Just thought I'd share an interesting photography story from a couple years ago.
I processed some B&W 4X5 film I had in a box. How long it had been in there, I had no idea, but it had to be about 7-8 years old since I had gotten rid of my last 4X5 camera back around 2000.
Just about all of the negatives turned out to be pictures of my #2 sons middle school band that I took when my #2 and #3 sons were in it, back about 1998. Some of the other negatives were to dark to see an image on, and one negative was not mine. I had no idea who these kids were, but I was sure it must be a negative that I had acquired when I purchased some 4X5 equipment (film holders) over the years, probably back in the early 90's.
I scanned the negative so I could get a better look at who these people were. The image is below.
As you can see, it is three kids, all holding flags with their names on them, Kurt, Lynn, and Andra.
Using logic, which I do on occasion, I surmised that the "NJ" in the boat registration number was from New Jersey. I tried to find a site that would have old registration numbers, hoping that I could find a name to go with the number. No luck. I found out that Jersey kept a record of boat registration numbers for only eight years. I could tell that the boat and motor were rather old.
My next step was to google the kids names. I thought Andra was unusual. I found only one site that had all three names together but I could not get the site to open up. I sent the link to my family, keeping them up to date with what I was doing. My brother Tim somehow got the site to open and sent me the link but it was just one page with very little info.
On the site, I found out that the mother of these three kids (what are the odds of more than one family having three kids with these names, I have no idea) was Blanche, and had passed away. The father of the children was Marvin Creamer, the first (perhaps only) man to circumnavigate the globe in a sailboat, with no navigational tools.
Tim suggested I email the webmaster. In the mean time I searched yahoo people finder and found an address and phone number for the father, Marvin Creamer.
Well, I didn't want to call (Mr. Creamer was 92 now), so I did as my brother suggested and sent Mr. Harvey, the webmaster, an email.
I had a response waiting for me the next morning, as well as an email from Mr. Creamer. Both are below.
That is a really fascinating story and I am pretty certain that your detecvtive work was successful. I am sending a carbon copy of this mail to Marvin. You will likely hear from him or one of his children soon. Thank you for going to all that trouble to locate him.
Ralph V. Harvey
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Your sleuthing was picture perfect!!! Thanks for your hound dogging. I took the picture and used is to make a Christmas card in 1961 (I've forwarded your email to my kids or verification of the date). The location is the Delaware River between a small island and the Camden, NJ, shore. I had a great ten years of fishing in that boat--tuna, marlin, false albacore, bonita, bluefish. and skipjack. Sold it in 1971 and took up long-distance sailing.
I sold the speed graphic at a yard sale in Pine Knoll Shores, NC, about 10 years ago. Have no idea how the film got to you. Incidentally, I have 9 SS hangers for 4 X 5 cut film that I need to dispose of. Are they something you could use? I will send them to you if you'd like to have them. I did my own darkroom work for 40 years or more.
FYI -- Andra is an ob-gyn at Duke Medical Center, NC, and has an international reputaion in the blood diseases of pregnant women; Lynn is Director of Oncology Nursing at the University of Omaha Medical School Hospital in Omaha, and Kurt is an environmental engineer working for a Danish company (near Raleigh, NC) that specializes in creating enzmes for medical and industrial use.
I'm still active--do my own shopping, cooking, laundry, and yard work, and ride a bike a few miles a day.
Thanks again for your tracking efforts. What a combination--the Internet and the computer.
If you are interested in reading about Marvin Creamer and his journey around the world, go here: http://www.globestar.org/index.htm