Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - Rural Retail bread delivery

Hello Everyone, I apologize to my readers for being so long between posts. I have been occupied with other things and have not been doing much genealogy. However, today I went to the cemetery to make photographs. A bakery truck passed by and I began to reminisce about bread delivery to our house when I was a little girl. When only one car per family was the norm and it was used by the man of the house for getting to and from work, free home delivery of goods was normal. In some places grocery delivery is still available, but usually only under special circumstances and it is now a paid service.

We used to have milk delivery, which a lot of people remember, but we also had besides the "milkman", a "breadman". I used to love when he came to the house, because he always carried a tray full of delightful treats besides bread - pastries and donuts mostly. I loved chocolate donuts. I remember him placing the tray down on the floor at my level and kneeling down to show me all the different goodies. Two incidents that stick out in my mind were:

1. One day after the breadman left, my mom called the company to complain that the breadman had been drunk when he came to the house.

2. My mom bought two packages of chocolate cookies one time that she had never tried before. I think they were a new product. They were horrible. No one would eat them and when a child doesn't eat a chocolate cookie freely given, you know it is bad. It was not that they were just bad tasting, there was something wrong with them. My mother wrote a letter to the company complaining that even the dog wouldn't eat them. To her surprise the company wrote back apologizing saying they think that she might have gotten some that were made right around when they were having problems with a tank of chocolate. They gave her coupons for free cookies.

We had a friendly milkman. I still have fond memories of the man. The milk company would sometimes have special promotions and I remember one time that he brought a puppet for us.

A salesperson's job is to solve problems for a customer and our milkman did just that. My older teenage brother drank copious amounts of milk. My mother kept increasing the number of gallons she ordered, but it never seemed to last until the next delivery. My mom mentioned the enormous amount he drank to the milkman one day and he told my mother that she could buy the milk in 2-3 gallon plastic containers that sat in the refrigerator and had a dispenser on them, so they never had to be poured. From then on we had 2 large containers of milk delivered every week.

We had a German Shepherd dog that had the most acute sense of hearing. We lived 1.2 miles from the intersection where the milkman turned onto our road. We always knew when the milkman made that turn, because our dog would start barking. In about 15-20 minutes after he made his other deliveries we knew to put our dog away because he would be turning into our driveway any second.

Another time I told the milkman about the kittens my cat had just had and I uncovered a box to show him. The momma cat did not like that and hissed at him.

These are just a few recollections that probably mean something only to me. Does anyone else remember bread delivery? Or what other types of deliveries were there to your home? Any reminisces on home delivery?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sorting Saturday - Scanning Transparencies or Slides

About two to three years ago I bought a new scanner at Staples, one that had an attachment for doing transparencies or slides and negatives. For those of you too young to remember, transparencies, or commonly called slides, were a type of still picture beamed onto a screen with an overhead projector for viewing. These were very common in the mid-to-late 20th century before digital photography.

My father loved using the slide format because he was able to share his travel photos with a larger audience at once, rather than have them gathered around a scrap book. With an overhead projector he could make a presentation and reminisce about his travels to an interested group. He even converted many photographs to slides that he had taken before switching to the transparency format all together.

When he died, I inherited the family photograph collection including about 2 dozen reels of slides or more. I haven't counted lately. My siblings and I wanted to digitize this collection, but the quoted price was beyond what we wanted to pay. So I dusted off the attachment to my scanner to see what it would do. I had never looked at the attachment when I first bought it, but now I realized that the attachment only did 4 slides at a time. FOUR slides! According to my calculations I had about 3000 slides. Scanning 4 slides a day would take me about 2 years to finish.

So I started in, 4 slides at a time. I have been doing more than 4 a day. I started at the beginning of this year and am already about half way through.

I have learned that the attachment has a limited space in which to scan the slide and some slides are larger than the allotted space. To compensate for that I have had to scan some slides more than once in order to get the full picture. These duplicate scans will then have to be pieced together in a photo editing software to make one large photo. I haven't done that yet. Many times, just turning the slide 90 degrees in the attachment will be sufficient to get a decent scan in one picture.

I scan my slides in TIF format. TIF is a stable format that does not lose detail with each opening of the photo. It takes longer to scan in TIF than it does in jpg, but the stability is worth the few extra seconds.

My scanner is an old one, no longer being made - an Epson V200. I think it cost me about $90 or less. I remember it was on sale. It has served well and has been easy to use. If it continues to serve well up until I just get all my slides scanned it will have been worth the money. The quoted price to us for scanning the slides by a "professional" was, I think, about $1 per slide.