Friday, January 15, 2016

Part 2

My sisters were better gift idea people.

Pauline gave my dad the gift-to-end-all-gifts once, a Polaroid land camera!  It was about the size of a bread box and weighed a good 5 pounds.  The magical thing about it was that it would develop a black and white photo in only 60 seconds, almost as unbelievable as a vehicle ever going 40 miles per hour.  I cannot find a good picture of it, but this gives you the idea:  Feb 21, 1947 Edwin H. Land publicly demonstrated his Polaroid Land camera, which could produce a black-and-white photograph in 60 seconds.: Land Demonstrating, Instant Camera, Camera 1947, 1947 Edwin, Land Camera, Cameras, Demonstrating Instant
It took something like five or six steps from start to finish. A roll of film took 8 pictures and ran something like $1.00 a photo, a shocking price even in these days. Hopefully that camera is in a museum somewhere.  It was an amazing gift and could have been used as a dandy weapon if needed.

Another very nice gift Pauline gave my parents was a complete set of Cutco knives, circa 1960-ish. They were used several times a week for decades and looked as good as new after my parents passed.  I hope Pauline inherited them. They came in a dark brown color and were encased in a nice wooden case. Pauline knew how to buy good stuff and I think she was as happy about giving as the recipient was about getting, maybe even more.

Lorraine was more the artist giver.  She even painted a picture of Old Blue that hung in the "orange" bedroom for years.  My parents treasured a neat glass bird window hanging she gave them that shined beautifully in the sun on the west window.  It was very appropriate as that window was the one by the birdhouse my dad tended so faithfully.

Betty was the unique gift giver. I can't imagine how many hours she spent searching for near-one-of-a-kind gifts like the sand art in oil that gently followed gravity into an endless array of swishes.  It was as mesmerizing as watching a cobra dance, maybe more because there was no fear of dying painfully and immediately.

Another gift she gave them was an aqua-colored thing that had some aqua-colored oil essence in it.  You turned it upside down and big blue aqua bubbles dropped from the top, bubbles getting smaller and smaller and smaller as it shifted to the bottom.  We probably spent 100 hours of our lives studying that thing.  

On the table in the living room sat the piece de resistance, a temperature thing with more bubbles inside...kind of like this, only much fancier in recollection: 
I bought them a clock once, a white ship perched on the top, with an entire day's wages from substituting kindergarten.  As far as I know, none of us had ever been on a ship, but it had a wistfulness about it.  The only other ship thing in the house was a puzzle of a ship I put together that my parents framed and hung in their room. This from a girl who kept her eyes shut the entire time during the Perfect Storm movie and still had to stop on the way home to throw up.

The dumbest gift I probably ever gave them was a holstein cow toy. You put in some batteries under its stomach (yes, I know there are actually 4 stomachs in a cow and you would not believe how many times that has come up in trivia situations over the years), the cow would take four steps, stop, raise its head and MOO.  I can only imagine how excited my dad must have been to get a cow toy that actually talked.  I mean, seriously, he probably had tears in his eyes.

(The cow now sits in my curio but hasn't moo'd since the batteries died in the late 20th century.)

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