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The camera that started it all | by Romair
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The camera that started it all

This Kodak Retina II-A was quite instrumental in starting my wife and me down the road that eventually lead to our wedding. I bought it in the early '50s, carried it with me through the "battlefields" of Parris Island and Hawaii while I was in the Marines, and still had it t when I started college at Clark U. in Massachusetts, where I met the stunningly beautiful Mairi (whom I later named Sammy - see comment box below). To her, I was at best a tolerable (barely) pest, until one day in an advanced composition class we were both taking, she was asked to read her paper on why she would never carry a camera on a trip (she had watched tourists mindlessly staring through their viewfinders, and she felt they weren't really seeing anything). I knew she was taking a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Venezuela, and I said to her, "you mean to say you'd take a trip like that and not come back with any photographs to show your family and friends?" That got her thinking, but she didn't own a camera, so I told her I'd lend her mine. She was agreeable to that but didn't have a clue how to operate it. So, I said I'd teach her all she had to know. That got me an invitation to her home for the weekend, where I explained f-stops, shutter speeds, how to focus, the "sunny sixteen" rule, all that stuff we had to know back in those days when we didn't have automation (I didn't even own an exposure meter). She learned quickly and well and returned from her 6-month Venezuela trip with boxes full of perfectly exposed slides and ended up giving lectures and slide shows as a result. And, to show her undying gratitude, she agreed to marry me in 1960. Well, maybe there was a little more involved than that, but it was that Kodak Retina that broke the ice and raised me a notch or two above "tolerable."

 

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For images and stories of this nature, I have put together a set called Our Life Story, depicting our life together over the past half century and containing over 200 images and descriptions which, for the most part, are in chronological order. Check it out and let me know what you think of it.

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ODT: "Vintage" and "treasure."

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Taken on December 18, 2004