I have a little bit of back story about this find, so here goes…
Over the years of my asking everyone I know who was alive in Kearny “back in the day” if they have photos of my family, many people have mentioned one particular guy to me. “…he was always around, always had his camera with him, he has tons of pictures. He used to go to a lot of concerts.” I started looking for him (I’ll call him Pat) about 3 years ago, always dead ends, but only recently did someone tell me that he had moved to Florida. I wound up calling his brother’s next door neighbor, telling her some of the details of my search, and lo and behold, the brother (I’ll call him Bob) called me back just before Christmas. But the news was bad, “Pat” (the photographer) has been institutionalized with alcohol induced dementia, is unable to help, his photos had very likely been thrown out in the rushed consolidation of their late parents’ home contents into their son’s one bedroom apartment. It was a sad story, and though the “Bob” was very kind, we were both dissapointed to think about what had likely been lost. However, he promised to look around for them.
“Bob” called me two days ago – the pictures are found! There were three large albums in a cabinet with his parent’s ashes, of all things! I am not sure if he has all of what would have been a precious collection; according to my stepfather, “Pat” had gone to a lot of late 60′s and early 70′s rock concerts on the East Coast and was often able to slink up front and take great photos of the artists. “Bob” mentioned another mutual friend in several of the photos – and lots of photos of a guy with a big afro. “That’s my dad!” In pretty much all the old photos my dad is easy to spot as “the guy with the big afro”. He said there are plenty of him playing with his band. I don’t have them yet, but he has promised to scan them (at 300dpi, full color, with no color correction) and put them on CD for me and get them to me in about 2 weeks!! If he wants me to, I’m going to see about putting them up on one of those sites where he can sell prints.
In any event, this process of seeking and finding has reinforced a few thing for me:
- Procrastinating about looking someone up is a bad idea – a few years ago, I might have been able to help them preserve a lot more photos. I did try, but I should have been a little more thorough in the questions I asked.
- It’s worth re-visiting those dead end people searches every once in a while
- Reaching out and making these connections is very personally rewarding, whether I find pictures or not.
I hope to have some pictures to share before too long. In other news, I came across an old University of Arizona college buddy on my instant messenger, and had some nice chats. He is married and lives not far, and we are hoping to have a visit one of these days. He has tapes of my Dad, and stories of them hanging out with Jerry Garcia!?!
Oh – one more thing – I just found out that Sinbad (the comedian) knew my dad! He apparently saw my photo montage of Dad and said, “I know that cat!” (which immediately had me wondering, “Hmm, what the heck was Sinbad into?”) My friend is giving Sinbad my email address. I hope he will write me – maybe tell me a funny story…