Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way


The Hawks

I went to my dad’s sister’s one hundredth birthday party. I haven’t seen my dad’s side of the family since his funeral in the late summer of 2016, and that day was such a blur that I don’t fully recall everyone I saw.

My favorite two memories of Aunt Edna Belle are quite different but taken together express much about her. She taught me how to do doughnuts with front wheel and rear wheel drive cars. And I helped her make popcorn balls at Christmas, which like many good culinary treats of the 60s and earlier involve masochist elements both in the eating and the making. Popcorn balls are made by using searing hot liquified sugar to bind popped corn together in a spherical shape, sometimes with a bit of food coloring to make the popcorn have an unnatural color to go with its unusual shape. Eating them would require immediate access to tooth picks or floss. When eating the balls like apples every square inch of your gums were vulnerable to popcorn detritus that is usually limited to the molars when tossing back individual kernels.

I say this with no sense of irony. I adored them. And as I am remembering what the exact experience is of eating and making them was, I have no explanation for my childhood feelings about those treats.

I saw several of my cousins whom I haven’t seen in years, and I was very happy I took the time to come. We are legion. I am the youngest of 32 grandchildren on my dad’s side. So just by the numbers it’s reasonable that I struggle to remember all of them, remembering spouses and children are out of the question.

I had two unexpected delightful experiences. First, my Aunt Susie, not the birthday lady, struggled to recognize me. She’s 90 and I look like a man, so honestly, I wasn’t in any way bothered by this. I told her who I was, and she immediately recalled.

Later she approached me and told me that she was stunned when she saw me because she thought I was my dad, and she really thought she was losing her marbles as he’s dead, and further would be many decades past my age. She said just for a moment she felt the joy she would have at seeing him, and she was grateful for it. I was happy to have helped her to it.

My cousin, Richard, told me about a letter he found that my dad had sent to his father, my Uncle Bray. He said he would send it to me. In it my dad expressed gratitude for all his brothers and sisters, and Richard thought I would like having it. I said my dad was a very sensitive man who expressed his feelings to the extent the age he lived in would allow. And Richard’s eyes lit up. He said all the Hawk men were.

He said one of the nurses who worked with his dad told him a story at his dad’s funeral. His dad, Uncle Bray, was a head surgeon at one of the hospitals in St. Louis. At the end of his 14 and 16 hour days he would take extra time to prepare warm towels and cover the infants and children in the polio ward with them before leaving for the day. At the time the only thing they could do for them was keep them comforted.

And like that we shared an unexpected connection. Richard has always lived in St. Louis, and I bet all the words we’ve ever spoken are a fraction of what’s in this post. And yet we both knew something so fundamental about our fathers. For how hard their lives were, The Hawks, all of my dad’s nine siblings, were shrewd but unfailingly generous and optimistic.

They had such an easy way of welcoming people to their raucous party. I envied the breezy way my dad could get people to talk to him. So, when my Aunt Elaine, my mom’s sister, who went on several trips with my dad’s siblings, told me after dad died that I am definitely a Hawk by nature my words of thanks caught in my throat. It is such a cherished complement. I am thankful to have known them and that parts of them live in me.

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The Films – Organized And The Beginning Lot Is In Process

Here’s the chronological list of films my dad had. I have added the descriptions as written on the envelops as well as the dates when I could read them. I made minor additions for clarity here and there.

I took the first lot of them to the guy who’s going to digitize them this morning. He will give me digital files on flash drives, both edited in the way he deems most attractive and clear and the raw version of all of them. Once I get those digital files, I will create compressed versions of the movies that can be easily watched and shared on YouTube. I will then share the links on Facebook so that family can share as much as they wish with others. The earliest I expect to get them back is Thursday of next week (Aug 15 2019).

I decided to convert the films in chronological order, and I started with a smaller batch to make sure I like working with they guy who’s doing the conversion. Assuming I like him I will probably take him all the rest in one go. I have put the ones that I took in bold.

Niagra Falls 1965 – Mom and I have no idea who will be on these
Niagra Falls 1965

Xmas Peterson’s ’74-’75 – Yep, he misspelled it.
First Roll of Sound Film Salt Fork May 1975
Southwest Trip June 1975
Northwest Trip Aug & Sept 1976
Last Part of Northwest Trip Aug & Sept 1976
Nanna & Nannie Thanksgiving Summer ’76 and ’77
’75, ’76, ’77 Reunion
Judy, Jana, Vivian’s weddings & Dosh summer ’77
At Aunt Annie’s Aug 14 1977
Swimming pool Pt Pleasant NJ 1977 – This envelope is empty. There are two films out of the envelop, so perhaps one of this went in this envelop
Unlabeled and undated – but the packaging seems to indicate it’s from the last 70’s and possibly ’77 or ’78
Pt Pleasant Aug ’78 roll 1
Pt Pleasant Aug ’78 roll 2
Carol’s wedding Nov 26 1977
All Katie 1 and 2 yrs Xmas ’77 and ’78 parties and Santa
Karen’s wedding and Jane’s wedding Aug ’77 and Sept ’78
Gary’s Ordination – this is undated, so I don’t know where exactly to file it.
Reunion ’78 and ’79
Xmas ’79 at Bertha’s
Katie xmas ’78 3 yr birthday party xmas ’79
Alice and Stu wedding

Disney World Feb 1980
Katie’s 4th Birthday Party April 1980
Reunion Aug 1980
Xmas 80 roll 1
Xmas 80 roll 2
One roll that is unlabeled from March 23 1981 – this envelop was empty – there are two movies out of the envelop, so perhaps one of those went in this envelop
Three rolls that are unlabeled from Sept 28 1981
Christmas 1981 1
Christmas 1981 2
Fla-trip 81
Jennifer’s Wedding 1981
Northwest trip 1981
Cypress Gardens FL Mar 22 1982 roll 1
Cypress Gardens FL Mar 22 1982 roll 2
Tennessee Trip June 22 1982 roll 1
Tennessee Trip June 22 1982 roll 2
All grandkids Sept 7 1982
Grandkids in Abrigg’s house sandbox Sept 7 1982
Xmas 82 roll 1
Xmas 82 roll 2
Reunion 1981 and 1982
Disney World Oct 1982

Billy body building Feb 28 1983
Sept 25 1983 kids in the back yard
Reunion # 2 – no date, but by process of elimination I think 1983
Reuinion # 3 83
1 roll undated and unlabeled but appears to be in similar packaging to the 83/84/85 films
2 rolls with no date and a label that I cannot read – maybe it says Steve’s? As will note above they are in similar packating to the other 83/84/85 films
1 roll undated and unlabeled but appears to be in similar packaging to the 83/84/85 films
Reunion 1984 roll 1
Reunion 1984 roll 2
Reunion 1984 roll 3
Christmas 1984 roll 1
Christmas 1984 roll 2
Reuinion 1985 roll 1
Reunion 1985 roll 2
1 roll with the same develop date (Aug 26 1985) as the reunion rolls above with a label that I cannot read – maybe it says Francie?
3 rolls of film that were all developed Aug 25th 1986 without labels – my guess based on date and how quickly my dad seemed to develop what he shot is that these are the 86 reunion.
Kate Xmas 85 part 1
Kate xmas 85 # 2
Second part of farm? I cannot read that and beginning of Kate Christmas 1985 – weird thing about these three Christmas 85 films is that they show a develop date of 12/26/86 and accourding to all the other films dad developed right away. So, I am just wondering if he wrote the wrong date here.


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Random Thoughts: Facebook Is a Utility

I listened to Ezra Klein’s podcast in which he interviewed Mark Zuckerberg yesterday. And there were a couple of things that troubled me. First, I was concerned to hear how quickly Mark Zuckerberg dismissed Ezra’s concerns around one of Zuckerberg’s, and therefor Facebooks’s, assumptions. The assumption is that a more connected and interacting world will result in a better world. Second, he brushed aside any suggestion that his current business model is incompatible with his stated goal of improving peoples lives based on the assumption just referenced.

What I heard was unexamined assumptions. Those are incredibly dangerous. If the road to hell is paved with good intentions the map itself is set out with unexamined assumptions.

Thanksgiving. Unless you have grown into having the exact same values as your whole family, this word should tell you that closer isn’t always better. While there are many aspects of this holiday I enjoy, it’s also a mine field of choosing between living your authentic self and avoiding unnecessary conflict.

There’s always at least one person who cannot gracefully handle conflict. Maybe your aunt is the lady who decided she would rather be right than be in relationships, rarely a choice that’s made consciously, rather one that springs from insecurity. And there’s always at least one person with fringe political believes who won’t respond kindly to any criticism of them. With these folk, the distance is precisely why you can manage Thanksgiving with them.

And that distance? It’s exactly what disappeared when Uncle Bob friended you on Facebook and started sharing link from freedom.eagle.com.ru twenty times a day during the last election. Now, you’ve got him 365 days of the year. Only now, his funny toasts and football commentary that you actually enjoy at Thanksgiving is drowned out in his political rage.
Some of the reasons we compartmentalize our lives are relationship sustaining rather than inhibiting.

I haven’t even touched the fact that psychologists are starting to put out research suggesting that time spent socializing though our phones doesn’t yield the same positive physiological results as face to face interaction. Nor have I touched on the FOMO effect that makes people less happy when they spend an excessive amount of time on social media. This gets around to the second worrying thing in that interview.

Facebook’s business model has been brought under more scrutiny since the Cambridge Analytica issue. Facebook makes money by selling us its users and our mountain of information and our attention. They have clear incentives to addict us to living in their app. Zuckerberg dismissed this as a real concern based on his assertion, which is that connected is better.

I don’t necessarily think Zuckerberg has mal-intent. But I am very troubled by the gaps in his thinking. He’s holding a stunning about of global power, and that interview demonstrated to me that he’s not intellectually rigorous enough to wield it. I think it’s time to consider regulating social media as a utility. I don’t know that the government will have any good ideas on what to do next either, but I don’t feel comfortable allowing shareholders and Zuckerberg to continue to hold all of the control.