Kaitlyn Dunnett/Kathy Lynn Emerson here, confessing one of my greatest sins—I’m a lousy housekeeper. If this wasn’t already obvious, it became blindingly apparent the other day when I decided to haul out the things stored beneath our bed as a continuation of the general weeding we began a few months ago when we were making room to install an upstairs half bath. It’s truly astonishing how many things can be put aside and forgotten just because they might “still have some good in them.” We tossed everything from ancient sweatshirts to moth-eaten blankets, to old electronics that haven’t worked for decades. But I digress.
We sleep in a nineteenth-century bed that was a wedding gift from my in-laws. It has elaborately carved head and foot boards and is much higher off the floor than most modern beds. There is lots of space underneath for storage. Our policy has been to shove it under there and forget it. Judging by the thickness of the layer of dust, it has been at least a decade, maybe more, since anything was pulled back out.
Let the treasure hunt begin.
Yes, that is what you think it is, a utilitarian piece of equipment we lovingly dubbed “the world’s largest chamber pot.” When we used to go camping in a pop-up camper, it went along. Let’s face it. No one likes to go traipsing through a wooded campground just to visit the comfort station in the middle of the night. After dusting, it went back under the bed. Yes, we have an upstairs bath now, but there are still those occasions when the power goes out, taking the pump with it. No pump, no water. It doesn’t happen often, but we can still remember the blizzard of ’98 when the entire state was without power for most of a week. We’re keeping the chamber pot.
Next up came the first of several suitcases containing old uniforms—bagpipe band, U.S. Navy, and Franklin County sheriff’s department. This first one used to be used, back when I was a kid, to hold hair rollers and clips for pin curls. Boy does that date me! Contents intact, these three suitcases went back under the bed, too.
I didn’t know what to expect when I pulled out the old green suitcase that belonged to my mother. It turned out to be a suitcase full of smaller suitcases. This was a nice set back in the day, but it’s way too heavy to lug on a trip now. These, and another suitcase-in-suitcase are going to the “share shack” at the transfer station. Maybe someone’s doing a play set in the 1980s?
Finally there was the mystery suitcase. I had a vague memory of storing it under the bed after my late mother-in-law gave it to us. I don’t even want to think about how many years ago that was. Anyway, it turns out to contain boxes of slides taken by my late brother-in-law. Some folks reading this probably don’t even know what slides are. Fortunately, since my father was also an avid photographer who left behind negatives, prints, and slides, I actually own a slide projector. We’re going to take a look at these soon, assuming the bulb in the slide projector still works. If it doesn’t, replacing it could well be my next challenge. Anyone know an easy, preferably inexpensive way to convert slides into either snapshots that can be scanned or digital photos?
Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett is the author of over fifty books written under several names. She won the Agatha Award for best mystery nonfiction of 2008 for How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries and was an Agatha Award finalist in 2015 in the best mystery short story category for “The Blessing Witch.” Currently she writes the contemporary Liss MacCrimmon Mysteries (Kilt at the Highland Games) as Kaitlyn and the historical Mistress Jaffrey Mysteries (Murder in a Cornish Alehouse ~ UK in December 2016; US in April 2017) as Kathy. The latter series is a spin-off from her earlier “Face Down” series and is set in Elizabethan England. Her websites are www.KaitlynDunnett.com and www.KathyLynnEmerson.com
Cool enough already for the Indian blanket! OK, so that was my first thought. I loved visiting under your bed. Thank you so much for the opportunity. I gotta ask, why all the uniforms?
Those are the husbands. He played the bagpipes in a band years ago. The four year hitch in the Navy was even farther back in history, and the stint as a deputy came before nearly 30 years as a probation officer. Memories? Hard to tell, but my dad saved one of his uniforms from World War II, so maybe it’s a guy thing.
You can convert the slides via your scanner, and then put them on a CD. Don’t ask for the details as it is my other half who does this for friends. Maybe Google?
Thanks Gram. I tried that with one slide using the scanner we have and it just came out black. I suspect there’s a setting I don’t know about. I’ll have to experiment.
Thanks for sharing … there were a lot of advantages to those high beds! (We have several, too.)
Also good places for cats to hide.
Love the chamber pot and those green nesting suitcases. And the slides! We have boxes of them that my father-in-law took over the years, but it’s not as easy as converting them en masse, because he tended to take numerous shots of the same view. Weeding through them for the keepers will be a daunting task.
Don’t I know it. For the moment, the slides are back in the suitcase and the slides my father took remain in their special case in the back of the closet. One of these days . . .
If your slide projector works, the easiest and cheapest way of digitizing your slides might be to project them onto a good, clean surface (a screen would be best but a smooth, white wall would probably work) and photograph the projected image with a digital camera. I have thousands of old slides myself, and IF I had a projector, that’s how I’d do it.
Great idea. Thanks for the suggestion.
There are lots of inexpensive and effective slide scanners. Best Buy, staples, and Amazon all have them. They digitize and you can store them. Upload them onto a service like snapfish and you can share with family and order prints.
Thanks, Gail. Will check into it.
You can buy a specialty scanner that works on slides or on negatives. That is a bit tedious because you hand-load each slide, but it works very well. Then they’re .jpg files that you can put on flickr or wherever. The reason you have multiple shots sometimes of one scene is that your f-I-l was bracketing his exposures. In those days, you remember, a photographer had to set the exposure with a light meter rather than having a digital camera that figures it all out for you. What a treasure trove you have in finding family slides! Our photos and slides and 8mm home movies burned up (melted) in my mom’s house fire. Wish we had more to go through. My sister-in-law has all the photos that side of the family ever had, in boxes that she doesn’t want to relinquish for us to go through (I just want childhood pix of hubby if there are any left, but. . . .) Spend some long weekend sampling a few from each box and you might find great-grandma’s 80th birthday with people you never thought you’d have pics of! I am jealous!
Great information. Thanks. I know what’s on most of them, since you can get a pretty good idea holding them up to the light and a lot of them are also labeled. I don’t think there are any real lost treasures, but there are a lot of good memories.