I Only Borrow the Souls

One of the most rewarding things about doing this blog is the opportunity to connect readers with their pasts. I’ve been asked a lot of times over the years how to take pictures. Most of the times I dismiss the question by saying something like, “I walk in, draw a box around a tiny segment of time, then walk out.”

Or, I might paraphrase Bob Greene, a Chicago columnist, “I make people love me for 28 minutes, then I steal their souls.”

Doing this blog has taught me that I didn’t really ‘steal” the souls. I merely borrowed them for three, four or five decades. Now I’m returning them.

When I started circulating photos I had taken in Smelterville in the mid-60s, one of them made it into the hands of Fay Powders. It was her mother, and it was the only photograph she has of her. Watch the video to hear Fay talk about it.

Cheating death

When I ran the story about Lester Harris, a SW Bell repairman who would cheat death by dangling from a cable chair suspended over the Diversion channel (a cable that had probably been damaged by people shooting at it), family, friends and coworkers all shared stories about the man. He was also featured in a story about stock car racers at Arena Park.

I particularly like this one from Jennifer Adams: Lester Harris is my grandpa. I live next to him and when I came home today he was telling me all about this. He always told me stories of him working for Southwestern Bell but never saw pictures of it until today. Thanks for posting these pictures!!”

Lester’s daughter, Sandy Harris Lyke, sent this update September 24, “My Dad has been very ill this past year. He could use all the prayers people want to send his way.

“Great operator, greater father”

Judy Finley spotted her dad operating a crane in a story about construction projects at SEMO. I’m using that photo and quote in my Altenburg presentation.

When I shot pictures of the last days before The Palm Beach Post farmed out its award-winning production department, I wrote, “I’ve always believed that every worker should be able to show his or her kids and grandkids what they did for a living.”