March 6, 2019 – “Galesburg and Auckland”

Hello, everyone!

Throughout the donated footage I reviewed recently, I noted something about the family depicted. To the untrained eye, the family seemed to alternate their time between Galesburg, Illinois and New Zealand. While I am sure that the family made one or two trips to New Zealand, the amount of footage suggests the nation as a frequent destination in comparison to other places they visited. On the other hand, the footage contained just about the same amount of their time in their assumed hometown of Galesburg, Illinois. This seems appropriate for the finale of the family’s donations.

Once I connected the Home Movie Collection hard drive to an office computer, I resumed my progress. Among the first images shown in the video files featured more footage from New Zealand.  Geysers, hot springs, waterfalls, impressive rock formations, and landmarks like Lake Tarawera, the Buried Village, Green Lake (Roto-Kakahi), and Blue Lake (Tiki-Tapu) represented the kind of natural wonders to expect when visiting the country. A man from the group lit a fire in the midst of rock formations in the hot springs. Did they want to simulate the geothermic steam from the hot springs? I am still baffled by this strange behavior.

Nevertheless, the family apparently brought souvenirs back with them and  a boomerang counted among them. The eldest son of the family practiced with boomerang, only for the boomerang to get caught in a tree. The young man used a ladder to climb the tree to knock it loose. Fortunately, his mother retrieved the boomerang for her son. Lesson learned, I suppose.

As I continued to watch more footage, I found a pet peeve of mine through this experience. Whenever footage contains lightening too dark or too bright, I cannot determine the subject of the footage. A nearly pitch black footage of a Christmas confused me as I could not see what exactly did the film contain. When a decently lit Nativity scene appeared, I finally knew filmed Christmas activities.

Perhaps as one of the stars of the films, the family’s Siamese cat seemed to be a very patient cat. The cat constantly wore a pink harness, placed in a boat on more than one occasion, and one of the daughters of the placed the cat in a bicycle basket as she rode her bike around the neighborhood. I felt sorry for the thing.

Other random footage compiled together included a polo match (in New Zealand, I assume), the men of the family varnishing and cleaning the boat, and the younger men cleaning and performing a mechanical inspection of their 1959 Chevrolet Impala. Among them, the family revisited Lake Storey during an autumn evening. Surprisingly, all of the water drained and left a muddy lake bed. Seeing people trying to traverse the lake bed triggered some unpleasant memories of mine. Word of advice: if something looks too good to be true, it usually is.

The family lived in (or visited) a house seated near a body of water. Judging the proximity of the bodies of water near Galesburg, the only river within the radius just happens to be the Mississippi River. While I cannot positively confirm that the Mississippi River is the river seen in the footage, the family did enjoy taking their boat out to fish (towing their poor Siamese cat with them). The fish caught ranged in size and the family caught approximately five or six fish in total.

Returning to New Zealand, a “Haere-mai (Welcome)” sign provided a perfect opening for any home movie. After exiting the airport, the family used the camera to film downtown Auckland. The town seemed very small, so I questioned whether or not it really was Auckland. Nevertheless, the family took a more scenic route by following a stream from a waterfall all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Once at the shoreline, they filmed themselves and panoramic view of their surroundings which included some nearby huts.

The final batch of films featured the son of the family departing into their cellar while guests visited. Meanwhile the videographer filmed the family’s 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 and the more impressive 1968 Pontiac GTO that someone drove in with. After this, the son returned with a glass chalice filled with some alcoholic beverage. Soon after, the setting changed to the family attending one or two Indy car races. Despite the considerable amount of footage of the race filmed, they curiously did not film who won.

I managed to finish before my shift ended. When that time came, I saved my work, packed all related materials of the Home Movie Collection, and returned them to the stacks. Afterward, I bid the staff farewell for the day.

In review, I finished another group of donated films. Friday offers a new selection and I looked it to find out that the nextbatch should not take long to complete. Until then, enjoy tomorrow 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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