I inherited a metal case containing a random assortment of slides. Years ago, I glanced at these slides, picking through them. At the time, I found a shocking image, but I simply replaced it in its slot (#98). Then I placed the metal case with its 150 slots into the back of a four-drawer file cabinet and sort of forgot about it.
More than a week ago, I came across this gray case again. Fifty-six slides still remain inside. This time, I opened the notebook inside the case and found these descriptions (capitalization and spelling intact):
Mount Rush More
ARIZ MOUNTAIN FLOWERS
SUPERSTITION MTS ARIZ
YELLOW STONE OLD FAITHFUL
YELLOW STONE FORMATION
YELLOWSTONE MORNING GLORY POOL
MORNING GLORY POOL
OUT WEST PICTURES
CHICAG BOY SCOUTS
CHICAGO VFW ON PARADE
MUSEUM OF THE CROSS
W.VA INDIAN SKELTON
CHICAGO BOY SCOUTS
CHICAGO LINCOLN PARKCHICAGO PARK FLOWERS
OUT WEST PICTURES
MUSEUM OF THE CROSS
SARSOTA FLORIDA PICTURES
GREAT MASTERPIECE FLORIDA
BLACK HILLS PASSION PLAY FLORIDA
CHICAGO NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
CHICAGO MUSEUM SCIENCE-INDUSTRY
CHICAGO HISTORICAL SOCIETY
STEPHEN C. FOSTER MUSEUM
CHICAGO ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
CHICAGO CHILDREN ZOO
SQUIRREL LINCOLN PARK
PHONIX ARIZ ZOO
PICTURES OF JESUS
CHICAGO HIGH SCHOOL
PACIFIC GARDEN MISSION
CHICAGO TAVERN MAN IN DOORWAY
MAN IN ALLEY
MEN SLEEPING IN PARKS . . . .
Uh, what? Go back. Go back. Rolling what? Sniffing glue? I picked up slide #95. December 1963, printed right on the slide. The headless portrait of a man squeezing a yellow tube of glue into a paper bag. Slide #96 shows his face. Who is that?
Slide #97 shows a woman. March 1964 stamped into the slide. She’s wearing a white shirt and poking a needle into a reddened elbow. I can’t see her face, just a hair-obscured profile. Three pictures of her “shooting dope” and no clues. Oh, and I just picked up slide #101 and it’s the same woman, different shirt, dated September 1963. I found another slide of her in the slot for “ARIZ SCRENSERY” posing with another young woman on a rock on the edge of an ocean.
Who are these people? I believe the handwriting is my paternal grandfather’s. He died back in 1986. My own dad has been dead since 1989.
And so, I have no idea who is pictured in these slides from the 1960s. They look unfamiliar to me, but obviously my grandfather knew them. But why would he put these slides mixed in with other benign images, vacations and cityscapes and portraits of known relatives?
I have no idea. My grandfather was nearly a stranger himself–he lived in Ohio and I grew up in Washington state. We visited a handful of times, driving across the country in three days and nights. My parents never had enough money for motels, so they’d switch off driving. Once my grandpa and my stepgrandma flew out here for a vacation and we trekked all over Seattle to show them the sites.
When I knew him, my grandpa was an old man, a powerless, harmless gray-haired man who lived in a creaky old house that smelled like old people. He had adventures in his day, judging from this evidence.
I wish I knew more and I’m sorry I know this much.
11 thoughts on “The Slide Mystery”
could have been things he saw on vacation and thought were photo-worthy for their novelty
They could be photos of his trip in his vacation that he want to keep for memories.
I wonder if he ever gave “talks” at church or to scouts? Those kinds of images seem like the kinds of things that were used to illustrate “talks.” Back in the day, slides were the most usable form of audio-visual. (In the 60s drug use was very poorly understood by the general public. There would have been a lot of curiosity.)
the spellings are priceless. i love it. it is too funny.
I would not know what to make of it.
But, I see the beginnings of a great American novel.
And I thought my old pictures were mysterious!
My family suddenly seem so boring.
There are a couple of photos of me out there somewhere in my wild youth, skinny-dipping somewhere up near Mt. St. Helens several years before it blew. I don’t have them, but I sure wonder what whoever stumbles across them thinks when they go thru the photographer’s files someday and spot them. I’ll be one of those nameless mysteries too, I’m sure.
Whoa, weird. I agree with Judy: this is novel-worthy material.
I have a bin full of old pictures from my parents house – when I say old I mean from the early 1900’s, not the 60’s cuz that was my childhood and not that long ago! One of them has a picture of my paternal grandfather and two other men. My mother labeled the picture with each person’s name and in parenthesis next to one name is Heroin Addict! Pretty much blew my mind!
finally! the slide story…you are such an evil tease. by the way…my profile picture on myspace…me, standing on a rock in front of superstition mountain in arizona…look like the picture on your slide??