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Turns out SAHS was PERFECT for me. They provided pencils, paper, anything you needed. There were no lectures. If you came to class for five days, you got credit for six. All one had to do was show up, complete at least one chapter out of the textbook for the class and turn it in. I regularly completed three to five chapters per class. After I was finished with the textbook, I read or helped grade papers. 

In my three student "English" class, I edited and typed the newsletter, the other two wrote songs (they were in a band). Mr. O'Malley was also a photographer and donated his own black and white development equipment to the school; in a large storage room by the office was a darkroom. I was smitten.

 I loved seeing the picture form in the gentle rocking bath of chemicals - pure magic.

My camera - a Kodak Instamatic. That's right. The one with the square flash cubes. I don't remember where or when I got the camera, perhaps for Christmas or a birthday. (It's not the camera - just remember that.)

Lord knows we were not allowed to touch my mother's SLR Minolta.
It's surprising:
A.) there are any pictures of Mom at all because she could barely bring herself to relinquish the camera to anyone - even my father, a responsible adult.
B.) that the rare pictures of her aren't all of her reaching towards the lens and mouthing - no! no! don't TOUCH that! Just push that button - no! Don't TURN anything! I had it all set up! Hurry...oh just hurry up! Give me the camera!
And then she would whisk it away to minster first aid and wipe off any offending fingerprints, muttering condolences and apologies.

I'd love to post some of my photographs from that era, but I THREW THE NEGATIVES AND PHOTOS AWAY. It's like getting punched in the stomach every time I admit that. Ah, the dangers of being a purger.

Mr. O'Malley hung one of them in his classroom. When I came back to visit several years after graduating, it was still hanging in his classroom. I confess, it made me feel good.

Once he let me borrow his Pentax (with a light meter!). I walked across town taking pictures, but got lost going back - I kept walking past the street I needed (had not paid attention to the name of the street) and was late by about an hour for the after school ride home.
Mom of course thought I was laying in a ditch somewhere and her and Mr. O'Malley were getting ready to send out a search party.
Ah, life before cell phones.


  1. I had my experience while in Vietnam back in 1969 developing my own film at the photo lab and sometime some of my vietnamese friends would let me use their negative to make print for them and of course I would always make one for my album. I miss the fun I had seeing the image form on the paper. Thanks for the memory.

  2. I'm sorry you tossed those photos because I like all the old photos on your blog so much. Maybe your brother saved copies?
    Just a thought...

  3. @ Odie - good for you for keeping one for your album. I know better now mostly.

    @ Andrea, my brother is 6 yrs younger than me and wouldn't have been interested in my photos - obviously I wasn't. So short sighted. I thought I'd never want to see them again. Ah, my stomach hurts again...