7.10.2014

Christmas in July: A Kodachrome Lot Unboxing

Seasons Greetings from Columbia, MD, where it is a frosty 90 degrees!

Remember that "Kid on Christmas" feeling of unwrapping a new and largely unknown toy present?  It seems that no one told us that feeling pretty much eludes as adults.  By and large, our gift giving consists of practical items and assorted knick knacks that don't quite carry with them the thrill of unveiling a Star Wars action figure, the anticipation of getting a set of Matchbox cars, and the disappointment of getting a pack of socks wrapped up.


Every once in a while, however, one may be fortunate enough to replicate this feeling in some way or form.  I was just so lucky this past week, when I stumbled upon an ebay listing that I discovered upon trying a roundabout search for "slide case" (in hopes someone would be selling a case WITH the old slides included) that I was able to determine was likely to include slides taken locally.  Carefully reading the writing on the slide listing, I could make out "Timonium Spring '58" "Lutherville May Day '59" and "Mondawmin" among others. Though the listing made no mention that the slides included would directly correspond to the listing in the lid, it seemed like a worthwhile risk, considering that the entire set of about 200 slides and case were going for just over $22 including shipping.  At the typical rate of about $5 per good individual slide, I'd only really need to find 4 or 5 keepers in the batch to consider it a worthy purchase!


So when the package arrived from nearby Ellicott City, it really was like Christmas in July for me.  Once I had a chance to open and look through this unique "present," I'd feel somewhere between thrilled and dismayed.  I only hoped that there were at least a few photos that were more than simply family snapshots, as I really did not want to feel like nothing more than a creepy voyeur into a family I had never known personally.



My "Christmas present" in July.



Opening the lid to find about 200 slides as expected.

The labels showing a range from about 1958 to 1960, and including some possibly interesting subject matter.


All told, I came out pretty well ahead.  There are at least 10 shots here that I would not hestitate to share, and still others that could make the cut as well.  There were admittedly a number of total yawn photos in the batch, such as images of someone's suburban tract house being constructed in the late 50's  or early 60's, and others that did make me feel like I was intruding a bit too much on the lives of strangers from a couple of generations ago.  Regrettably, the hoped for images of a 1950's Mondawmin as well as those of Baltimore's Northern suburbs were not to be found amid the inventory in the box.  Still, there were some slides that were quite good, as well as at least a couple that literally made me "Ooooh!" as I looked at them for the first time.  I'll be sharing those select photos in later episodes of the Kodachrome of the Week feature in coming weeks.


For now though, I am gladly sharing four other "keepers" from the lot.  I can honestly say that I did quite well with this slide purchase, and I've got a great box where I can store my favorites from this purchase as well as others!


I sort of expect this snow image to originate from the northern suburbs of Baltimore, such as in Timonium, but I'll certainly have to investigate to uncover where.  The rather modest houses tend to seem largely at odds with the hilly terrain.


At least this one is readily recognisable thanks to the Geosphere - taken at the 1965 Worlds Fair in New York City!


The stamp on the slide mount for this one reads JUN59, while at least a few slots on the listing key have a mention of "Seneca Rocks."  I'd presume this one links to one of those slots, and if so, that puts it in West Virginia.


While the written key listed mostly shots in 1959, this slide was among many stamped NOV 68.  At least it is pretty interesting, and was pretty self descriptive for research purposes.  It turns out this unusual formation is located on Lookout Mountain in Tennessee.


For the sake of showing a few samples of the less than thrilling slides from the collection, witness the following:


Family playing golf:

Man in a muddy hole:

Stay tuned for more samples from my Christmas in July featured in the Classic Kodachrome Monday feature!