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Old movie rekindles the spirit of Christmas past

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For those of you who are my age, do you ever feel that life is passing you by?

I’ve felt that; life just seems to have flashed by so quickly. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was in my 20s.

The truth is I’d just forgotten many of the details of my life. But with a little thought, I can conjure up some memories of what I did each year, who I knew, which places I’d been to. Remembering even just a few of those things makes the years of my life suddenly fill up with crisp, warm detail.

I recently stumbled over an old family movie that, like the storied ghost of Christmas past, reminded me of long-gone celebrations and the people that made it warm and memorable. It brings them to life as I remember them and for a few moments I am there once more.

The film shows Christmas at the Moore’s in 1969 — Ralph and Florence Moore were dear family friends of my parents and they had four children, April (my age), and Stephen, Flo, and Deb, in a sometimes raucous household.  As the only child in my family, spending a day with the Moores was certainly a special but exhausting event.

For me, and likely for my parents, the Moores offered a second home and a second family.  We were there for the most special occasions:  Christmases, birthdays, and more.  We visited them on our summer holidays in New Brunswick, and shared their summer holidays at Lake Muskoka after they’d returned to Ottawa. Together, we watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon and also consoled my mother as one day she suddenly realized she’d forgotten my Dad’s birthday just as Mrs Moore brought out his surprise birthday cake!

I once tried Mr Moore’s patience as he tried in vain to teach me how so sail in a small Laser-type sailboat. I think it dawned on him during the lesson that I had no clue what the names of the sails were as he tried to get me to hoist this or that. I still don’t know how to sail.

Our recorded celluloid Christmas celebration is of another age, but Mrs. Moore’s turkey still looks delicious fifty-one years later, Mr. Moore is still proud of his new ski equipment, and Flo and Deb are equally proud of the Etch-a-sketch Christmas present and their candy canes. 

I remember that electrical workshop kit. It was a gift that monopolized my attention for at least a week afterward as I eagerly completed all the electrical experiments.

The warmth around the Christmas dinner table is palpable and my Dad is there in spirit as the one behind the camera.

Soon afterward, we young’uns grew up and developed our own lives and interests, my parents divorced and my Dad embraced his new life, the daily familiarity between the families faded and there were fewer celebrations and events. Before we knew it (and at a too-early age) Ralph had passed on, tragically followed by young Deb some years after.

Those Christmases passed into memory but through this movie, their spirit survives.

Of all the old movies I have, this one is special — not so much because of it’s content, but because of the cast of characters — and for the benevolence and the feeling of family I once enjoyed there.  

To Florence, April, Stephen, and Flo:  I hope this short film brings you the same warmth I feel in my soul when I am reminded of those days and of your entire family.  

Merry Christmas to you all and God bless us, every one.

Website refresh for award-winning photographer

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photographer website refresh for Love and Life Photography

When I was in the photography business, we were advised to refresh our website every six months to keep our image fresh and current. That advice might have been overkill, but it’s certainly not a bad idea to update things every so often just to reassure potential customers you’re still alive and growing.

Tracey Bartmann-Leek of Love and Life Photography (Saint Louis) asked us for such a refresh. The site’s last update was in 2013 and it was definitely time.

Website refresh

We searched for other sites she liked and proposed a design and style that put across the message she wanted to convey – quality photography for families and betrothed couples.

We also secured her site, a fundamental need in today’s online world, and worked on other issues to make the site faster and more user-friendly.

The new site uses the new Elementor web builder and has an easy-to-use set of tools that allow Tracey, for the most part, to update her own site and blog.

Tracey has been a top Saint Louis photographer for many years, and has won several awards annually from the well-known bridal magazine The Knot. (Full disclosure: Tracey was my business partner at Love and Life Photography for a couple of years in the early 2010s.)

The site retains all the fundamentals that has made Tracey and her company a well-sought-after vendor in the Missouri market and shows off the quality and the emotion of her prize-winning photography.

Have a look for yourself at LoveandLifePhotography.com

Interested in a website refresh? Contact us to discuss what you’re looking for.

Visit Jackie’s art show safely

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Thanks to the pandemic, everyone’s had to cancel plans for one thing or another: for travel, work, business and lots of other things.

The Textile Artisan, Jackie Weatherly-Cadzow, is no exception as her art show plans sputtered to a halt when the state shutdown the North Carolina Estuarium a number of weeks ago.

Her disappointment was palpable. The show was open for just two weeks before the doors closed. The planned two-month show didn’t happen. The meet-the-artist reception didn’t happen.

Planning a show and creating all the art for such an exhibit is a lot of work. She wasn’t keen to let it slide completely so she decided that if people couldn’t come to the show, she’d bring the show to them — a virtual art show!

The idea was to use video to walk art-lovers through the art show as if they were there, and to meet the artist as if they were at the reception.

The video gives you a quick introduction to the North Carolina Estuarium and walks you through Jackie’s art show while she answers questions about it all. She and the Estuarium’s educational specialist Russ did a great job in front of the camera and she’s received a lot of good feedback about the show since the video was posted.

Website: https://thetextileartisan.com
Video post: https://thetextileartisan.com/visit-my-art-show-safely/

Dad’s brush with F1 fame

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My father was a newspaper photographer for many years when we lived in Scotland.

One day he was assigned to cover the demonstration of the new Aston Martin at a track near Glasgow.

The driver that would take them around that day? F1 star Peter Collins…

Collins, his friend Mike Hawthorn, Tony Brooks, and the late Stirling Moss were the heroes of British motor racing in the 1950s, graduates of a world in which former RAF pilots and army mechanics built racing cars from spare parts and organized races on abandoned airfields that had only recently been home to Lancasters and Hurricanes.

Peter Collins (right) and Mike Hawthorn (in his trademark bow tie).

He signed with Ferrari for the 1956 F1 season and got a second place behind Moss at Monaco, and wins at the Belgian and French Grands Prix.

At the Italian Grand Prix, he was on the verge of becoming Britain’s first F1 World Champion. But his championship-leading team leader Juan Manuel Fangio, already a three-time world champion, had car troubles, putting his ’56 title run in dire jeopardy. Collins willingly handed his own car to Fangio allowing him to take the title — but, in doing so, he gave up the title himself.

It was the kind of sportsmanship that has long since been relegated to the history books — such a gesture wouldn’t happen nowadays.

“I would not have been proud of beating him through his bad luck,” said Collins later.

Back at the track near Glasgow, Dad and his writer colleague waited their turn for Collins to demonstrate the Aston.

While I’m not sure of which Aston Martin it was, it’s likely to have been the DB2/4 (pictured above) as it had a lengthened chassis that allowed Aston to add two (small) rear seats.

It was into one of those small seats that Dad shoe-horned himself and his cameras — and cameras were pretty big in those days.

I’ve been driven around Georgia’s Roebling Road Raceway in the back of a fairly powerful Mustang. Even with a smaller modern camera, getting a good shot while you’re being thrown around the back seat is difficult.

With a 4X5 Graflex, or even with the Rolleiflex he used in later years, it would have been impossible for Dad to get a steady shot. So there are no photographic records of the event that I know of.

The day’s most vivid memory seemed to be of Collins himself. As he demonstrated the car, Collins gave a running commentary to journalists. Dad said every time he spoke spittle flew everywhere… funny what you remember. Every time he told this story, he had a good chuckle.

Like many other racing drivers of the era, the constant danger that was motor racing in the ’50s eventually caught up with Collins.

He and Hawthorn were chasing Tony Brooks’ Vanwall at the 1958 German Grand Prix when Collins lost control of his car and spun off the track. Cars had no seat belts in those days and Collins was thrown clear of the Ferrari. Helmets were also not up to modern standards, and his didn’t help much when he reportedly hit a tree head first. He died later that afternoon in hospital of critical head injuries.

Collins raced in 35 world championship Grands Prix between 1952 and 1958. He won 3 races and achieved 9 podiums.

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…and then my feet fell off

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From the file:  “you did WHAT when you were young…??”

Imagine for a minute that you are a five years old again.  

There’s a kid-size cabinet in front of you.  If you stick your feet into it, you can look in the top and see the bones in your feet and watch them move as you wiggle your toes.  You’d think that was pretty neat, wouldn’t you?

I did.  

Machines like that used to be in shoe stores in the late ‘50s-early ‘60s — when I was a youngster living in Glasgow, Scotland. I remember that they’d be the first stop I’d make when my Mom took me with her shoe-shopping.  If it hadn’t been for her caution, I’d have been sticking my feet in those things and pushing the x-ray button over and over.

Yes —  x-rays.  Technically they were called fluoroscopes.

The sales people used them to reassure customers about the fit of their shoes.  For kids, they were a great toy. And for many parents I’m sure it was a great way to keep the kiddies happy.

It was just one of 3000 such machines in Britain at the time. There were also 10,000 in the United States, and another thousand in Canada.  Originally the machine was built to help diagnose WW1 soldiers’ foot injuries without having to remove their boots.   Then it turned up at a Boston shoe retailer’s convention by 1920 and was patented by 1927.  

The mechanism shot x-rays upwards through my shoes and feet onto a fluorescent screen on which I could see the image.  If I had actually been trying on new shoes, my Mom and the sales person could also see the image because there were multiple viewing ports. 

As originally built, the machine had a shield (steel or aluminum, but not lead…).  But, sometimes those were removed to improve the image quality and machines were sometimes poorly maintained. 

Accordingly, x-rays would bathe the bodies of customers and salesmen with radiation. (The 20-second blast of x-rays delivered half the radiation of a modern chest CT-scan.)  At their worst they could deliver hazardous doses of radiation that were up to three hundred times the permissible limit, reaching those seated in the waiting area.  And of course, little kiddies didn’t just use the machine once…   and neither did customers trying on multiple pairs of shoes.

The most at risk were the salesmen.  A 1957 issue of The British Medical Journal describes the case of a 56-year-old woman with severe pain and skin damage on her right leg and foot consistent with radiation burns. As it turned out, she had been working in a shoe shop for ten years and operated the shoe-fitting fluoroscope 15 to 20 times a day. Sometimes she’d repeatedly put her own foot into the apparatus to show scared kids that “it did not hurt”.

Even though society had a vague understanding of the dangers of radiation, the first warnings about the machines were not issued until 1950. Over the next few decades, they were gradually pulled out of stores but even in the late 1970s, a member of the Massachusetts Department of Labor and Industries stepped into a “corner store” in Boston only to find one of the machines still in use. The store’s owner was letting children take a look at their feet through the machine if they bought 10 cents worth of candy! The last one, in West Virginia, wasn’t decommissioned until 1981.

This one jogs my memory — I think the ones I used looked kind of like this…

While it seems crazy now to have exposed yourself to that kind of radiation (on purpose!), it didn’t seem that outlandish in an era where it wasn’t so easy to research the latest data and the safety record of such machines. It’s just another example of how different a world our parents lived in and how difficult it is to relate to what would have been the norms and mores of ages gone by. It really was another world and one that doesn’t exist any more.

As friends read the posts on this blog, they often tell me they’re amazed by the things I remember — most of which, of course, turns out to be totally useless information.

But even though it’s almost 60 years since I slipped my feet into one of these babies and marveled the sight of my wiggling toe bones, I still remember it clearly — obviously it left a deep impression.

And I think that if it wasn’t for my Mom, I’d be telling you… my feet fell off.

Any of you remember these machines?


The Textile Artisan

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DerekCadzow.com creates imaginative, engaging websites for select clients. This series highlights some of those sites and tells you the story behind each of them. Got a project in mind? Please let us know about it from the contact page.

Website: https://thetextileartisan.com
Business: Textile artist
Purpose: build awareness of textile art and the textile artisan, share new works of art, provide an online shopping experience for art buyers

Jackie Weatherly-Cadzow is an artist that loves bright, bold color.  Her silk paintings and textile art and acrylic paintings are full of vivid hues and bold shapes, many of which evoke the beauty of nature.

Jackie has developed her art since graduating from Meredith College in Raleigh, NC, almost 20 years ago. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in fine arts and has been a full-time artist since quitting her federal government job in 2016.

Her calling card is dye-on-silk art — wearable silk scarves and wall-mounted silk pictures and abstracts that bring a whole new wispy dimension to wall coverings. Her creations have won awards and recently she added acrylic painting and photography to her repertoire – one of her photos of a wilting sunflower won an award at an art show in Clayton last year.

She recently designed a new brand, The Textile Artisan, to reflect her new beginnings as a full-time artist in her new home Washington, North Carolina.

Her old website was several years old and needed a re-fresh with the new brand, updated galleries for people to view her works, and an online store to allow people to book silk painting courses or buy her works even if they lived away from Washington.

The new site, thetextileartisan.com, has many of the features her old site lacked, including an eCommerce store for her works of art and products made with her art’s images. She has galleries to show off her best work, a contact page, and a blog for art stories. She offers workshops to individuals and groups and those can be booked through the website too. Her site is connected to Mailchimp for managing newsletters to interested fans and to Square for her store’s payment gateway.

In addition, the site was built to allow Jackie to maintain it herself. She can write and post new blogs, post new products and workshops, and update the information on individual pages very easily. She doesn’t need to worry about ongoing maintenance costs.

It went live on February 22, just in time for her new solo show at the North Carolina Estuarium in “Little” Washington.

Got a web project in mind or want to learn more about WordPress? Send us a note with what you’re looking for in the contact section.

Appraisals of specialty and vintage cars

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DerekCadzow.com creates imaginative, engaging websites for select clients. This series highlights some of those sites and tells you the story behind each of them. Got a project in mind? Please let us know about it from the contact page.

Website: https://oceansideautoappraisers.com
Business: Specialty Auto Appraiser
Purpose: provide information about company services, info about why different kinds of appraisals are a good idea, and a section for car owners to list their own specialty vehicles for sale

David Sampson, a name you may remember from other posts about slot-car racing and radio-control car racing, is someone I’ve known since grade 9. He’s the owner of Oceanside Auto Appraisers, a business that’s been based from his Vancouver Island home for several years.

David’s always been a car aficionado (read: nut) and has managed to find himself a niche in which he gets to hobble around with all sorts of vintage, classic, and exotic cars. He’s the number-one appraiser on the island and has appraised all sorts of jaw-dropping cars (he sometimes sends me pictures just to gloat…), including John Lennon’s Rolls Royce!

Dave wanted an update of his existing site. He also wanted to start a new facet of his business: to use the reach of his website to help owners of special vehicles buy and sell the car of their dreams.

Set up as a kind of high-end Auto Trader, the new part of the site lists car profiles for their owners and helps get buyers and sellers together so they can make the deal. Car owners can list their car on the site for a small charge for eight weeks at a time.

Each car listing tells the history of the car, the details of the engine and other options, and includes a gallery of high-resolution pictures of the machine. Potential buyers simply contact the owners directly to ask further questions and try to make a deal.

Dave knows about cars, but not so much about websites.

We built the site with the express intent of making it easy for him to create, modify, and delete car ads — that way he can react quickly to market demands and keep the maintenance costs of the website down to near zero.

Using WordPress with the Elementor build tool allowed us to create the site in less than a month and take it live on January 3. You can check out the site at OceansideAutoAppraisers.com.

Got a web project in mind or want to learn more about WordPress? Send us a note with what you’re looking for in the contact section.

Dad and his camera

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In 1970, I was a fourteen-year-old who’d just been bitten by the car racing bug. When my new friend, David Sampson, took his Scalextric set out of it’s box — that was it. I was hooked.

My Dad was a former news photographer and when he started taking me to car races, he couldn’t resist bringing his camera and practicing panning.  That year we went to a race at Rockliffe Park in Ottawa and the 1970 Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Mt Tremblent in Quebec.

I was the racing enthusiast, so he wasn’t dazzled by the big stars and famous cars so he ended up with some really nice shots of regular racers doing their thing.  Here’s the ones I still have; perhaps some of you out there might know these cars and drivers and can help fill in some of their names.

The Rockcliffe park race was a one-off race held on an old Department of National Defence-owned airfield.   Apparently the surface was so rough, one marshal compared it to the pothole-ridden springtime streets of Ottawa…

It had a race in the Canadian National championship for Formula cars and six supporting races.  The event included notable Canadian drives such as Gord Dewar, Ted Powell, Ken Huband, and Wayne Kelly, and Brian Robertson.

Attendance was free and they attracted 25000 spectators to the 2.2 mile circuit. Rain ended the feature race early (although you wouldn’t know it by the blue skies in Dad’s pictures) and it was won by Eppie Weitzes.    

This was the first and only year the Rockliffe airfield was used as a venue for car racing.  Lack of sponsorship and an inability to get the Department of National Defense to fund the much-needed re-paving of the runway surfaces put an end to any notion of further racing there.  Read the full story of the Rockcliffe event in the Motorsport Club of Ottawa’s publication “The first 50 years”.

In September, we went to the Canadian Grand Prix at Mt. Tremblant, the last time an F1 race would be held there. 

It was also the first Grand Prix in which the Tyrrell team dumped their March 701 and raced their new self-built Tyrrell car. Dad photographed the Grand Prix as well, at least until Stewart retired with a broken stub axle.

Unfortunately, I don’t have his negatives and these are scanned directly from double-sized contact prints. They don’t have the quality I’d get from the negatives — sorry about that — but I’m sure some of you will still want to see them.

I promise that if I ever find the negatives, I’ll replace these.

I think I spent the rest of my photographic life trying to live up to his standard. I can only imagine what he’d have done with a modern digital camera.

All pictures on this page are © estate of Bill Cadzow. No reproduction permitted without the copyright holder’s permission.

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Secrets of the silver spool

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It was like meeting an old acquaintance you hadn’t seen in a long time:  someone who reminds you of a different time and place and brings a smile to your face and warmth to your heart.  

It was among my late mother’s last possessions and I recognized it as soon as I saw it — a silver, slightly tarnished metal spool with 16mm black and white movie film wound tightly around it.

Decades ago I’d asked my mom what it was. Her face broke into a smile when she told me: “Oh, that’s a movie of the day your father and I were married.”

I’d never actually seen the movie since 16mm projectors were hard to come by.  But that was then and this is now — so I found a local media company and had it digitized…

When I finally got it back, it was emotional magic.  I watched transfixed as modern-day pixels mimicked the old film’s silver halides and conjured up moving shadows of a sunny and windy day 65 years ago at Glasgow Cathedral. It was my parents’ wedding day, two years before I even existed.  

(L to R) Aunt Margaret (Currie), Fiona Sadler (now Turnbull), Dad, Mom, Nigel Cadzow, Pat Newman

I recognized the long-departed faces of grandparents, great aunts, and great uncles. I saw much younger versions of relatives still living today.  

At the center of it all, I saw two people with their whole lives still in front of them and full of hopes and expectations for the future. It showed a simpler time before the stresses of life resulted in heartache and divorce.

Why is it that these ancient, fading shadows are so important to me now?  

Even if it were just some random film, it would still offer an interesting insight into what my hometown was like almost three-quarters of a century ago.  

But much beyond that, it was (and is) my family. It’s a warm and emotional connection to the people I once knew and loved and who loved me back. It’s the event and the relationship that was at the root of my earthly existence.

It could also be because the film shows plainly that at one time my parents were indeed happy together, and what child doesn’t want to know that?

In her final years, my Mom didn’t understand why I wanted to keep her old photographs and movies. I fear that if I hadn’t spoken up, they would have been cast aside and lost forever.

I wanted them because they connect me to my family and to my history. And although I’ve learned not to live in the past, it would be wrong to forget it — because for better or for worse, it’s my history that made me who I am.

In order of appearance in the film:
– Fiona Turnbull (nee Sadler) (first cousin, once removed)
– Pat Newman (first cousin, once removed)
– Ian Currie (uncle-in law)
– Margaret Currie (nee-Ferguson, Mom’s youngest sister and married to Ian)
– Margaret McCormick (great aunt & Fiona’s mother)
– Agnes McCormick (great aunt who taught me to knit at 4 years old)
– Edward Sadler (great uncle-in-law & Fiona’s Dad)
Mom (Edith Cadzow – rolling up in the black Rolls Royce)
– Archie Ferguson (my grandfather and Edith’s Dad – helping her out of the Rolls – we lost him when I was 5)

Coming out of the church
– Edith and William Cadzow (Mom and Dad)

Additional people in the Wedding party line ups:
Nigel Cadzow (uncle, Dad’s brother)
Mary Cadzow (nee McCormick, grandmother, Dad’s mother)
George Cadzow (my grandfather, Dad’s father)
Elizabeth Ferguson (nee Goldie, grandmother, Mom’s mother)

… And a supporting cast of hundreds!

Special mention:
The poor harried wedding assistant charged with keeping eveyrone where they should be and my Mom’s veil from flying away!  You may notice that after she got my Mom’s veil under control, she crouched down behind her and my grandpa to hold the veil down while photos were being taken!

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50th year of vintage cars in Washington

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More than 70 vintage cars were on display at the Washington waterfront today — and if you didn’t already know what old cars looked like, you might be forgiven for thinking they just rolled off the assembly line yesterday.

Lovingly pampered and restored by enthusiasts from the Coastal Plains Chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA), the display vehicles ranged from just a few years old to more than 100 years of age.  The oldest one I saw was a 1916 Ford in near-perfect condition. 

This is the 50th year that the Grimesland-based club has held their antique car show on the Washington waterfront  — and it’s the 50th year that club president Willie Wallace Jr. has attended.

“I’ve been messing with cars all my life,” said Willie.  “But I didn’t have an antique to restore till later in life — you have to wait till you get older till you think you can afford it,” he added with a chuckle.

Willie has been the club’s president for the last decade or so.  He says the Washington event is the only show they organize each year.  They’ve had up to 110 entries for past shows, but they consider a good turnout to be around 75-80.

There’s more photos in the client gallery — order prints from there too if you like.

When they’re not displaying their cars, the club organizes road tours to the coast for members and their vintage cars.  (Yes, they are driven on the road — most, if not all, of them were driven to the show.)

Coastal Plains is not the only group of vintage car enthusiasts in North Carolina — the AACA has chapters all over the counry.  Some of those other clubs organize similar shows in Greenville, New Bern, and other communities in the coastal areas.

There’s a few local members too.  Ginger and Jo Gerhes live in the Washington area and have had their 1931 Ford for six years.  

“Jo works on it all the time — even last night before driving it here!”   Ginger says they’ve been pursuing an overheating issue, but that Jo thinks they might have that problem fixed.

“You have to be someone who likes to tinker with cars,” said Jo.  

Willie had his 1931 Model A Ford on display.  Its a four-door milk-chocolate-brown hardtop and reminds me of the kinds of cars I’ve seen in Bonnie and Clyde movies.  

He smiled and said: “Everyone likes old cars, older people in particular and there’s still a bunch of us left.”

There’ll be another vintage car show in Washington in October called Smoke on the Water, although it is not organized by the Coastal Plains club.

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