That's uncle Warren, I think, who wasn't really an Uncle. I don't know if he was a Vikings fan, but I suspect he might have been, and if so, that is not an accurate representation of his mood. Then again, we're supposed to get three inches of snow today, so that's not an accurate representation of the world in any way.

Good weekend, the highlight of which was the game on Sunday. No, THE GAME. Holy Jeezum Crow, what fun. There was much shouting and blurted oaths and clutching of sternums. The exultant exhaustion of victory! Well, watching victory.

I know I say I’m always sorting and scanning, but lately I’m really sorting and scanning. Trying to get all the family things arranged in bins for easy disposition once I’m room temp.

Nothing is a drag on the next generation like the things you leave behind. They were important to you, and hence your descendants want to honor you by keeping them. But there is nothing to be done with them. They go in a box. The box goes in the basement. It’s like a burial, except it’s disinterred every few decades and reburied in another basement.

What am I to do with my dad’s baseball uniform from the 30s? The Harwood Hawks. Perhaps the state museum might want this one-of-a-kind item. Ah! They’re doing a fashion exhibit right now.

Right now they’re looking for . . . toys? Oh, they do want clothes. Alas:

Clothing 1950-current:
• Racoon skin cap Nehru jacket
• Moon boots (1980s snow boots)
• Designer dresses (ie Jessica McClintock dresses)
• Brand name children's clighint (OshKosh B'Gosh, Garanimals, etc.)
• Hypercolor shirts
• Jeans (Flare, bootcut, skinny, work, bib overalls)
• Saddle shoes
• Toe socks

"Racoon skin cap Nehru jacket."

I don’t know what any of those have to do with North Dakota in particular, except to prove that we weren’t too far behind the trends. We used to joke that we got new ideas about the time everyone else was done with them, as if they were brought across the land on Prairie Schooners.

Why the museum wants to archive used toe socks is beyond me. I am glad they're keeping a historical record of "Brand name children's clighint," though.

Let's see if I can reproduce that word by shifting my hands over a letter; no. I get "clirginr," which sounds like some Old Norse for a shield, or "Speaking between closed teeth," or the word for toe socks.

Anyway. I pulled down a box from the shelf, knowing what was in it: slides. The bane of all family historians. The serious family historians have dedicated slide scanners, I’m sure. I don't. I did a websearch for one, and to my surprise there was an app for your phone that did it. Wha? I downloaded it, and was immediately hit with subscription options. For $40 a year, or something, I could scan all I like, and correct the images and sharpen them and so on. It had a free version. This I tried.

Periodically the app threw up more notifications for upgrades and other products, and I could dismiss these forever for a one-time fee of $3.99. At this point I hate the app. But I continued to use it: you call up a page on the web that’s all white, hold up the slide, press the button on your phone, and it captures and selects. Seemed to do okay.

Then I realized: wait a minute, it’s just using my phone camera to take a picture of the slide. I can do that. So I made a blank page that was all white, experimented with the right distance, and took some shots.

Worked fine.

There were about350 slides in the box. Triage time. I edited them down to 250, sorted them in piles, and began. It took a while, but I did it. Now I have a more complete cast of characters of childhood.

My grandparents, who were smiling people, as much as North Dakota farmers can be, but reverted to Studio Traditions of Proper Solemnity when the cameras came out.

Long-gone uncles engaged in uncle things:

That was Uncle Hank. He ran the City Garage, I think. Big man with a pink car.

Your host:

I remember that sofa. It felt nubby and synthetic. Ended its days in the basement. These shots were from a house we rented. Better resolution:

The table would travel to the new house, where it would stay forever. The lamp, not so. Alas. My mom gave up on the post-war domestic modernism in the 70s, and went rather baroque.

Reader's Digest, ashtray for guests, and a magazine for dad's interests, his dream of someday flying:

  Why yes, we can find it on the web.

The men of another age entirely, nearly unrecognizable to modern sensibilities:

Downtown Fargo is doing well and has preserved a good deal of the old stock, but ths was a bad trade.

Next: forensic study of the items under the tree.



An early talkie, so we're still working out the kinks.


  Let’s hear the exciting theme, which, like everything else, wanted to be Gershwin.

It opens in a big-town boarding house where two country girls have come to stay. Right off the bat, that early 30s style that just seems to lag and drag and seem stagey to modern eyes, because, at its worst, it was.

The movie is held up as proto-feminist by some, I guess; the director was a woman, which was rare. Also gay.


It’s boring. To me, anyway. Arzner has some nice shots:

But it’s strictly for completists.

Hey, sometimes this feature is not a celebraton, but a warning.



That'll do! See you around. There are five matchbooks this week, because I am a generous man. Closes out the Gas section.




blog comments powered by Disqus