February 13, 2019 – “Houston, Sydney, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Birthdays, Circus Acts, and Farewell Parties”

Hello, everyone!

Today represented the last day for one of my colleagues.  Kryslynn Collazo begins a new chapter in her life as she transfers to a new department and starts her new job on Monday.  In response, we threw a small farewell party for her around 2:30 PM. Until then, everything proceeded as usual. For me, this meant continuing to review the Home Movie Collection.

Since I finished reviewing the video files of Barron Richter’s donated films, I scoured the list for any entries left blank. Fortunately, I found a few. The notes of the first film indicated that the donor spent a lot of time traveling the world. Apparently, he visited Houston, Texas, Sydney, Australia,  Hong Kong, China, and somewhere in Vietnam.

Whenever the donor visited the city, Houston, Texas certainly does not look at all like it did as depicted in the footage. Unfortunately, I have never been to the city, so the downtown footage did not help me identify where the donor stood when he filmed the footage. The recognizable landmark noted happened to be the Gus S. Wortham Memorial Fountain, also known as the “Dandelion Fountain.” Created by Rice University Professor Emeritus William T. Cannady in 1978, Wortham Foundation and American General Life Insurance donated the fountain and looks like the head of a dandelion (hence the name). Not long after, the footage suddenly shifted to Sydney, Australia.

Usually, a break occurs in the footage to indicate the end of one reel and the beginning of another. This did not happen for the first reel as both Houston and Sydney footage transitioned into each other. In any case, I instantly recognized that the setting changed to Sydney when the donor filmed the famous Sydney Opera House in the harbor. The rest of the footage included an overlook of the Sydney River and the Sydney Zoo, in which the donor filmed kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, a black-shouldered kite, an Andean condor, flamingos, and an elephant. Curiously, the reel ended in the middle of the donor’s zoo experience.

The next reel contained the rest of the donor’s time at the zoo and a trip to the Australian Outback. Like before, the setting changed soon after and the donor filmed the city of Hong Kong from the harbor, from boat rides, and from the mountain ranges surrounding the city as ships and junks came in and out of port. Finally, the donor managed to capture what my predecessors labeled as a bombing mission in Vietnam. Now, the donor filmed large explosions from distance and a ground level perspective somewhere in Asia, so chances of the footage being of a Vietnam War-era bombing seemed very high given the date of the footage (1969).

Another film donated contained a boy’s eighth birthday. Nothing too fancy and pretty straightforward.  The poor lighting at the beginning of the footage did not help, though. Thankfully, the lighting changed for big moments like the birthday boy blowing out the candles. The last footage reviewed involved a circus performance.

My predecessors indicated the original reels containing this circus performance that the digitized came from have gone missing. However, the video files still exist and I proceeded to review them. The footage begins with the acrobats performing their routines, only to botch a stunt twice. Following them, a comedic faux-boxing match did not impress me at all. The trapeze artist followed them and seemingly botched more times than the acrobats!

When 2:30 PM arrived, I paused my progress to set up for Kryslynn’s farewell party. Among the requested edible delights included Mr. Benjamin’s chocolate squares with candy orange toppings, variously assorted crackers with hummus dip, yogurt covered pretzels, hot fries, and lemonade. We enjoyed a time of fellowship and talked about our week’s events. When we finished, I helped gather and throw away trash.

By this time, my shifted ended. I packed the Home Movie Collection hard drive and returned all related material stacks. Before I left, I shook Kryslynn’s hand and thanked for everything she did. After giving her some words of encouragement, I bid farewell to everyone and left for the day.

In review, I reviewed more home movies not related to each other and wished a colleague well as they embarked on a new journey in life. Friday brings a new work week and new home movies to watch. Until then, enjoy the afternoon and stay safe! Bye!

Author: 57r3l574d

I am currently a Graduate Student at the University of Central Florida and simultaneously employed by the university library's Special Collections and University Archives as a Other Personnel Service (OPS) Student. Expected to graduate in 2019 with a History MA - Public History Track.

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