Film Flashback: San Francisco

My mom had always wanted to go there. She had passed through SF, on her way to Colorado, after leaving Honolulu, where she was born and grew up.

The day-long drive from LA was a rainy and cool one. The sun broke through in the late afternoon as we arrived at our hotel on Fisherman’s Wharf. Our three-day tour of the Bay Area, in 1972, was a jam-packed one, taking in the sights with our trusty guidebook and map in hand.

northbound, Golden Gate Bridge


The centerpiece of our trip was the morning-long, ferry tour of the Bay Area.



Alcatraz Island


It took us awhile, but we found Lombard St, the winding street.


Like many places, the Bay Area has changed considerably in the intervening years. Certainly, the cars have changed. Forty years has a way of doing that.

For stunning views of the Bay Area, Elisa Ruland has a set of beautiful photos of her walk across the Golden Gate Bridge here, and views from the East Bay area here.


Film Flashback: Same Roll, Halfway Round The World

Like many other servicemembers, my dad carried a camera in his personal gear. He snapped pictures of whatever caught his eye or thought interesting. About six weeks before returning home from Vietnam, in June 1968, his Brownie camera stopped working. The shutter mechanism had jammed. While having a camera didn’t seem to be a necessity, he bought an inexpensive Minolta camera at the PX to replace it. The trip home had him traveling through Japan, and then taking the polar route via Alaska and Seattle. It was worth taking a few pictures. With my dad soon retiring from military service, he wasn’t coming this way back again.

While these are not the best images, they were on the same roll of film that was loaded in his Minolta camera.

low and fast, helicopter ride from Lai Khe, Vietnam (Jun 1968)


southwest Colorado, near the Four Corners at sunset (Jul 1968)


It is said the world has become smaller, especially in the age of the internet. Two images on the same roll of film, the axiom, “halfway ’round the world, worlds apart”, applies. The world is much larger.

Film Flashback: A Secluded Beach


Dreams of an empty stretch of beach seems to be in order.

on the North Shore of Oahu (Dec 1978)


After a few minutes here, it’s back to work. And, wondering if the towering elm, across the street, will break in the strong, cold winds.


About the photo

This photo was taken using the Canon FTb 35mm SLR with Kodacolor film (ASA 200).

Film Flashback: Ford Mustang

Ford Motor is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Mustang, by far its most enduring model line.

The first Mustangs were introduced during the 1964 model year, produced in limited numbers. In 1965, the Mustang went into full production. One of the many buyers of the ’65 Mustang was my dad. It was a car he couldn’t resist, and the price was just right. Though the Mustang was meant to appeal to fast car aficionados, ours was a family car.

my dad’s 1965 Mustang, my dog Peanuts


washing the Mustang


Under the hood, a 287 cubic-inch V8 with a 4-barrel carburetor and power steering included. A couple of the older cousins, on my dad’s side, were so impressed with his Mustang, they had to buy their own.

the other Mustangs


Stella owned the dark 1966 Mustang shown above, Ernie had the one parked in the driveway (also a 1966) shown above. Both models had V6 engines rather than the 287 V8.

My dad thought when Ford had made the Mustang larger, with a bigger engine, they had ruined the car. And, he was right in that respect. Its sales began to decline in the early 1970s. Ford muddled and fiddled with its design, eventually reducing its size by 1976. The resized Mustang was no larger than their other “pony” car, the Pinto. Both shared the same engine and transmission, possibly even the frame.

Though there was talk about returning the Mustang to its roots and going back to the 287 V8, it didn’t. And, while the newer Mustangs may have some of the lines of the early Mustangs, they’ll never be like those early models. With a lot of power and the best engine ever made.


About the photos

These photos were taken by my sister, Ginny, in 1966 using roll film. Scanned from print images.

Film Flashback: Winter Break

A respite from winter’s cold, snow and ice is always welcomed.




After Christmas 1978, my parents and I rang in the new year (1979) in Honolulu. That particular trip was well timed. It snowed the night before we left, and snowed again while we were away. While “winter” in Hawaii is generally rainy, the week we were there, we had nice weather. My aunt said how fortunate we didn’t have poor weather during our visit. When we came back from our trip, it was back into the cold before the weather moderated back to seasonal norms a few days later.

Having family there (mom’s side) makes it easier to visit there. But as that part of the family is much older, and not knowing the cousins that well, the trip regularity has dropped off considerably. Like many, we’ll settle for a certain TV show that has this locale for a backdrop.

(to view panorama in full size, click here)


About the photos

These photos were taken with the Canon FTb 35mm SLR using Kodacolor film (ASA 200).

The first two photos were taken from the Pali Highway scenic overlook, the third photo may be the North Shore (don’t quite remember if it is), and the fourth photo is a panorama of Honolulu from the grounds of Tripler Army Medical Center.

Film Flashback: Yellowstone 1966

In July 1966, Yellowstone National Park was chosen for our summer trip. Originally scheduled just after July 4th, the trip had to be cancelled because my dad was put on alert orders. Being a military family, you’re aware plans can change suddenly. While it was disappointing, you understand that’s the way things are. About a week later, my dad’s alert order was lifted. With 10 days of leave back on schedule, he and my mom decided the trip to Yellowstone was back on. Though lodging reservations were considered to be booked solid, they figured it was worth the chance. AAA had said cancellations always occur, and most likely lodging could be found inside, or outside, the park. It was our good fortune we were able to obtain three days of lodging at the Old Faithful Inn due to a reservation cancellation.

Then, as it is now, the Yellowstone and Grand Teton area possesses majestic and breathtaking scenery. With so much to see, it didn’t seem three days was enough.

The picture taker on this trip was my dad.

the distant view – Teton range


drawing closer to the Teton range, approaching the south entrance to Yellowstone


the Grand Teton range


at the Teton scenic overlook


After entering Yellowstone through the south entrance, it didn’t take long to be greeted by the park’s residents.

momma bear with her cub


with buffalo slowing the traffic, this bear makes a direct appeal, “disregard the sign that says do not feed the bears”


The views –

Old Faithful Inn


the midday crowd watching Old Faithful erupt


Yellowstone Lake


Bluebell Pool


Bluebell Pool close-up


another geyser and geothermal pool


About the photos

These were scanned from color slides, and constitute a small portion of pictures taken of the Yellowstone vacation. The camera used was a Brownie.


For more photos of Yellowstone, please visit Jane Lurie’s post here.

Film Flashback: Berlin

Part Three

It would be very fair to say Berlin of the early 1960s was a far different place. West Berlin was revitalized, showing very few signs of the devastation visited upon the city during World War II. In the eastern half, it was gray – like it was frozen in time. The large apartment blocks of East Berlin, those closest to the western half, seemed to be vacant (and probably were). The assumption was probably much of the war damage in the Soviet sector still existed. Whatever life was in the city, it was quite clear the wall changed everything.

On our last day in West Berlin, we managed to have a driver to take us around for the day. He asked my parents if they could pay his fee in US currency. His fee was $20, and that would include taking us to the train station the next day. Our driver normally drove for the US military during the week, noting that’s how he learned to speak English. Before the wall was erected, he and his family lived in East Berlin. He managed to move his family into West Berlin by bribing the East German border guards to look the other way. The guards’ Soviet military supervisor settled for some “American beer and cigarettes”. Unfortunately, our driver was unable to bring his elderly parents and his wife’s parents into West Berlin. Our driver took us around mostly in the British sector.

The picture-taker on the trip was my dad.

a cinder-block section of the Berlin Wall in front of the Brandenburg Gate


British military police on patrol near the Brandenburg Gate


the Siegessaeule (“Tower of Victory”) in the center of the Tiergarten section of West Berlin (British sector)


another view of the Soviet War Memorial in the Tiergarten section of West Berlin (British sector)


the Reichstag, or Imperial German Diet (Parliament), the East Berlin border was a few meters behind the building


the Schloss Charlottenburg, a palace in the far western end of the British sector of West Berlin


the dome of Schloss Charlottenburg


Berlin, today, is a very much different city. It is once again a very vibrant city. Much of the Berlin Wall has been dismantled, with a one-mile section remaining. (This last section is currently at the center of dispute concerning its demolition.) Landmarks, such as the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag, have been restored.

Though I have many more photos of my family’s trip to West Berlin, they’re more of the family kind. I hope you have liked this series.


Part One of this series can be found here. Part Two of the series can be found here.