hope that one day I can publish (self-publish) revised/edited versions of blog posts with my own photos to make into a book. But the real work, the work of poetry that is under the scrutiny of the poetry world is a work that will take much time -- maybe it will never amount to much, but it sure is worth a try.

    AND YOU SHOULD SEE what I'm doing to my little theatre. It's going under some "renovations!" MUCH LOVE, Anita

  17. Dear sista!

    Good morning on this 6th of August....I am savoring each day as it ticks away...I am working on my theatre, poetry, and photos....having SUCH a grand time. I just got word yesterday that I will be teaching three French courses at the high school and one course at the middle school, and this is GREAT NEWS....but I'm waiting for the right day (probably in about a week) to start digging into my curriculum!

    OH THE THEATRE...I am so excited. In "real life", we are adding exposed beams to our family room and back office, but schedules have delayed the process. GRRRR! So what do I do? I install small beams into my theatre! HAHAHAHAHHAHAHHA.....I tell ya, when I want something, I find a way to get it done!

    The joy of renovating the theatre is making me giggle. I will be installing "hardwood" floors today and getting this baby ready for OUR gala even come this winter. Vera, you and Doré and me and Penny, we are all wild ones, aren't we! Let's never stop playing.

    I will send you photos as soon as I get this theatre down the stairs to put in a better light; it's currently up in my bedroom where the light is very poor.

    OK, off to work on the theatre! XOXOXO

  18. Dear Vera,
    Thank you for your kind words about my little painting...
    The background was painted with a sea sponge. I will be working on the yellow roses today.
    Wishing you a wonderful day.