A bit long, so I’ll apologize now. But fun stuff….
Awhile back I shot a house in Cameron Park. Nice enough place, right on the golf course. A bit dated. The owner had died there and his kids were now selling it.
I opened a door to see what it was and found a closet filled with photo equipment. Tripods, a projector, lots of boxes of slides and prints, and one camera. It was an old Ansco dual-reflex camera. I’d seen them before but never used one. Heavy sucker.
Anyway, I told the agents that they may want to get that stuff out of there or lock the closet door, and they did the latter. Didn’t think anything about any of it as I shot the rest of the house, processed the pictures, and went on. House went on the market and sold quickly — location, location, location, ya know — and that was that.
Then the agent contacted me telling me that the family, the sellers, wanted to know if I wanted to buy the camera. I have a collection of cameras, but this was obviously a cherished item of their father’s as I saw no SLR or any other cameras around. I’d asked around and seen online auctions wanting anywhere from $20 to $200. But it was well preserved, he’d had his name embossed in the leather case — they should keep it. And that was that.
A couple of days ago I get contacted by the daughter of the homeowner — they want to know if I want to buy the camera. I’d forgotten all about it but, again, said they should keep it as a memento as he obviously cared for it. She said she’d ask around the family.
So today she calls me and says, nope, no one wants it. There were plenty of mementos they all got and they want me to have the camera for free for all I did to help sell the house, and they know I’ll take care of it.
I go up to her place and get the camera and talk with her for awhile about her dad.
He was an Air Force pilot, joined up in 1940 or so and stayed in for 34 years. Here’s his obituary. Got shot down in France at one point but wasn’t captured and made it back to fly more missions. Flew mainly bombers and other heavy aircraft including cargo planes and tankers. Was a B26 Marauder pilot in World War II and one of the B26s he flew is in the Smithsonian.
I took some of the pictures to scan for her since she was having computer issues. One of them I scanned and printed out for me, and I’m going to frame it and hang it next to the camera when I find a suitable place to put it.
It’s a picture of the Major or Colonel Fitch, probably in Europe or Korea she figured, and if you look you’ll see that in his hand is…the camera.
Added item: When I was at her house I removed the case from the camera and popped open the back. There was a roll of film in there, exposed and sealed and ready to be processed. I sent it off today to The Darkroom. We’ll have to see if there’s anything worth retrieving.