Today, I will bid a final goodbye to my Uncle Ed, so I will not be posting a normal Friday’s Fresh Five! Instead, I would like to share a memory of him. Being an engineer, my Uncle Ed was an intelligent and clever man, but it was his big heart and gentle soul that endeared him to so many. In three days, my Uncle Ed would have celebrated his 94th birthday. A remarkable age for a remarkable man. I cherish the fond memories I have of him and of the many childhood days spent visiting with him and his family.
The Dark Room
As a child, the thought of entering a dark and creepy space, filled with unimaginable things, always made my pulse race and my stomach churn. Possessing a wild imagination, unfamiliar dark spaces scared the daylights out of me. Then one day, during one of my summer visits to my Uncle Ed and his family, something happened.
The day was sunny and looking to be a fun one when my cousin Bobbie called out, “Come on! Let’s go down there.” I quickly replied, “No, I don’t want to!” Excitedly, she said, “I want to show you something and it’s down there!” Fearfully, I exclaimed, “I don’t want to see it!” Bobbie persisted and before I knew it, she opened the door and we were leaving the sunny fun day behind.
I followed her down narrow wooden stairs and willed my legs to cooperate, so that I wouldn’t stumble and fall headlong into the dank stale air and the oncoming darkness. My heart beat like a metronome set on high by the time we reached the bottom step. While my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I sensed movement to my right and smelled something very strong and acrid. “What is it Bobbie?” I whispered. “I’ll show you,” she replied calmly. “I’m never going to visit her again!” I thought to myself as she nudged me forward. As she guided me closer to the source of the movement, I noticed an eerie light. What I finally saw not only altered my impression of that particular dark space, but also introduced me to something I would grow to love. Standing yards ahead of me was my Uncle Ed. He was busy moving things from tray to tray. As I stepped closer, he explained to me that he was developing black and white photographs. I stood mesmerized, while watching familiar faces slowly come into being. To a young girl, it looked like magic.
That day was the beginning of my lifelong fascination with photography. And, knowing that Uncle Ed created magic within the confines of that basement, I no longer felt afraid to go down into the “darkroom.”
Thank you Uncle Ed. I am forever grateful to you for introducing me to the magic of photography and for being in my life. I’ll miss you.