December 2006

Still on a “remembering Grandpa” kick, folks. Funeral was today; this is what’s on my mind.

It was not until very, very recently that I found out apparently not all sump pumps are Rube Goldberg-like contraptions. So I’m told.

sump pump

My grandpa’s house has been described as “the house that almost works.” Everything kind of sort of mostly works, if you tweak it a certain way and don’t use it too much. This has always been especially true of the sump pump; basement floods in that house were a common story to me growing up. This here is the sump pump that my grandpa, an engineer, rigged up.

It is a 2’x2′ square hole in the ground. There are spouts directing several steady streams of water into the hole. The hole fills with water. Pumps trigger other pumps. When a float (the kind in your toilet tank) says that the water’s gotten to a certain height, the whole 3-4′ deep hole full of water is pumped out through the vertical pipes you see. And the process begins again.

This whole cycle, from bottom of hole to 3 feet up, takes about five minutes.

It’s actually kind of meditative to watch.

Christmas 1950

Christmas, 1950. This is the image they used on the family Christmas card.
L to R. Grandpa, Mom, Uncle Lloyd, Uncle Charles, Uncle George, Grandma.


This is my grandfather about 4 years ago celebrating his 89th birthday.

Click here or scroll down to yesterday’s post, but see what I mean about his hands?!


wooley funeral home

This is Wooley Funeral Home (edit- correct spelling: “Woolley”), who hosted my grandmother’s viewing in 1992 and my grandfather’s viewing today (12/29/06).

I’ve spent the past day or two making up display boards of old pictures and articles written about him, so people would sort of see who he was and where he came from. This means I have been sifting through a lot of old family photos.

Grandpa and Grandma c.1934

This photo was actually taken in Kansas (shhh), but it’s my grandpa and grandma when they were still just engaged, circa 1934. They got married on Christmas day ‘cos it was the only day he could get off from work. His birthday was Epiphany (January 6); Grandma’s birthday was Christmas Eve (December 24). And he died on Christmas day. His life was sure as hell centered around the holidays!

Grandpa at EAI c.1951

This is my grandfather sitting at his desk, c. 1951. He was the founder/president of a computer company that you’ve never heard of. He was fat, bald, and bespectacled from about 1940 ’til he died, so this is a decent representation of him… but the thing that gets me is his hands. All the men in the family have those hands, and they hold ’em the same way. And honestly, my hands are a lot like that too.


I think every photographer (or person who photographs) has some common image he/she collects. Some have an obsession with various photos of a photographer’s own shadow or reflection; some have drawers full of sunset pics; some whip out the camera every time they see an interesting gutter.

My current collection is streetlights.

Mostly, I’m using them to play with squiggled time exposures, but I’m noticing that every streetlight in every area has a different shape, color of light, effect on its surroundings. I’m curious how they compare to one another, so I’m photographing them.

I’m having fun, anyway. 🙂


I dunno. I like slightly beat-up cars. They have charisma.


Stairway of a parking garage, Long Branch.

…C’mon, it’s Jersey.


Christmas was rainy. The roads were wet.

The lights here are bumpy because we were going over a “yes ma’am.”

That’s what my grandfather called those bumps in the road that make you feel like you’re flying for a moment (if you go over them at a good clip).

My grandfather died about 19 hours ago.


Christmas wrapping

Merry Christmas!

said the street sign.

Isn’t this along the order of vandalism?

Not that I mind. It is festive! Those Rumson folk sure know how to celebrate.

Next Page »