May 15, 2005

Hula Heaven

I was thrilled to see that my dad still has my mother's indestructible 1940s-era Viewmaster and her box of reels. It's all ours now, along with another Viewmaster dated from the 1960s. The boys can each use one. As a child, I remember looking at reels depicting the Seven Wonders of the World, but we don't seem to have that one any more. We do have many reels of Europe, but my favorites are of Hawaii and Oklahoma. The pictures in the Hawaii reel (from the 1950s) are entitled "Dancing Hula Girls," "Girls Dancing Hula," "Hula Dancing," and so on, but one is "Eating Poi." The "Hula Dancing" picture has about ten shapely young women in grass skirts posing in a perfect semi-circle, with a brawny shirtless young man kneeling in a stylized football-star pose in the center. I told Jack to show it to Daddy and say "Welcome to Hawaii." He did, but not before changing the picture to "Eating Poi." Oh, well.

The Oklahoma reel has a picture of Oklahoma A & M College at Stillwater (now Oklahoma State), with some swell co-eds posing on the lawn in their long skirts and bobby socks. A number of other slides depict farm machinery, cows, and buffalo. When we lived in Oklahoma, we did see some desultory buffalo behind a metal fence. It was hotter than hell there. That's about all I remember, because I was three when we left. My grandmother and mother lived in Hawaii in the early to mid 1940s, so that's probably why there are three reels of Hawaii. (I haven't looked at the other two yet, I've got to savor them slowly.)

I had to explain to the boys that we don't know anyone in the pictures, and that people didn't take Viewmaster pictures themselves; they bought the reels of places they wanted to see or places they had already visited. Will likes to say "That's incredible" when anything surprises him in the picture, whether it's a large fish on "Wonders of the Deep" or the Brandenburg Gate.

1 comment:

jo(e) said...

Oh, I had a viewmaster when I was little. I remember the Seven Wonders of the World. It was such a thrill to look through and see the images.

Surfing the internet simply does not measure up ...