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My Most Precious Kodak Moment - Thanksgiving 1963

This photo is one of my most valuable possessions. If my house was on fire, it would be one of the few things I would worry about saving.

Me and my Daddy, Thanksgiving 1963

Its a photo of me and my father, Ben Minch, on November 28, 1963. The table is set for Thanksgiving dinner in our dining room in Cranford, NJ, and I was excited because my Aunts, Uncles & cousins were coming for dinner. I was 8 years old.

My father was subdued because JFK had been assassinated less than a week before on Friday, November 22, 1963.

In 1963, the world was rapidly changing. After JFK was asassinated, Lyndon Johnson became President. The US was being sucked further and further into the Vietnam War. Martin Luther King gave his "I Have A Dream" speech and both good and terrible events swirled around the Civil Rights Movement. The Beatles released their first album.

Gas was about 25 cents per gallon, but my father would buy gas at a gas station on the way to New York City that charged 19 cents. A quart of milk was 26 cents. For 50 cents I could go see a double matinee on Saturday afternoon and have enough money for a Milky Way and a popcorn. My hair, which was normally longer, was cut short because someone in the above mentioned movie theater threw a wad of chewing gum in the dark theater which landed in my hair. I had gotten that haircut 2 weeks earlier.

My father was a tool and die maker. On his salary of $4,800/yr. he was able to support his wife and 3 kids and buy a new 3 bedroom house in a nice New Jersey neighborhood. He drove a 1955 pink and gray Chevy Belair.

This is the last photo of my father. Less than a week later, on December 3rd, he was taken to the hospital in an ambulance where he died of a coronary embolism. He was 49.

I still have the camera this photo was taken with, an old Kodak 35mm film camera. It was my father's pride and joy. He was an avid amateur photographer, a love he passed on to me.

 

Kodak Logo

This post is written as a submission to the ActiveRain 'Kodak Moments' contest. I have the chance to win the KODAK EASYSHARE M580 Digital Camera.

To participate in the ActiveRain contest, visit the blog post announcing the contest from Kodak and ActiveRain.

My thanks to Kodak and Active Rain for making this contest possible.

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Los Angeles Real Estate Staging

2015 RESA Professional Stager of the Year

2014 RESA Top 10 Professional Home Stager2010 RESA Professional Stager of the Year

Michelle has staged hundreds of Los Angeles homes, many of which have sold with multiple offers, above listing price.

She works with home sellers, listing agent, builders, flippers and asset managers to prepare homes for sale throughout Los Angeles and North Orange County.

Moving Mountains Design provides vacant home staging, color consultations, corporate and executive relocations,  and interior design. We also stage model homes, REOs, foreclosures and auction properties for real estate investors and asset managers. Builders hire us to stage their models or to help move inventory when sales slow down.

For more information about our Los Angeles home staging services, contact Michelle at (626)385-8852 or by email.

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Comment balloon 27 commentsMichelle Minch • December 06 2010 12:09AM

Comments

Wow---That is a nice picture of you and your dad in 1963..Thank you for sharing

Posted by John Puplava, ABC Home Inspections,L.L.C. (ABC Home Inspections,L.L.C.) about 7 years ago

Fascinating tribute to the time, the photo and your father. Hope you win. Takes pure grit and guts to write something like this.

Posted by Andrew J. Lenza (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) about 7 years ago

Beautiful story, photo and memorial. I hope you include this in your "about me" section on your website.

Posted by Michelle Carr-Crowe-Top 1% Diamond Certified Real Estate Team Sells Cupertino San Jose Homes-Just Call 408-252-8900, Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years (Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900!) about 7 years ago

Thanks, John.

Andrew: The 1960's were a fascinating time to have lived through - the world changed so rapidly. It amazes me that my dad was younger than I am now when he passed away. Thank you.

Michelle: I'll have to think about your suggestion. Thank you.

Posted by Michelle Minch, Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA (Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA) about 7 years ago

Seems like you grew up at 8.  I lost my mother when I was 15.  A cherished photo, indeed!

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker (503) 810-7192, Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results (BuyersAgentPortland.com | Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% of the Time) about 7 years ago

What a wonderful tribute to your Dad, I'm sorry you lost him at such an early age.  Isn't it funny how much older our parents seem at our age now.  I look at pics of my Mom and Dad and think, when they were my age they already had a grandchild. You seriously still look the same...what's your secret??

Posted by Cindy Bryant, "Houston Home Staging Pros" (Redesign Etc. Home Staging) about 7 years ago

Michelle, what a loving memory of your Dad!  How wonderful to have a father who loved his family so much.  I'm sure you miss him terribly.

Your Dad's penchant for photography has been passed down to you, which is very obvious in your work.  He would be very proud of you!

Take care,

Kathie

Posted by Kathleen Emhof, Home Staging and Redesign, Experts in Transition (Buffalo, Amherst, Orchard Park and Western New York) about 7 years ago

Carla: Losing a parent at a young age definitely adds challenges to growing up.

Cindy: I have friends my age and younger who have grandchildren. I hardly look the same, but thank you, none-the-less!

Kathleen: Thank you! That's very kind of you to say.

Posted by Michelle Minch, Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA (Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA) about 7 years ago

Losing your father when you were so young is a very hard thing.  I'm glad that you have this photo to cherish.  An excellent entry in the contest. Good luck.

By the way, you don't look like you're 55 years old.

Posted by Judi K Barrett, BA, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Judi Barrett~Integrity Real Estate Services~Idabel, Oklahoma) about 7 years ago

Judi: While I would have much rather not lost my father, it did help make me a very independent person. Thank you...I don't feel like I'm 55 either! Good genes, good diet, lots of exercise and enough sleep help.

Posted by Michelle Minch, Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA (Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA) about 7 years ago

What a beautiful, or should I say, touching story, Michelle.  Truly a precious, precious photograph and memory.  So sad you lost your daddy so young.  I know he would be very proud of you.

Posted by Beth Lester, Home Staging & Interior Decorating (Beth Lester Designs) about 7 years ago

Beth: I'm glad my story touched you, Beth. I'm sorry he died so young, but life goes on. I've had a very good life and wonderful memories.

Posted by Michelle Minch, Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA (Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA) about 7 years ago

What a great picture, Michelle.  Can you imagine, supporting a family for $4,800 a year.  Wow.

Posted by Jane Peters, Connecting you to the L.A. real estate market (Home Jane Realty) about 7 years ago

Jane: I find that amazing also. The average salary at that time was a little over $5,000/yr, I think. And for that money you could buy a nice, 3 bedroom, split level house in a good neighborhood. BTW, that house is now valued at $400K+!

I was very young, but I never felt like we were poor, or that anything was missing from my life. Well, that's not entirely true. I never got the pony I wished for on every birthday:o) Simpler times, eh?

Posted by Michelle Minch, Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA (Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA) about 7 years ago

Michelle, such a wonderful and touching story. Were you your fathers favorite girl? You look so happy oh that photo. Good luck on the contest.

Posted by Anna Dovger, Home Staging -The Woodlands, TX (Add Value Home Staging LLC, 281-704-6607) about 7 years ago

Anna: Both my sister and I both grew up thinking we were my father's favorite. That's one reason why he was such a great father :o)

Posted by Michelle Minch, Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA (Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA) about 7 years ago

What a wonderful Kodak precious moment, memory and dad.  Having been born in 1941 I well remember the time frame and exactly where I was and doing when Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby on live TV -- sitting on the couch before going into work and watching it happen still in shock over the Kennedy assassination.

Sue of Robin and Sue

Posted by Robin Dampier REALTOR®, Hendersonville & Western NC Real Estate Source (Coldwell Banker King) about 7 years ago

Michelle, what a story. You created a story, which is so much bigger than just the beautiful photo from 1963. You made us for a second to fnd ourselves in 1963.

Posted by Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL, Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices (Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408) about 7 years ago

Thank you, Jon. I didn't want my post to be only about my father's death, but more about his life. 1963 was such an important time historically and socially.

Posted by Michelle Minch, Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA (Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA) about 7 years ago

Michelle--The photo tells a story that is touching and powerful. Your smile is enchanting and knowing the story behind the photo makes it memorable. It seems every family has a story from that important day but few were memorialized in a photo...I was only 2 then but my brother was born a week later and was given the middle name John because of JFK.

Posted by Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro (Boardman Realty) about 7 years ago

Teri: It looks like a photo anyone might have in their photo album. Nothing special until you know the story. I'm glad I was old enough to remember what was going on.

Posted by Michelle Minch, Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA (Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA) about 7 years ago

Michelle,  Thanks so much for sharing this with us.  It is so special to have that memory of your dad.  

I had an aunt that was born in the late 1800's that lived to be 98.  I often think of all that changed in her life time.  She rode a horse to a one room school house as a teenager (she was the teacher!)  And when she died in 1996 we were hoping that our son would like the computer game we bought him for his birthday! 

 

Posted by Jo Potvin, Home Staging Cincinnati - Design To Market (Design To Market LLC) about 7 years ago

Wow, Jo, your Aunt had a long and interesting life. I had an Aunt that remembered riding in the buggy to go "courting". She told us some great stories, too.

Posted by Michelle Minch, Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA (Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA) about 7 years ago

Just saw this post.  Better late than never...so glad I did.  Such a poignant one.  Such memories in that photo.  I lost my dad early also.  It was really hard, but I was his favorite, which gave me a boost in life somehow.  Here's to great dads!  And great photos.

Posted by Patricia Ebrahimi, Home Staging the Washington DC Area from Rockville MD (SHOW SMART! HOME STAGING & Color Consultant) about 7 years ago

P.S.  You were an absolutely stunning little girl.  No wonder you grew up to be such a beautiful woman.

Posted by Patricia Ebrahimi, Home Staging the Washington DC Area from Rockville MD (SHOW SMART! HOME STAGING & Color Consultant) about 7 years ago

Thank you, Pat. You are too kind :o)

Posted by Michelle Minch, Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA (Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA) about 7 years ago

I came across your photo, and think is is wonderful.  I was attending Hillside Ave. school at the time.  My dad passed away two years later.  He drove a blue and white Pontiac.  Our fathers took such pride in their cars.  I love the fact that you remember your dad's car.  I return to Cranford once a year, and will remember your family in my prayers.  

Posted by Michael Rutan-Heningham over 5 years ago

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