Happy Birthday, George and Abe

by | Feb 17, 2020

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

It’s wonderful what we can do if we’re always doing.”—George Washington

For readers outside the USA, President’s Day is a holiday that’s celebrated on the third Monday in February in honor of George Washington, the first President of the United States, who was born on February 22, 1732. As President’s Day it’s also honors all American presidents, not just George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday is February 12—sorry we’re late, Abe.

President’s Day is a federal holiday and many people, but not me or my wife, have off from work today, so it’s kind of a selective holiday. As President’s Day doesn’t honor any particular president it could could just as well apply to the 13’th president, who was Millard Fillmore and got the job because of the death of Zachary Taylor, just as well as Lincoln or Washington.

My own tenuous connection with anything named “Washington” was during the early 1970’s when I worked in the District of Columbia. My office was on H Street, literally around the corner from The While House and if you’re history buff you know that was a fun time. to be working in DC.

It was also a time when I started to get serious about my photography and would often take my Minolta SR-1 SLR to Lafayette Square, a seven-acre park that’s located just across the street from the White House. I would have lunch in the park and then stroll around shooting photographs like I knew what I was doing. I looked around for a picture to post from those days but my records from that era aren’t well organized and right now I’m shopping for a new scanner after my old one became obsolete when its software wouldn’t work with the latest Mac OS (that I have installed, not the actual latest.)

One image that I could find is the above photograph of me that was made in 1955 by my best friend Danny McKernan, when we climbed the 897 steps to the top of the 555-foot tall Washington Monument. And that genuine plastic camera bag over my shoulder to hold my Brownie Hawkeye camera and that was used to make this photograph.

The camera used 620 film that Kodak introduced in 1932 and was discontinued in 1995, so you can see I was a cutting edge guy even back then. The film is similar to 120 having the same width and length but the core of the spool and end flanges are smaller than a 120 roll. Don’t blame that one on George Washington; think instead George Eastman, whose birthday is July 12.

Anyway, Happy Birthday Mr. President and I mean you George and Abe.