I ran across the Huebner Family Photos Flickr account quite by accident; it was one of those things where I was so deep into a trail of searching for things that I have no idea how I ended up where I did. But I’m so glad I found this account— if you have some spare time (and if you don’t, make some), their photo collections are well worth a look or three. Basically it seems they’re going through all their old family photos from the past half-century or so, many of which appear to be slides, and they’re converting them all to digital uploads. While that in itself might not be so interesting to anyone who isn’t in their family, where it becomes of interest is the fact that these people travel a lot, and they were traveling fifty years ago, too. They have nearly 4,000 photos up there at the moment, many of which are from Europe in the late 1950s, stretching all the way through to the present day. Also, they appear to be a family of very skilled photographers, which helps.
I can’t even describe how many different kinds of photos are there— you just have to go see it for yourself. The above photo was taken from my favourite set, Czechoslovakia 1988-89. I find that set particularly interesting because I was dating a Czech guy at that time, and it’s amazing to see that his descriptions of his homeland were so incredibly accurate.
I’ve been told by a very reliable source that this is just the beginning, and there are more sets of photos coming soon, including a set from Europe, dated 1961. Can’t wait to see those.
I don’t think I’ve ever talked about my life in Texas here before, mostly because I just don’t think about it all that much. What’s in the past is in the past— I don’t usually suffer from homesickness or overwhelming nostalgia, and since I haven’t lived in the US in over a decade, I really don’t connect with what’s going on there. But when I ran across this slideshow announcing the last night of San Antonio’s famous Liberty Bar, my blood ran cold. The Liberty Bar (which is actually a restaurant as much as it is a bar) was once a staple of my life, and I have some very vivid memories of spending time there with some people who were not only very important to me, but who are no longer with us. I don’t often get sentimental about things like this, but here we are. This is the price of leaving home— home eventually moves on without you.
Apparently they’re moving the Liberty to a new location, which I think is a bad idea. The whole charm of it was that it was in that delightfully wonky building that seemed to defy gravity. Also, I’m pretty sure nothing is allowed to change in this world without my express written permission.
I’m weirdly sad about all this.
Bread Came Sliced is another one of those nostalgia blogs that you just need to go look at, because I can’t explain it to you. It’s on Livejournal, which is a little bit of a strange choice of host for what is basically a public photoblog, but that just adds to the overall charisma. You’ll see photos in there you forgot about, photos you never knew existed, and photos that could have been taken by your parents or grandparents. Highly entertaining.
Incidentally, I totally remember grocery stores looking like the one in the above picture. I used to get in trouble for playing with the paper bags.
Oh, and the other day someone told me that people in the United States still write paper checks. Like… now, in 2009. Can you believe that? I’m not sure about the veracity of that claim, though. It seems pretty unlikely, actually, that something as simple and ubiquitous as chip-and-PIN technology has eluded the grasp of the world’s most influential superpower, but if it is true… how very, very quaint. It makes me want to go out and write a ton of checks for old times’ sake— it never occurred to me that something like that would even be possible anymore, since the rest of the world moved on more than a decade ago.
I wonder if American cars still have cassette players. That would be awesome… but not as awesome as 8-track.
A couple of people here and a few more over at Flickr asked about my Smena 6, and specifically wanted to know if I had the manual. I guess a lot of these cameras are floating around out there in various conditions, with or without boxes and/or manuals; I was lucky enough to get one in near perfect condition with everything intact, so I thought I’d share.
The manual for the 6 is quite ’50s-looking to my Western eyes, probably because everything Soviet was about 10 years behind in terms of design, and these cameras were made and marketed during the ’60s. The manual is fantastic— if anyone is willing to do a working translation, please stand up.
A few sample pages:
I know there are quite a few of you nostalgiaphiles out there for whom these web-quality jpg samples just won’t cut it, and for that reason I’ve uploaded an uncompressed 300dpi pdf of the entire Smena 6 manual for your printing pleasure. Enjoy.
For all sorts of complicated reasons, I dug my old Smena 6 out today. I’m planning on using it tonight.
It’s got a million different settings, and I can only remember what half of them do.
Vodka helps me remember the other half.
I am now the proud owner of a Soviet-made Moskva portable typewriter.
Moskvas are some of the most enigmatic typewriters on the planet, as not much information about them escaped the iron curtain. But I’m hooked up to some knowledgeable people now, and information is trickling through slowly. I’m still hungry to know anything and everything about this machine, though, so if anyone out there happens to be a Moskva expert, do speak up. Now would be a great time to show off your geekiness.
It’s in the original case and everything… and it’s in fantastic cosmetic condition. See more photos here.