April 2, 2019 – “Tempting Fate”

Hello, everyone!

With April Fool’s Day over, this blog returns to continuing as a record of my days as part of the University of Central Florida Library’s Special Collections and University Archives. As such, I managed to finish reviewing another batch of films in the Home Movie Collection. The remaining footage contained an oversaturation of proms, birthday parties, Christmas celebrations, family picnics or barbeques (family reunions, maybe?), and weddings. Still, the footage also contained some nuggets of intrigue: animal antics, ocean liners, and a man watching television outside in the 1960s. Overall, this family left a smörgåsbord of content for me to watch.

After plugging in the Home Movie Collection hard drive, I resumed my reviewing progress. The first file featured a young lady preparing for her prom night as her date arrived to take her. Of course, her family wanted to film the moment as it happened. Luckily, that particular footage did last too long.

The film file featured a large portion dedicated to a Christmas celebration and party. The children in the former reminded me of an important life lesson: do not play with a basketball in the living room. The children, a boy and his older sister, passed the ball to each other. After the third or fourth pass, the boy tossed the ball awkwardly and the girl got hit in the head by the ball. Needless to say, she did not appreciate this and tried to slap her brother.

During one of the Christmas celebrations, one of the family dogs received their own gifts. The tore into the wrapping paper and I thought their owners gave them food. My thoughts proved wrong as the dog’s gift happened to be a new cat-shaped toy. Until this moment, I never saw the family dog receive a Christmas present in past footage. In later footage, I think saw this same dog as a cute puppy growing up.

The majority of the remaining footage centered on Christmas parties, birthdays (particularly, the grandfather’s eightieth birthday), and family picnics or barbeques (family reunions?). In short, a lot of joyous people talking, eating, drinking, smoking, dancing, and playing cards. Only a few notable instances stood out among them.

For example, the family engaged in an outdoors luncheon on a hot summer day. The men wore shorts and mostly did not have shirts on while they played cards. The women sat in their lawn chairs, laughing at an unheard conversation (the films do not contain an audio file) and the children played amongst themselves. Curiously, a man sat outside beside himself watching television. Since this gathering happened in the 1960s, the television sets back then did not come in light weights. Imagine all the effort in hauling a heavy set outdoors, then finding a socket to plug it in.

Weddings remained a constant presence in these films as well. To be sure, whoever held the camera did capture a bride and groom enter a chapel to exchange vows. To break from to countless times I witnessed similar events, this batch of films hosted a wedding anniversary party. The grandparents of the large family celebrated their long relationship with a party that used many tropes of a wedding reception (save for tossing bouquets or garters). Watching them reminded me of my own grandparents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary and, while not as lavish, the main theme remained the same: celebrating a life-long relationship.

Another reoccurring theme included animal antics such as the family cat drinking from the faucet of the sink. Unfortunately for the cat, it received unwanted attention in a later clip. The family’s pet parakeet decided to pester this same cat as it slept. I wondered if the bird held a death wish as the cat became increasingly annoyed. Even when the cat swiped at it, the bird continued to tempt fate with this cat (I think the family took the bird away before the cat decided the bird needed to be dealt with).

Randomly, the footage contained shots of three ocean liners: SS United States, MS Berlin, and SS Michelangelo. I researched more information about these ships and discovered the SS United States currently docks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The current owners, SS United States Conservancy, entered an agreement with RXR Reality to restore the ocean liner and possibly redevelop it to include an onboard museum. Unfortunately, the last owners of the MS Berlin and SS Michelangelo scrapped the two ships since these films.

I managed to finish reviewing the remaining files to this donated set of films before the end of my shift. When my shift ended, I saved my work, packed the hard drive, and returned it to the stacks. Afterward, I bid farewell to the staff and left for the day.

In review, I finished another set of films. Tomorrow, I inch ever closer to completing the review of these films and completing the guides. Until the, enjoy the rest of the evening 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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