Friday, November 12, 2010

When Old Is New

The old stereopticon sits in the antique Weller pot beneath my desk. I'll admit that it gathers a bit of dust. Not often do the girls pick it up, but when they do, we step back in time.

The old viewer is not a family heirloom. I purchased as a prop for a show years ago. The high school kids loved looking at the early 3-D pictures. The pictures held a history and many a hidden story. A bonneted woman spanking a boy with a broom. A swimmer diving into a lake. A view over Niagara Falls. All places that took our parents far away from home when they were children with a viewer in hand.

Once in awhile I pick up the viewer and look through the old cards. Many are well-worn. Perhaps those were favorites of children in a time when this was a form of entertainment. Who bought the old steroptican for the child? Were there gales of laughter? Maybe a traveler brought the new-fangled thing home as a gift to the family. Women thrilled at viewing new styles of clothing. Children saw far away places and a different way of living. History was captured in pictures that still are enjoyed today.

"Hey, look at this," my granddaughter yells to her friends. The girls gather around the stereopticon. I'm glad I have this piece of the past in my home. Maybe we have come a long way with TV, video camera, movies, photos, but nothing will ever replace the wonder of picking up the view, picking out a card and moving the handle back and forth watching the picture reach out to them.

 We never had one of these on Neff Road.....but one has touched the life of a little girl who once lived there and the generations after.

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