Downton Abbey has been one of MJ and my favorite dramas of the past several years. This morning we saw the latest Downton Abbey movie and thought it was outstanding. It is quite a change for me to only attend the Theatre a few times per year…when I once was in the audience two or three times per week. Our Pandemic changed so many things which have been altered by this life-taking and life-altering event. May is getting away from us and soon 2022 will be half over. As the motto of the old Soap Opera, The Days Of Our Lives, reminds us, ‘Like sands through the Hourglass…so are the days of our lives.’
Billy B. knew that his childhood was passing quickly. He and Chet were members of the 6th grade…which is Junior High School…at Washington School in Eldorado. Billy B. had talked Neva J. into purchasing for him a used Tenor Saxophone and he had enrolled in Band with Mr. Prince. Billy’s Tenor Saxophon Idol was Boots Randolph. Boots was famous for his song…Yakety Sax. Many years later Billy B. saw Boots perform at the Executive Inn in Paducah, Kentucky. Billy B. was underwhelmed. Mr. Prince told Billy B. that he played the Scales better than anyone that he had ever heard. Billy B. played the Scales…a lot… Chet and Jane and Daryl were excited about the upcoming trip to New Harmony, Indiana for the 6th Grade Class. New Harmony is a historic town in Indiana. Chet and Billy B. thought that this would be a golden opportunity to try out the new cameras that they got for Christmas. Billy B. had a Big Swinger Polaroid Camera. The Swinger…which was white…was more popular…but Billy B. never sought the most popular. The Big Swinger produced a photo in about 60 seconds from the time of punching the red plunger button on the side of the device. You could watch the photo come to life after you pulled off the top black paper from it once it exited from the camera. Once the photo seemed to be fully developed…there was a strong-smelling chemical that came with each pack of film that had an applicator that you spread the semi-high inducing chemical on the completed picture. Seeing the magical photo develop before your eyes and then taking a hit off of the Photo-Fixative…was a supreme pleasure. Billy B. and Chet thoroughly enjoyed snapping photos with their new Polaroids. Chet had the old-time regular Polaroid that had the camera lens folded out from the camera body. Jane commissioned the young photographers to come back with photos like no one had ever seen before. They accepted the challenge.
Daryl told Jane and Billy B.and Chet that New Harmony was inhabited by ghosts. ‘Ghost loves New Harmony…they are spirits from the Community that lived here and when they died…they did not choose to leave,’ Daryl said. New Harmony was the site of two Utopian Communities. The town was founded by the Harmonist Society in 1814. It was built by Pietists who were a religious group. George Rapp was the founder and the group was also known as Rappites.
Billy B. began to snap Big Swinger Polaroid Photos with his new Big Swinger. Chet followed Billy B.s’ lead and took several Polaroid Photos with his Polaroid Camera. There was the Roofless Church and the Eigner Cabin and the Potter Cabin and he and Jane and Chet and Daryl had a distinct impression that someone…unseen…was watching them.
Billy B. playing his tenor saxophone was one of the photos that emerged from the side of the Big Swinger…although the Tenor Saxophone was safely at Billy B.s’ home in Eldorado. Another Polaroid Photo was of Chet and his mom, Thelma, with sad looks on their faces. Chets’ dad died a few months after their New Harmony 6th Grade School Trip. There was a Polaroid Photo of a School Teacher with a white blouse and a long black dress and her hair fastened in a bun on her head…the only problem being that the image appears in a photo just of the School and the Teacher was not present
‘Part of New Harmony’s failings stemmed from three activities that Owens brought from Scotland to America. First, Owens actively attacked established religion, despite the United States Constitutional guarantees of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. Second, Owens remained stubbornly attached to the principles of the rationalist Age of Enlightenment, which drove away many of the Jeffersonian farmers Owens tried to attract. Thirdly, Owens consistently appealed to the upper class for donations, but found that the strategy was not as effective as it had been in Europe.’
‘I like the photo of your playing your Tenor Sax,’ said Jane with a wide smile…