For #joinindaily by +Johnny Wills

For #joinindaily by +Johnny Wills
Today's theme is "Street Lights!"

Just a quick snap from a street I walked past in Chicago.
#filmphotography circa 2002

For #joinindaily by +Johnny Wills
Today’s theme is “Street Lights!”

Just a quick snap from a street I walked past in Chicago.
#filmphotography circa 2002

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For #joinindaily hosted by +Johnny Wills

For #joinindaily hosted by +Johnny Wills
Today's theme is "A Splash Of Yellow"

Buckingham Fountain, Grant Park, Chicago
#filmphotography 2003

For #joinindaily hosted by +Johnny Wills
Today’s theme is “A Splash Of Yellow”

Buckingham Fountain, Grant Park, Chicago
#filmphotography 2003

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For Valentine's Day

My parents were married on Valentine's Day. Dad's divorce from his first wife completed in January and there was a 1 month waiting period before he could remarry. They decided to wait the extra few days to have their wedding on the 14th. Their romantic anniversary seemed quite out of place in their loveless marriage.

Their divorce lasted 4 years. During that time, I would observe the passage of each year by giving Valentine Anniversary cards to my mom, decorated with colorful phrases such as "Who would have thought it would go on this long?" You would be surprised at how many Valentine Anniversary cards there are. Over the years, I got them all at least once.
. . .

Mom and I went to Shaw's Garden frequently. She was with me when I took this photo. Of all the many hundreds of beautiful floral photos I would take over the years, this one was always her favorite.

#filmphotography circa 2000

For Valentine’s Day
My parents were married on Valentine’s Day. Dad’s divorce from his first wife completed in January and there was a 1 month waiting period before he could remarry. They decided to wait the extra few days to have their wedding on the 14th. Their romantic anniversary seemed quite out of place in their loveless marriage.

Their divorce lasted 4 years. During that time, I would observe the passage of each year by giving Valentine

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Our second (and last) night in Chicago, I took a solitary walk South from our hotel….

Our second (and last) night in Chicago, I took a solitary walk South from our hotel. They call Chicago the Windy City, and it really earned the name that night. The wind threatened to topple my tripod more than once. I learned to stand in such a way that my body blocked most of the force of the wind, with my hand encircling one leg, never touching but ever vigilant for that unexpected gale.

I saw a lady with silver hair walking a small dog near Grant Park. That was the only person I saw that night, but I felt a bit safer knowing she felt safe. In Saint Louis, at the turn of this century, one did not willy nilly walk the city streets at night. Once, years before, while driving to the theatre in Forest Park, a hubcap rolled off of Mom's old stationwagon, and she opted to drive on rather than risk going after it. The first time I saw a city other than St. Louis, I was shocked to see pedestrians downtown. And, while there were plenty of people walking confidently on Michigan Avenue, the streets were empty in this part of town.

To be sure, that was the night they aired It's a Wonderful Life, so maybe everyone was home watching the tele. They'd made a special point to air it only once in 2001 because people had complained about the over-airing of the movie in years past. I had set up my VCR to record it at home so I wouldn't miss the one and only opportunity to see it. Amazingly enough, while It's a Wonderful Life is considered a holiday classic today, it was not a well-liked movie when it first came out. In fact, the only reason it earned its place in American culture is because they showed it so often every year that it wormed its way into our traditions. Personally, I like the movie, no matter what anybody says. But I'm glad I went out to explore the city and take a few more photos before our trip had ended.

Thus comes to a close the #Thanksgiving2001 #montanastories. This wasn't the last trip we took in Mom's Montana van, but it is my favorite of them, and one of the last I will tell. When I talked to the DMV office today, they said I have everything I need to re-title Mom's van into my name. We shall see what they say at the local office. But it looks like this adventure may be coming to an end.

#filmphotography

Our second (and last) night in Chicago, I took a solitary walk South from our hotel. They call Chicago the Windy City, and it really earned the name that night. The wind threatened to topple my tripod more than once. I learned to stand in such a way that my body blocked most of the force of the wind, with my hand encircling one leg, never touching but ever vigilant for that unexpected gale.

I saw a lady with silver hair walking a small dog near

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You might say, what a bummer that it rained on your one day in Chicago, but honestly,…

You might say, what a bummer that it rained on your one day in Chicago, but honestly, I LOVED the rain. The Christmas lights on the Magnificent Mile showed far better than they would have in the sunlight. Umbrellas and reflections and mood and depth… and I just felt so lucky to be in Chicago on such a picturesque day. My mom went with me. We walked in the drizzle, seeing the sights and sharing the experience.

After I moved in 2006, I packed up all my film work, and the pictures that hung in my old living room, and barely looked at them for over a decade. Seeing them now, I feel grateful. Grateful for the experiences and memories, and grateful for so many photos to remember them by. These days, people take pictures of their daily lives and dinner plates and funny signs they saw on their way somewhere else. Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. Sometimes, silly photos end up being great mementos of the best times of your life.

#blackandwhite #filmphotography #montanastories #Thanksgiving2001

You might say, what a bummer that it rained on your one day in Chicago, but honestly, I LOVED the rain. The Christmas lights on the Magnificent Mile showed far better than they would have in the sunlight. Umbrellas and reflections and mood and depth… and I just felt so lucky to be in Chicago on such a picturesque day. My mom went with me. We walked in the drizzle, seeing the sights and sharing the experience.

After I moved in 2006, I packed up

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Our hotel was right on the Chicago river

The bar was two stories with a fantastic view. The lobby had a Starbucks. It was, in fact, the first time I ever went to a Starbucks. When we went out that morning, we saw another 2 of them before going a block. Of course today, it's an outrage to have to walk a whole block to get a Starbucks coffee, but the world was a different place back in 2001. Paying $3 for coffee was just silly. Especially for two women from Missouri. My mom talked about the abundance of Starbucks in downtown Chicago for years.

This, too, was a photo I printed during my time in the photo lab. Another favorite that hung in my living room.

#filmphotography #montanastories #Thanksgiving2001

Our hotel was right on the Chicago river. The bar was two stories with a fantastic view. The lobby had a Starbucks. It was, in fact, the first time I ever went to a Starbucks. When we went out that morning, we saw another 2 of them before going a block. Of course today, it’s an outrage to have to walk a whole block to get a Starbucks coffee, but the world was a different place back in 2001. Paying $3 for coffee was just silly. Especially for two

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When you drive in to Chicago, it's amazing how you can see the Sears Tower in…

When you drive in to Chicago, it's amazing how you can see the Sears Tower in the distance an hour or so before reaching downtown. Our second trip began the day after Thanksgiving, 2001, and Mom and I listened to Christmas music on the long drive. After checking in to the hotel, we went for a walk down Michigan Avenue to see the lights at night. We had dinner at a TGIF. Our waiter was an actor with dreams of Broadway. Mom had friends in the theatre, so she had a blast talking to him about his experiences. It was a great night. We passed these rows of trees on the way back. Another favorite photo and happy memory.

#filmphotography #montanastories #Thanksgiving2001

When you drive in to Chicago, it’s amazing how you can see the Sears Tower in the distance an hour or so before reaching downtown. Our second trip began the day after Thanksgiving, 2001, and Mom and I listened to Christmas music on the long drive. After checking in to the hotel, we went for a walk down Michigan Avenue to see the lights at night. We had dinner at a TGIF. Our waiter was an actor with dreams of Broadway. Mom had friends in the

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Today I received a corrected certificate from the Secretary of State

Now it's time for the next step in re-titling Mom's van. I tried to call the state DMV office, and after listening to their full suite of voicemail options, the recording advised me that the DMV is closed today for a "state holiday". This is Lincoln's birthday, and we are one of 4 states that recognizes it as a holiday. Strangely, Indiana celebrates Lincoln's birthday on the day after Thanksgiving.

So it seems serendipitous that I should start to share the story of the second time my mom and I went to Chicago, on Thanksgiving weekend of 2001. I'd wanted to photograph the Christmas lights on Michigan Avenue. Of all the photos I've taken over the years, the ones I took on this trip are some of my favorites. This one hung in my living room for years.

I think all we did on this trip was walk around town. Looking back, it's surreal to think that my mom could still do things like that not so many years ago. More recently, she couldn't walk more than a few steps without sitting down. She spent so many years, waiting. Four years waiting for her divorce to go through. Two more waiting for property to sell. By the time she could afford to do the things she'd been waiting to do, there was so little time left to do them. I remember how she'd talk about having her life "on hold" while she was divorcing my dad. Once the divorce was over, her life wouldn't be "on hold" any more. There's a life lesson there somewhere. That Montana van, these stories I'm sharing, represent the brief window of freedom in my mom's life between the "on hold" cage she created for herself in her mind and the eventual cage of her wrecked body.

I, too, create cages for myself… but looking at these old photos and remembering these #montanastories helps to remind me that I don't have to.

Today I received a corrected certificate from the Secretary of State. Now it’s time for the next step in re-titling Mom’s van. I tried to call the state DMV office, and after listening to their full suite of voicemail options, the recording advised me that the DMV is closed today for a “state holiday”. This is Lincoln’s birthday, and we are one of 4 states that recognizes it as a holiday. Strangely, Indiana celebrates Lincoln’s birthday on the

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For #joinindaily hosted by +Johnny Wills

For #joinindaily hosted by +Johnny Wills
Today's theme is "In A Row"

Marjorie Powell Allen Chapel, designed by E. Fay Jones.
Powell Gardens, Kansas City
#blackandwhite #filmphotography circa 2004

For #joinindaily hosted by +Johnny Wills
Today’s theme is “In A Row”

Marjorie Powell Allen Chapel, designed by E. Fay Jones.
Powell Gardens, Kansas City
#blackandwhite #filmphotography circa 2004

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When I first began the study of photography, I checked out every book this library…

When I first began the study of photography, I checked out every book this library had on the subject. I studied Missouri law in their reference section before going to court on my father's estate.
There is something to be said for holding a book in your hands, the scent of the paper, the sound of the page being turned. There is value in the tangible.

When I first began the study of photography, I checked out every book this library had on the subject. I studied Missouri law in their reference section before going to court on my father’s estate.
There is something to be said for holding a book in your hands, the scent of the paper, the sound of the page being turned. There is value in the tangible.

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