Friday, December 17, 2010

Eternal Christmas

 - Eternal Christmas - 

Dedicated to Paul Lukacs 


Originally published December 3-17, 2009 on my Facebook account

1930 - My Aunt Betty and mother Marjorie at home on Cedarlawn in Michigan. Recovering memories is a strange thing. This photo was so small that it wasn't until it was blown up that I could see the pattern of the brick of the fireplace. It was then I remembered that fireplace from Grandma's house.

1932 - Aunt Betty and mother Marjorie outside their home on Cedarlawn in Michigan. Not every year brings snow at Christmas, allowing Betty and Margie to model their new roller skates in mild weather.

This is an album of various images which may have absolutely nothing in common except Chirstmas. Here we have what I believe is our oldest surviving Christmas Card from the early 1930s.

The baby is Dwight Little, son of family friends. Dwight was a little younger than my mother and from that I assume this card is from the early 1930s.

1937 - Aunt Betty and mother Margie at home.

Another Christmas Card from the Little Family

I like how it opens up inside....

This was put together by hand with each photo placed behind the snowball. Dwight now has a sister Beverly and a baby brother Billy. Looking at his age puts this maybe late 1930s?

Sometime at the end of the Great War this news clipping recorded Grandmother Martha and fellow carolers out spreading the peace of the season.  Martha is shown third from the left.

1943 -- At the Cedarlawn house.   Although slightly damaged and out of focus there's still something dreamy about it that I like.  I worked on the tint until I could see some reds along with the green.

December 8, 1945 - When World War 2 was over, it was Martha's daughter Marjorie who now found herself singing at her high school concert for the first peacetime Christmas in years.

Taken New Years Day 1952 - In the family home of one of my Dad's working partners. To me it strikes iconic of early 1950s America.

Probably early 1950s example of a post card at Christmas from Arizona. The Carlsons were family friends of Grandma & Grandpa Findahl.

1952 - In Galesburg, Illinois at my Aunt Betty's home with her seated on the left. Next to her is my cousin Joanne who helped me identify the others in this picture.  I knew Eileen and Eldie Long standing in the middle and my Uncle Paul's brother Bob and wife Bernice Johnson and their kids are on the right.

1952 - This time my Uncle Paul is seated. Cousin Joanne is next to him and she let us know that the patterned dress lady and dark haired man in the back to the left are Bob and Cookie Swanson.  One of the two boys is Steve but we're not certain of the other.  The boys with Bob and Bernice at the far right are Pete and David. Centered is daughter Judy in front of parents Eileen and Eldie.

Early 1950s - This was what got me thinking about posting images of Christmas greeting cards. Shown here is my father's youngest brother Uncle Bill. All of us cousins loved Uncle Bill.

This was a card from someone very close to me who recently died in 2007.

A dear friend of many, Ellen Friedman (1961-2007) left us suddenly and unexpectedly as many do. I love this card, being such an example of how big Ellen's heart was.

1953 - My Dad's brother Uncle Gordon at Grandpa Stoscup's home on Heyden in Michigan.

1953 - Grandpa Gordon Findahl and Grandma Martha Findahl at home on Cedarlawn in Michigan.

1953 - My mother Marge at home on Patton in Michigan.

From a card I received Christmas 2003 from Saxon Emil Sitka, son of comic actor Emil Sitka. It has special meaning for me mostly because of the words out of Emil's diary from Christmas 1945. If I was to put any meaning into what this collection of images would be about, those words say it all.

An image from one of the Three Stooges comedies with Emil Sitka shown on the right. Happy Holidays!!

1956 - My brother David and sister Shirley from an early Holiday Greeting card.

1956 - My brother David shown here at home on Patton in Michigan. I like seeing the toys of that era. There's a lot of metal!

Added November 19, 2011 for Grandpa Wilfred Stoscup's birthday.
 Xmas Card from Grandpa Wilfred Stoscup - Late 1950s or very early 1960s

Inside Xmas Card from Grandpa Wilfred Stoscup.

I never called my Dad "Pop" but let it slip out one day and learned he liked it. For years I had not noticed this card from either the late 1950s or very early 1960s signed by his father.

Cover for our 1964 Family Christmas Greeting Card

1964 - The inside showed a photo of the entire family (by this time I had been around a few years.) Shown: Shirley, Dad, me, Mom & David.

I'm guessing mid-late 1950s (?) from the family of my mother's cousin. (Eileen would be the daughter of my Grandfather's sister Helen.)

Added December 16, 2011
Offering this picture in honor of reconnecting this year with family friend Darlene Carlson Reitmeyer.  Darlene is shown sitting with her family behind her, husband Wayne Reitmeyer and sons Norman & Doug Reitmeyer with daughter Kathy Hartley

1999 - Through the years I would send to and receive back holiday cards from Yoko Ono. This one shows some of her artwork.

1999 - Remember how strange it was thinking we're entering the year 2000? Yet we learn it is nothing but a number.

1958 - Siblings David and Shirley with Santa

1959 - I was on my way by this time, the last few days of the 50s. Shirley and David are here by the Christmas tree with Dad's 1930s Lionel train behind them.

1961 - David & Shirley back with Santa!

A postcard holiday greeting from the pastor for our church and his family. This might be late 50s early 60s.

From the family of Mom's cousin in Illinois. Shirley was the daughter of Grandpa's brother Frank (Uncle Bert). Again, only guessing but I think this might be early 60s?

In the late 1980s, my mother sent a poem I wrote as a kid into "World of Poetry Press" and they published it in their "Great American Poetry Anthology".  I did think it was cool I got another illustration, the first being when I wrote into Contact 10 at the Detroit News back in 1974.  This was probably written a bit before that.  It starts at the bottom of first column.

Friends of my Grandparents, the Benders. I like it because of its solitude.

The Benders lived in Chicago, IL. They had either a real estate and/or insurance business there and lived in the same building as their business above the office. Mom's family stayed there once to visit the Chicago World's Fair. It was Grandpa Findahl that knew the family through the mother who's first name we believe was Ruth.)

2005 - Continuing to remember those who left us recently; I'll never forget my experience befriending Director Curtis Harrington. Here's a wonderful memory of him preserved in this card he sent me.

2005 - If you watched television in the 70s and 80s you know of Curtis Harrington's work as he directed episodes of various TV series' including "Dynasty" and "Charlie's Angels" to name only a few.

His motion picture career includes working with Debbie Reynolds and Shelley Winters in "What's the Matter With Helen?" but I was most interested in his achievement at almost single-handedly saving the work of his friend Director James Whale (Bride of Frankenstein, Invisible Man, Show Boat). It's the 1932 film "The Old Dark House" which Mr. Whale directed after doing "Frankenstein". This all-star cast film (including "Titanic's" Gloria Stuart) had been forgotten by Universal Studios and was left to decompose in the studio vaults.

Curtis befriended James Whale in the 1950s and I spent an evening with him talking about his experiences as a filmmaker. I was given his card (above) and asked to maybe telephone him later in the week while I was in California. He needed someone to drive him to a private screening of a movie he wanted to see that had been made by a friend. Afterward he took me out to dinner.  Weeks later he even called me at work to again thank me for a great evening. (Imagine!... to thank me? Beyond my dreams!)

This could only have happened through knowing friends at Scarlet Street, Uncle Forry Ackerman and brother Joe Moe. It's a long journey to this experience but one that yielded memories that will last my lifetime. 2007 was a tough time for me when I lost many I felt close to including Curtis who left us during that year.

1962 - Now I'm finally old enough to visit Santa, with Dave & Shirley.

1963 - Maybe still a little unsure what what was going on, but here I am again back with Santa and Shirley is behind me.

1965 at Grandma's home! - Shirley, Grandma Martha Findahl, myself and David.

mid 1960s - me with Santa ready for the holidays!

One of the coolest Christmas-Holiday cards I ever got was from Japan. The card itself didn't have my name on it but this was the envelope it came in.

Into the 21st Century from Japan - This was from some folks we worked with and I was so surprised and happy to hear from them for the holidays. I like the design too!

1969 - The making of a Christmas Card. This was taken at my Uncle Bill's home and was not used, but looking at it after all these years makes me remember how much time we spent on it trying to get the right shot.

Shown is my brother David, sister Shirley and myself at the far right.

1969 - The Family Christmas Greeting Card

1969 - On the inside, the approved photo. Dad and Mom are not shown.

1969 - I enjoyed finding some of the other photos not used. I suppose we were too far apart from each other. (Shirley, myself, David)

1969 - Another photo not used for our Christmas card. I just like the idea of how many families were out there who got together to make a happy picture.

2005 - A special surprise to me and now a rememberance of Richard Valley from Scarlet Street Magazine. This is sort of for all the people who made "Scarlet Street" possible.

2005 - Remembering Richard Valley (1949-2007).

When my close friend Ellen died one of the very few places I could express my feelings was with the Scarlet Street Magazine Forum on the internet. Publisher Richard Valley, even though dying himself, found time to give me some kindness and support. I cherish those oh-so-short but wonderful experiences we were able to share online and with Tom Amorosi --especially at Forry Ackerman's home with Joe Moe, memories now sealed in gold forever.

1965 - One more look at the 60s. It's us kids Christmas morning with Grandma's hand in the lower right-hand corner. I was already getting into audio-visual with my "Show N' Tell" and for all my Forry Ackerman friends, in the lower left-hand corner there's a model kit for the "Munster Mobile"!

1965 - Christmas is not just for kids! This is a great shot of the three brothers; My dad Robert, Uncle Bill Stoscup and Uncle Gordon Stoscup at our cousins' home. Oh, what fun we'd always have visiting!

1965- Still at Uncle Gordon & Aunt Edith's home with cousins Jim and Janice. Grandma is in the background. Playing Canadian Hockey!

1968 - We didn't get to see our cousins in Galesburg, Illinois as much as we'd like mostly because of distance, but when we got together we never failed to have a good time. Here is Bill, Chris, Joanne and Tim Johnson

1968 - On the back of this card, as with many, you may be lucky to have some personal writing. My Aunt Betty could always write well and she best captures a moment from the 60s.

1971 - This was taken by me. I'd picked up some things from the school Christmas Bazaar for all the family members and thought I was doing something to contribute to the holiday cheer. (Dad, David, Shirley & Mom)

1982 - When I lived in Houston, Texas I went to a Beatles convention late 1982. The murder of John Lennon was still quite vivid in people's minds and I found myself sitting and chatting with a fellow that at the time I did not know was a close friend of both John and Ringo, Harry Nilsson. I think it took years for me to really appreciate what I had here.

1984 - After returning to Michigan from Texas I got a job at a Robotics firm and was sent out to Colorado for some Computer Aided Design classes. While at the hotel I took this photo.

1984 - Being in Colorado was quite convenient because I was able to visit Wayne Welkenback who had been with me in Texas but moved here to Denver. By this time I'd already known him almost 20 years.

1984 - Coming home I had quite the surprise. Yes, I'd written to Yoko Ono after John's murder and would send a card at Christmas, but never expected one in return. This was pretty inspirational to me.

1990 - Christmas in Brasil. Background left to right: Maria Helena Pinto Moretti, Marcos Moretti, Maria Moretti, Mario Moretti, Fabricio Armelin Moretti, Marcelo Moretti, Rosana Armelin Moretti, Rosemeire Viola Moretti.  Foreground left to right: Flavia Moretti, daughter of Maria & Marcos, myself and Murilo Moretti. [Special mention must go out to Flavia's brother Alexandre Moretti who was not shown here but was indeed around somewhere being 3-1/2 years of age when this was taken.]

I'd become close to a fellow through work at Ford and was invited to visit his home. He worked at a company called Autolatina which, at the time, was jointly owned by Ford and Volkswagen. His name is Murilo Moretti and he had some training to complete first in Michigan and then needed to attend more classes in San Antonio, Texas.

Since I knew something of Texas having lived there and he'd not been in the States before, we booked his trip and I visited a week later in San Antonio to spend time with him as best I could.

Well, I knew if I didn't take him up on his offer to visit Brasil it would never happen so I took a flight to Rio and then Sao Paulo where he lived to stay with himself, wife and child over the Christmas break. It would be two weeks I'd never forget!

When my father died that year, it didn't take long to figure it best to just continue with the trip as planned, and it was a God-send. I think Christmas, otherwise, would have been too painful. I think it helped my mother as well because she could worry about my trip and being so far away. I actually phoned her a few times from a public phone!

It was a sickening feeling I admit and scary flying all that way but as you can see they made me feel at home. While in Michigan Murilo had dinner at my folks house, so he remembered Dad. He and his family were wonderful.

With me shown is my Brasilian Brother Murilo and behind him to the extreme right is his wife Rose. He has three other brothers and a sister behind him. Murilo and I are still in contact to this day.

1994 - Spending the Christmas holidays in Florida. I think this was taken in the Keys. I'm totally at home in the Everglades, by the way. I hope we can still save them.

1999 - That is co-worker/friend Judy Fitch and myself working the Christmas Pot-Luck at Ford Motor. I was vehemently against playing Santa but, I think since Ringo was doing it that year I'd go ahead with the stipulation that it never happens again. (I was happy for the photograph, however!)

2001 - My original idea was to leave on this note with another card from Yoko.

2001 - On the front of the card something positive, a drawing by John Lennon of him, Yoko & Sean. One quote I always loved from John was the play on "two's company but three's a crowd". He'd say: Two's company but three's a family.

2009 - Even as I was putting this together everything changes. After learning of the death of my friend, Paul Lukacs, I wish to dedicate this album to his memory.

I met Paul at Prime Computer, Dearborn, Michigan and we taught students (mainly designers from Ford Motor Company) how to use a system "PDGS" for computer aided drafting & design.

Paul was the expert on Numerical Control (machine tool automation) and I kept in touch with him since those days in the mid 1980s. He liked to call me "Sonny boy" and I'd joke that my real father was old enough to be his very young father.

It was stretching it but so did the imagination of both Paul and myself. Paul was stationed on an Army base back in 1963 out in Colorado not too far from where we vacationed that year in Estes Park. I used to joke that he found me out in the woods being raised by wolves. So in turn to his "Sonny" I'd call him "Pop".

When people questioned it, we'd keep it up. Usually Paul would say, "he's my illegitimate son." I suppose we may have went too far one day when he introduced me as just that to a lady who would become his third wife and I in turn called her "Mom!". But through all those years I could always rely on Paul to tell it to me straight, yet be supportive.

Even when he moved to Florida we never lost touch. Sometimes it was only his emails that got me through a day. When my real dad passed away it was a comment from Paul as he entered the funeral home that really said it all on how we felt about what had happened.

Above is his writing on a Birthday banner he put together for me at work for my 31st birthday. He truly made me feel like family and I will forever be grateful that somehow I must have made him feel the same.

I'll end this with a saying that Paul told me to always remember: "Keep Laughing!"