The Birthday Gift


Birthday Gift from Dad

For my 15th birthday, my father gave me a camera.  It became an obsession. I took it everywhere and watched the world through the viewfinder — a safe place to hide and seek.  The images have faded but my memories are clear and sharp. I still have the camera, a Canon TLB and until fairly recently continued to use it eventhough bits and pieces were falling off of the body. Dad’s encouragement and support is sorely missed. In my teenage aloofness, I didn’t want to admit it at the time, but we were soulmates.



Dad age 6 and his dog Roy, a Great Dane, a gift from the Swift family




Jan. 23rd, 1915 – July 23rd, 1996

Surely, surely, slumber is more sweet than toil, the shore
Than labour in the deep mid-ocean, wind and wave and oar;
O, rest ye, brother mariners, we will not wander more.

The Lotos Eaters, Alfred Lord Tennyson

This entry was posted in Welcome to My World and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Birthday Gift

  1. Jim says:

    What a great photo of your father and his dog! As for your TLb, getting batteries for it got more complicated after they banned the mercury-based batteries it takes.

    • jacullman says:

      That sure is my favorite photo of dad. It really captures his inner qualities at a place and time before family tried to change him to be someone he was not.

      I still would love to take pictures with the tlb — it would even be great to get a digital body so I could use the fabulous 135mm canon lens. No such animal I am told. 😦

  2. Frances says:

    What a big dog for a little boy! It’s a wonderful photograph, and a wonderful tribute. I have my Canon FTB though I haven’t used it in decades. I assume it still works. And how about the backstory?

    • jacullman says:

      The backstory happened waay before I was born and the principals are long gone. My father’s family was in the sausage casing business, and they were friendly with the Swifts of Swift & Company meatpacking. The dog, Roy was a gift from them. My dad’s family had a lot of acreage in New York, actually they had a lot of animals, including an ornery pet pig, much to my grandmother’s chagrin. She had phobias of all sorts of things….including….hills. I’m not sure how well she handled it all. She was a bit of a nervous wreck by the time I got to know her. But she was still great fun to be with. I do wish I had appreciated my father better when I was younger. Even though I had a chance to make amends when I was in my late teens — there are still so many things I wish he was here to discuss!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.