L-R: Jamie and Spencer; Tonya; Alison; Blane; Ryan and Emily and Bowie. Desmond (Jamie and Spencer’s pup) is not pictured.
The Daily Mail is a British daily tabloid newspaper published in London. It is the United Kingdom’s second biggest-selling daily newspaper after The Sun. The editor of the travel section was looking for Halloween story ideas and came across our photos on Flickr. He asked if they could use the photos in a story and I said yes. Not sure why UK readers would be interested in 50 year old Halloween photos from the U.S. Perhaps they were on deadline and just needed a story.
Barb grew up with five brothers and sisters all sitting around a big dinning room table that was soaked in memories. After her parent died it sat in our basement for years. She was sure a niece or nephew (we are child-free) would want this — and other — treasures. They didn’t, for all of the reasons mentioned in this interesting story.
As baby boomers grow older, the volume of unwanted keepsakes and family heirlooms is poised to grow — along with the number of delicate conversations about what to do with them. According to a 2014 United States census report, more than 20 percent of America’s population will be 65 or older by 2030. As these waves of older adults start moving to smaller dwellings, assisted living facilities or retirement homes, they and their kin will have to part with household possessions that the heirs simply don’t want.
My parents grew up during the Depression (mom on a farm, pop in town) so when they could afford to buy some stuff, they did. And it was important to them.
The competitive accumulation of material goods, a cornerstone of the American dream, dates to the post-World War II economy, when returning veterans fled the cities to establish homes and status in the suburbs. Couples married when they were young, and wedding gifts were meant to be used — and treasured — for life.
I’ve been looking around me as I write this, looking for things I’ll someday want to find a home for. Things with sentimental value. There’s an old microphone used at the station my father and worked at but any collector of radio memorabilia will be thrilled to have it.
As I’ve come to understand that my memories aren’t as real as I once thought them to be, the material items associated with those memories seem less valuable.
My hometown doesn’t make a lot of Top 10 lists so I was pleased to see it near the top (#3) of this list. What did it take to make the cut? Using publicly available government data, as well as Google Maps, data was collected on the following white trash metrics:
- Cities where there are lots of white people
- Cities where residents are poorer than average
- Cities where a high number of residents are high school dropouts
- Cities with a high number of single parents
- High drug use
- Higher than average Payday Loan Outlets
- Violent cities (measured in aggravated assaults)
- Cities with a high number of residents on welfare
Alas, Kennett has fallen on hard times since I left in 1984, not to mention when I grew up there in the 50s and 60s.
If my family paid more than fifty bucks for my senior picture, I’d be very surprised. That would have included a couple of 8×10’s, maybe some 5×7’s and a stack of wallet size prints to hand out to relatives and friends. Wore a coat and tie that day, walked into the room next to where the band practiced, smiled a smile that would haunt me the rest of my life and I was done.
Today a friend told me about the senior picture experience (for his granddaughter) in 2017. Let’s not bury the lede: $660 for the mid-priced package. $1500 for the top-of-the-line package. I didn’t ask what the cheapest package.
And you don’t stand in line outside the band room anymore. You book a “shoot” that can involve multiple “locations.” And costume changes. He said something about professional makeup and hair styling. Sounds like my buddy will drop a grand before it’s over. And this is in a small (< 10K) community in southeast Missouri!
I don’t have kids so I can say what I would or wouldn’t do for my kids but this is pretty fucked up. What message does this send to a high school kid? Again, I don’t have a dog in this hunt but I’ll tell you what… I won’t be taking any shit for pissing away a bunch of money on vintage truck. Not from people who spend a couple of grand on yearbook photos.
Barb reports from the road: “My mellow got harshed behind this huge fucker that took up two lanes of the interstate highway. In the mountains.” Barb is not a patient driver.
I’m not sure I’ve shared this photo of my old man. I’m blessed with a lot of great pics. It’s clear from this one how much he enjoys what he’s doing. Note the disc on the turntable in the foreground: just one track cut into the center of the disc. Probably a commercial. You can see more of these to the right of the control board. This is before magnetic tape and they “cut” these discs in the adjacent studio. If you fucked up while cutting, you put a piece of cellophane tape over that track and cut another one. I can’t even imagine trying find and cue these while doing a live shift. But the alternative was reading everything live. That would get old fast, for the announcer and the listener. Must have been an exciting time.
Barb and Jan hit this road early this morning for a three week trip to The Coast. I didn’t put in all the stops, just wanted to give you the big picture. Stay tuned.
I’m fortunate to have a lot of photos of my father. At all stages of his life. This might be my favorite. When dad smiled in a photo it often came off as a grimace. When he did not smile, he could look pissed off or bored. This one works.