Friday Photo Flashback

Welcome to another edition of the Friday Photo Flashback feature! This time around we go back to 1988 (and 1999).

In the past it has been fun for me to find a picture and examine the things in the background. The picture I have chosen really doesn’t allow me to do that, because there’s not really anything more than some of my favorite people.

In going through photos, I came across one from my graduation party and it made me smile and sad at the same time.

The photo above features from left to right: Papa Joe, my Uncle Tom, my dad, my grandpa, and Mr, Kanne.

What I love about this picture is the connection to another picture, which connects some friendships. Look at the photo below, which I may have posted on here in the past. It was taken at my first wedding in 1999:

I think it is extremely cool that the two photos are almost identical in that Papa Joe is on the left in the top picture and his son, Joe, is on the left in the bottom photo. Mr. Kanne is on the right in the top picture and his son, Steve, is on the right in the bottom picture. My dad is in the center in the top picture and I’m in the center (center-left) in the bottom picture.

(In the wedding photo: Joe, my brother Chris, Me, Steve, Jeff, and Steve)

Sadly, in the top picture, my grandpa, my uncle and Mr. Kanne have all passed away. My uncle and Mr. Kanne are buried in the same cemetery as my mom and are not that far from each other. I often stop at all three graves when I am there.

Collectively in those photos are 10 men who all played (and continue to play) important roles in my life.

On a humorous note, I can’t help but think that both photos look like a police line up …

… or maybe a funnier line up ….

Friday Photo Flashback

Welcome to the first Friday Photo Flashback of 2023. Every once in a while I will be looking for a particular picture and stumble on another. That is the case with today’s featured picture. I came across it while I was searching for a picture from yesterday’s blog.

I truly do not know a lot about this picture. If I had to guess, I would say I am 3 or 4 years old here.

I know that this was taken in Grandma and Grandpa D’s back yard. Whoever took the photo is standing directly in front of the sliding patio door. Directly behind me would be my grandparent’s house. Right up against it was an ugly green metal rocker/couch. It had metal holes in it shaped like squares and you’d get up with the imprints of them on the back of your legs.

To my left in the photo and on the other side of the picnic table, I can see the popular lawn furniture of the era! Remember those aluminum chairs with the straps?

Everyone had these and they were the chairs of choice before the fold up ones everyone uses today. Someone is sitting in the chair in front of the picnic table in the photo. I wish I knew who it was. If I had to guess, it is probably my grandma. Of course, it could be my mom or even my great grandma.

The table is obviously made up for some sort of outdoor dinner or lunch. It looks like 8 plates are set. Grilled burgers or hot dogs, perhaps? I only say that because it looks like a bottle of ketchup on the table next to some red and white napkins.

The bowl at the end of the table looks like a Tupperware bowl. It is anyone’s guess as to what is in the bowl, but I would say that if was the turquoise colored Pyrex bowl, it would have been grandma’s marshmallow fruit salad. I always seem to remember it being in that bowl.

The picnic table was there as long as I can remember. I also remember that wooden half privacy fence. In later years, when I would go to cut grandma’s grass, I remember it starting to fall apart.

It looks like there might be a pack of cigarettes at the end of the table. I may be wrong. I thought it might be Marlboro, but upon looking at the packaging, there are not two red areas on the pack.

Then I thought about how much my grandma loved playing Gin. She may have even played bridge. Maybe they played pinochle. I don’t know, but it could very well be a deck of cards on the table.

I admit I had to take a minute to think about my grandparent’s back yard. What else do I remember? My aunt had a swing set back there. I’d have to ask my aunt if she remembers more, because I could be wrong. I want to say that it looked like this:

For some reason, I can’t recall if it had the bench swing (on the right) or the two seater thingy (on the left) or both. For some reason I remember a tree being close to the swing set, maybe up against one of the ends.

I also remember a rose bush up against the back of the house which often yielded pink or white roses. It may have been right up against the chimney. I know there were also rose bushes on the side of the house.

The one thing I remember most about my grandma’s back yard was that there was a huge fence along the back. There was a swinging gate that opened and closed which led to a cemetery! We didn’t go in there much, but there were times we did. I think my aunt used to tell my brother and I spooky stories about going back there. All I know if I was never out back when it was dark! Even when I was older, I made sure to be there early enough to mow before it got dark!!

This is one of those instances where I wish I could take the picture and “uncrop” it! I would love to see more of the back yard and I would love to see who is sitting there with me.

Friday Photo Flashback

It’s time for another Friday Photo Flashback. As we get closer to the Christmas holiday, I picked another Christmas photo to look at. It is from 1974.

I found this on a hard drive. I am guessing that it is a scan that my brother did of some of the photos from my aunt. My Aunt Jodi and I are 4 years apart. This photo was taken on Christmas Day in 1974. My aunt and I are featured in the picture.

There are a few reasons I chose to feature this particular picture. First of all, I do not remember it. As I said, it had to be one my grandmother took. I don’t recall seeing it in an albums at my house, or in any batch of digital scans from my dad.

Next, it takes me right back to my grandma’s living room. Where the Christmas tree is, my grandpa’s rocking chair was usually there. Next to it, or on the wall next to it (which was a half wall as I recall) was where my grandpa kept his cabinet phonograph.

Those things were awesome! He had many big band albums, and one with Harry Belafonte singing in concert. He always played the song about a hole in the bucket or something.

The fireplace was a real fireplace as I remember. I may have only witnessed one real fire in it growing up. I recognize the red candle that is behind me and to my right in the picture. Grandma had that for at least a few years. I am four in this picture, but it is in the same spot in another Christmas picture from their house when I was 2.

I love the mess of open boxes and wrapping paper all over the place in the picture. It is a bit too blurry to tell what some of the toys in boxes are, but that army jeep was probably my gift. This may have been the year I got a GI Joe Doll. The GI Joe came with a small hand grenade. This must have been years before anyone worried about kids choking on things, because it was quite small. It was so small that my brother stuck it in his nose and it got stuck! I know that required a trip to the ER to have it removed! The more I think about it, he may have stuck it in his ear, I don’t know.

UPDATE: My brother was able to zoom in a bit on the picture and told me that the box behind me is actually a Weebles set! Sure enough, here is the box!

I’m not a fan of the buzz cut that I am sporting, but it was a favorite haircut of my folks. I had them often. I also don’t know what to make of the outfit I am wearing. Wow! The 70’s sure had some crazy patterns on pants! Even my aunt’s pants look like something you’d see on an old golfer.

I really have no idea what my aunt is handing me. Of course, the way we fought as kids, she might be taking whatever that thing is away from me. Is it a snake? Is it a dinosaur? Is it a fish? I really cannot say. I don’t remember that thing at all! I’m smiling, so I must have thought it was cool.

The crocheted shawl my aunt is wearing has GOT to be something my mom made. If I were to make a wager, it very well may have been her Christmas gift from my mom. Mom loved to crochet and made a lot of things for family. She made me some sort of sweater vest one year. When she was into ceramics, she made something for every one. When she was making fabric painted sweatshirts, everyone got one. Because the pattern, I would certainly think that the shawl is my mom’s handiwork.

You will also notice that on the tree, right behind my aunt is a crocheted diamond ornament. My mom made hundreds of those ornaments. One year our tree was full of them! Want proof?

The other thing I notice in the picture with my aunt and me is the garland. It seems like garland was a necessity for Christmas for my mom and grandma. It is wrapped around the tree, which is where you’d expect it, I suppose. But you see the lone strand hanging down along the wall by the fire place? Right there between the tree and the melted plastic Santa? I can almost bet that it is strung along the top of the fire place.

I stopped writing and went to my hard drive to see if I could find a picture of the garland. Sure enough, a couple years earlier, here is my aunt and I in front of the same fireplace. There along the wall – is the garland!

…and that same red candle!

At least I don’t have a buzz cut in that picture!

Oh to go back and watch those moments …

Friday Photo Flashback

It’s time for another edition of the Friday Photo Flashback. This one has a holiday theme to it. My best guess is that it was taken between 1972-1973. I make this guess based on the contents of the photo. Let’s Flashback to a Christmas morning ….

The above photo is of yours truly many moons ago. It is Christmas morning. The tree is out of the camera shot, but would be to my left, probably right in front of my mom.

As a kid, I don’t really remember unwrapping many presents. Usually, my dad played Santa and when my brother and I got up, the toys were already put together and in front of the tree. That may have been the case here as I don’t see a whole lot of wrapping paper.

Observations from the picture:

My mother is so young and beautiful in this picture. I don’t remember the robe she is wearing at all. If it wasn’t for this photo, I don’t know that I would have ever seen it before. I love that she is smiling while watching me.

I don’t recognize that couch at all! This would have been taken at the first house I remember. We lived there until the winter of 1976. I know that the tree would have been right in front of our living room window (again, just out of the camera shot).

I am obviously wearing two piece PJ’s, but only wearing the pants. That looks more like a regular T-shirt than a PJ top. It is possible, although I can’t really tell, that I am either wearing slippers OR those pants have footies on them. Hard to say.

The first thing I noticed when looking at the photo was that big boat next to me. It took me only one broad search of “Little People Boat” on Google for the toy to come up. According to Google, this would have come out in 1972.

I have blogged about Little People before, but not sure if I mentioned this set. I remember that flag so well. It was literally a plastic triangle on a long spring! I forgot about those crazy deck chairs and the life preservers. You can see one of those and the little blue boat on the floor in front of me.

To my left in the picture, was a favorite of mine – the Little People Airport.

The jet is to my right in the picture and the cars and such are scattered about. I remember that helicopter so well.

I wish I had one of those programs that brings out of focus pictures back in focus! From what I can read off the box behind me it says, “Push ‘Em Car.” I wasn’t sure if it said “cart” or “cars.” I did a search and what came up was a toybox. It is VERY possible that is what it is.

The one in the picture of me is not a Mickey Mouse one. Only two kinds came up in a search – the one above abd a generic one. The box behind me in the photo looks like it has monkeys on it. I wish I could make out what they are!

The last thing that I can make out was the book in the bottom right of the picture. I could barely make out “Zoo Keeper” so I typed that into a Google search. Imagine that, the book showed up! It’s called Zeke Zoo Keeper! I don’t remember it at all, but there it is!

I wish that I had more photos of the stuff we had under the tree. I guess without them, the proof is there that it really is never about the gifts you receive, but the experiences. Sure, I can remember some of the gifts I got for Christmas, but many of them are long forgotten. It is the memories with family that I will always remember.

Friday Photo Flashback

It’s time for another Friday Photo Flashback. Once again, today’s installment was prompted by something I noticed on Facebook.

Many of my friends are posting their child’s Senior pictures. Back in the day, you went to a studio and they took your yearbook headshot and a few other forced poses. Today, many opt to go to professional photo studios and have them done outside of the studio. I’ve seen some amazing photos of seniors in a variety of places. Some were on a baseball field, others in the bowling alley, and many outside with fall colors as a background. Then there were others that were taken outside old buildings that had graffiti on the walls, or next to classic cars. There is certainly more variety today!!

Today, you get a few photos. First, the one that I found recently of my mom. This was her high school Senior picture.

This would have been 1966, if I remember correctly. She looks absolutely beautiful in this photo. Before her cancer and all that chemo and radiation, she has such beautiful hair. She always had it done up in some way. Her smile is so subtle in the picture. The thing that gets me, though, are her eyes. Those eyes – there is so much love in them.

Giving equal time to my day, I was able to find one of his Senior picture.

I love that he is in his cap and gown here. He had completed all the requirements for graduation and opted to graduate in January of 1964 instead of waiting and graduating in June with the rest of his class. The photo is in black and white, but I can’t help but wonder what the school colors were. I wonder about it because of the mortarboard. That dark band at the bottom could have been black or blue and the rest of the cap grey or light blue. I don’t know. How can you not dig the skinny tie?

One thing is for sure, I got two things from dad: dark eyes and big eyebrows! You can see that in my Senior picture.

Urgh! The 80’s!! HUGE glasses, thick ties, sideburns, and an awful 70’s porn stache! You’ll have to take my word on the big eye brows, the big glasses are in the way in this picture. One thing I did like was the amount of hair I had back then. I am pretty sure the beginnings of the bald spot were visible at this time from the back, but thankfully not in this picture.

As an added bonus, I will add my baby brother’s Senior picture. Just three years later and he’s rocking one of my ties!

I’m not sure who wore the stache better, him or me. That tie, if I remember right was a real silk tie that my grandmother had bought for me one Christmas. I loved that tie, but one holiday I wound up dripping gravy or salad dressing on it – ruining it for good.

Upon closer examination, it looks like big eyebrows run in my family ….

Friday Photo Flashback

It is time for another Friday Photo Flashback. This week, it is a bit different. In the past installments, I have picked on photo and written about things in it, or the memories connected to it. Today, however, is Veteran’s Day and I have a few photos that I want to share. The camera at the top of the blog is a 1967 Polaroid Land Camera. I chose this particular camera because of the context of the photos below.

Veteran’s Day is a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. Veterans Day celebrates the service of all US military veterans, while Memorial Day honors those who have died while in military service.

I’d like to especially thank my dad, and all of the great Vietnam veterans I’ve had the chance to meet because of him. Here is a photo of him either just before or just after basic training.

My dad served in the 9th Infantry.

He sent many photos home from Vietnam. He sent them to my grandparents, and my mom (long before they were married).

These photos were in albums for many years and there was a time that my dad didn’t talk much about his time in Vietnam. It was war after all, and he saw things and witnessed things I cannot imagine.

I knew from a shadow box that held his name tag, bars, patches, and his Purple Heart that he was in the infantry and was wounded. It was years later that he told me about that.

The above photo was one I don’t really remember. It is possible that this was one that my grandma had at her house in her albums. I’m going to guess that my dad is 21-23 in this photo.

The title on this scan was “R&R,” so my dad might be on leave in this picture. It is another one that I have a vague recollection of.

A father will usually boast about being proud of their children, but I would like to turn the tables and say that I am proud of my father. I am honored to be this hero’s son. Thank you, Pop, for your service to our country.

Before wrapping up, let me remember my grandfather, Henry Davidson, who fought in World War II and my Uncle Tom (my Godfather), who also served in Vietnam.

I love this picture of my dad and my uncle. There were friends since childhood and remained friends until my uncle passed away. What an amazing friendship they shared.

Today I thank those who have served in the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines and all branches of the military. Thank you for your service to this country and thank you for the freedoms that I have, the freedoms that my family and friends have, and for the freedoms of every American citizen. You make me proud to be an American.

Friday Photo Flashback

Its time for another edition of my Friday Photo Flashback. I stumbled upon a photo that brought back many memories making me happy and sad at the same time. Take a peak:

If I was going to put a date on this, it is probably around 1996 or 1997. It looks like it was taken at a home I lived in with my then girlfriend and future ex. It is a terrible picture of me, as I am obviously caught by surprise here. I still have hair and am still wearing glasses. I’m also sporting one of the T-shirts I had made for my DJ business. But it is not me (or the big honking computer monitor) that catches my attention – it is the stuff I can see in the background.

A lot of it I can make out just by looking at it. However, I viewed it by zooming in and a lot caught my attention. The bookshelves alone are full of fantastic memories! The book shelf on the left side of the picture holds a boat load of VHS tapes. On the top shelf I can make out some Soupy Sales Show videos and some videos we must have recorded off TV (hand made lables). On the shelf below that I can make out the VHS tapes of the Three Stooges shorts, Jack Webb’s Dragnet movie, and the Jack Palance version of Dracula. Each shelf would hold two rows of VHS tapes. So I can only see the front rows of what is on the shelf. It seems like the third shelf down is also holding video tapes, but the three hole punch on top of the computer monitor is blocking it.

This photo is obviously taken after 1994. That is when Honey Radio went off the air. Honey stuff is all over this room! Right above the three hole punch, you can make out a black and gold Honey Radio coffee mug. On the top shelf of the right book case, I can see the the Billboard Top 100 Chart book and Pop Singles book. These were part of the Honey on air studio. Behind me on the wall is a chalk caricature that was drawn of me while I was out doing a remote broadcast. I LOVED that thing, and it is long gone now. (This may be the only photographic evidence of it). Next to that is a wooden sign with the Honey Logo on it. Below that sign are two frames. One contains one of the last Honey Happenings newsletters (which has my picture in it) and the other is a shot of me and my old morning show partner.

On the wall behind me in the photo is a beautiful framed photo of the Three Stooges. I received that for Christmas one year from my parents. Under that is the top of a Blues Brothers concert poster. At one point, I used that when my partner Steve and I would don our Blues Brothers hats when we DJ’d. And right below that are the Three Stooges dolls I wrote about in a previous Friday Photo Flashback. You can see the tag on the Curly just behind my ear.

Heading back to the bookshelves. The bookshelf on the right has SO many books that I wish I still had. There is a book on Bugs Bunny, a book on World War II that I had given my grandpa, a few books with Three Stooges scripts, an amazing biography on Curly, and the wonderful Ted Sennett book on the Art of Hanna Barbera.

On the second shelf, I can make out the Milton Berle Joke books I used when I was on the radio, biographies on Stan Freberg and Jackie Gleason, and books I had forgotten about. One example of this is when Thomas Chastain offered up a new Perry Mason novel –

Another example is the books by William Harrington series with Columbo as the star –

The next shelf contains books about movies and TV shows. I had books on Get Smart, Batman, Perry Mason, The Munsters, and more. The coolest of the TV show books were two with trivia and scripts from Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

There are other little trinkets and treasures on the shelves I can see, but the ones on the top of the book cases are ones I wish I still had. I can see my prom glasses up there (yes, they gave high school kids in 1988 wine glasses!), I had two because I went to prom with a gal in my junior year and then my senior prom.

On the left, you can see the boxes that contained limited edition Blues Brothers dolls. I had both Jake and Elwood.

Also on the top of the shelf are Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton figures – limited editions, as well.

I had no idea there was an Alice figure that went with those two until I was searching for pictures.

Finding the photo with all of these memories was such a treat to me. I am sad to remember so many great books and things that are no longer in my possession, but the memories of them remain.

Friday Photo Flashback

It’s time for another Friday Photo Flashback. While I was looking for Halloween costume pictures, I came across a photo I have never seen before of my brother.

From what I can tell, this was taken at my parents house and has to be fairly soon after we moved in. I am almost positive that it is our house because I recognize the yellow curtains on the basement windows.

I don’t know what event was being hosted in the basement, but it seems to be some sort of gathering. Maybe it was my communion party or something. My brother is holding flowers, so maybe it is a birthday party, I really don’t know.

Most of the paneling is still up in the basement at my folks house, though the basement is quite darker now as people rarely go down there. The man standing on the far left looks like my mom’s dad. He is standing in front of what used to be the “bar.” My dad had bottles of alcohol on there and those white mugs, which can be seen in the pitcure.

On the floor, to the right of my grandpa is a case of Towne Club! You used to go there with the crate and pick the flavors you wanted. It was a staple at all gatherings growing up. It’s awesome to see that in this picture.

I do not recognize the desk next to my brother at all. I don’t know where it came from or even how long we had it. It probably wasn’t long, as I don’t recall it being down there at all!

The craziest thing in this picture (beside the pants my brother is wearing) is the stereo on the desk. WOW! It is obviously a turntable with a tuner and the 8-Track player!! Whether or not this is the 8-Track recorder my dad made tapes on I cannot be sure. It is probably just a player. I wish I could zoom in closer on this picture because I’d love to see it in more detail!

What a find this picture was! The one thing I have to wonder is how much detergent my mom had to use to clean the stains on my brother’s pants!! It looks like he was playing in the dirt somewhere!

Ah, the 70’s!!!!

Friday Photo Flashback

Time for another Friday Photo Flashback. This time around I’m taking you to my room….circa 1990.

The shelf you are looking at sat above my bed (a waterbed…lol). Above it was another shelf with the globe my grandmother had got me for Christmas, some ceramic pieces my mom made me and a few other things.

Just by looking at this picture, I can recall where everything else was in the room. To the right of this picture is the window that looks out to the front yard. On the wall opposite this one, my dresser sat in the corner. Directly next to it was a shelf that my cheap stereo system sat on.

(The stereo had a double cassette deck, turntable, radio tuner, and a place for a microphone. Long before I worked in radio, I made tapes for people with songs I recorded off the radio with me acting as DJ. I know I’d be embarrassed to hear those now!)

The closet was to the left of this picture. All along the walls were photos, posters, and your typical teen wall decor. The shelf pictured here was the focal point of the room.In a way, this shelf encompasses “me.”

Centered on it are the (now long gone) Three Stooges figurines. I really wish I still had them. I marvelled at the detail of the faces when I first saw them. They were fairly expensive when they came out. They represent “humor,” which has always been important in my life. To laugh and make people laugh … It’s a very big part of who I was/am.

Above the Stooges, a treble clef and music notes hang. Both were gifts from my mom. I’m sure the clef hung elsewhere in the house before she gave it to me. Music has always been important to me and continues to be.

To the left of Larry is an award I got in my senior year. I think it was for “Best Dancer” which is ridiculous. I probably only got the award because I did the Curly Shuffle once at a band party. I’ve never claimed to be a dancer. Perhaps when I hit my goal weight, I will think about a dance class with Sam.

To the right of Moe is my high school diploma. I always joke that I was in the half of the class that made the top half possible. I think if it wasn’t for band class, I probably would have done even worse. I was not the ideal student. That experience only helped me when we I finally went to college – I knew what NOT to do!

The two flags were something I got at Epcot one year. They represent my Italian and American heritage. There is more in my background on my mom’s side (English, Scottish, and German), but I tend to embrace the Italian more

The screwdriver on the shelf? I have no explanation for. I’m screwy, maybe? Yeah. That’s true in a lot of ways.

Friday Photo Flashback

Here is another installment of the Friday Photo Flashback. This feature started with a writing prompt that asked to find a picture and write about it and the feelings it brought about.

This week I only have to go back a year or so. As I have been watching the leaves change color, I was reminded of the many autumn walks I took with Ella. I remembered just how fascinated she was with the leaves. We often would stop so she could enjoy them.

I may have posted this photo in a past blog, I can’t remember. I just love this photo of Ella!

I love that we were walking and she found this colorful pile of leaves. I recall her picking them up one by one and just being mesmerized by them. Then she just dove into the pile.

I love the hat she is wearing. I hope my wife saved it in the “special clothes” bin. I love the huge smile she is wearing. She is so content. Happiness must be a huge pile of leaves.

I am far from a professional photographer and I am sure that this is no where near professional quality. However, to me, it looks like something a professional would take.

It’s a one of a kind photo. As I see her smiling surrounded by leaves, it reminds me of some special moments with my daughter. It also reminds me of my favorite season.