Category Archives: History

Nostalgia

Kids graduating from high school today have never known a world without cell phones … or the instant gratification of digital photography. I remember once reading an article a long time ago that said that cameras were becoming so small and cheap that there was no reason not to put them in everything. Cell phones were the logical beneficiary. Now everyone has a camera on them at all times. If Big Foot were real, someone would have gotten an HD video of her by now. 

Photographers … professional and amateur … had to wait for film to be chemically developed in order to see the results. It could takes days before you saw the results. Film often had had to be sent out for processing. The arrival of onsite same-day processing was a big deal. 

From my post Welcome to the Future

  • No cell phone cameras, no digital cameras, no webcams, no camcorders; both still and movie cameras used film that needed to be developed before you could see the results

My favorite was a slide film call Kodachrome made by Eastman Kodak. So popular and high quality was this film that Paul Simon (formerly of Simon & Garfunkle) released a song about it. Kodachrome processing involved a variety of toxic chemicals and was discontinued in 2009, but its color saturation and time stability are legendary. I still have Kodachrome slides that are gorgeous even as other slides and prints have faded to red (and the lubricants in my slide projector have turned to glue rendering it useless). I keep planning to get these digitally scanned, but it’s not cheap for high quality scans and something always comes up that diverts the funds. I would like to get them scanned and begin posting then here someday.

When not shooting Kodachrome slides I (like most everyone else) shot print film. This involved a roll of film with a “negative” image that was developed and then used to create enlarged color prints. One dropped off the film for processing and the came back to pick up the prints and negatives.

Never knowing if any of my photos had turned out, I would take my roll of film down to the local photomat or camera store to have it developed. Invariably on the way out I would begin humming the first few bars of …

Bonus track …

The Womack House

The Womack House restaurant was incorporated in 1981 on FM* 1093 west of Fulshear TX, a few months before the Mrs and I moved to Katy TX from Colorado fresh out of college. It was famous for “family style country food” and we ate there often when our kids were little.

Our first son was born in 1983. Coincidentally “Pancho and Lefty” by Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson debuted the same year. The song was still popular several years later and I bought the cassette of the album. “Pancho and Lefty” was one of my first son’s favorite songs. The Womack House had a lounge (bar) and at the time a country-western singer named Clell Conner was a fixture. After dinner we would often retire to the lounge and Clell would play “Pancho and Lefty” for us.


From the Houston Chronicle …

“It was located in an old house with a big front porch with several porch swings,” according to Linda Linn .

And April Andres says she once spied Nolan Ryan dining there.

Bonnie Meyer, a former employee, remembers serving “huge platters of chicken-fried steak, catfish, meatloaf, chicken and dumplings and all kinds of fresh vegetables.

When she worked there, she says, “the (waitresses) had to wear old-fashioned floor-length peasant-style dresses, and we would often sit on the swings outside waiting for our first customers to arrive.

“We kind of looked like the girls on the Chicken Ranch in La Grange!” she adds.

According to Chronicle archives, Womack House closed in 1994.

 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 

I remember they had little galvanized pails of warmed saltine crackers.

Today I had lunch with an old friend at a Chinese restaurant in a new subdivision near Fulshear. All of this new construction sort of snuck up on me over the years. Roads that I remember as dirt roads out in the country are now four lane boulevards with large tree-filled medians. On a whim, I decided to drive out to Fulshear and see if I could find The Womack House. 



It is now a day care facility, but it is still there (complete with porch swings).

Memories …

 
* FM in Texas stands for Farm to Market road 

References 

http://m.chron.com/entertainment/article/Womack-House-1647309.php

https://www.corporationwiki.com/Texas/Fulshear/the-womacks-house-restaurant-inc/31942959.aspx

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/ricewrc/00535/rice-00535.html

DVD Episode 139 Jan. 16, 1982: Landmark Inn, Castroville / H Graham-Clocks, Marble Falls / J Wilson-Antique Guns, Pyote / Clell Conner-Cowboy Singer, Liberty / Spradley-Telephones, McGregor

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancho_and_Lefty

 

PS “Pancho and Lefty” is a current staple on the Mrs playlist today. She has both the Merle and Willie version as well as a couple of Townes Van Zandt versions.

 

PPS At one point we had a vinyl album (33 1/3) of Clell Conner’s music that we bought from him at The Womack House. If I can find it, I will address in a future post.

A Blast (off) From My Past

The image below is a screen capture from one the videos in the previous post on today’s SpaceX CRS-10 launch


Life comes full circle. In a much earlier post I described what it was like to be standing at the water’s edge in the foreground at the last ever Saturn V launch.

    The Saturn V F1 engines were the most powerful rocket engines ever made. Each one produced over 1.5 million pounds of thrust. The five F1 engines on the Saturn V made it the most powerful launch vehicle ever at over 7.6 million pounds of thrust. Just over forty years ago on May 14, 1973 [almost 44 years as of this writing], I was lucky enough to be among the press and dignitaries sitting on the bleachers or standing in front of the turning basin at the Launch Complex 39 Press Site for the last ever Saturn V launch. I was 19 years old. My best friend’s aunt was a professional photographer. She got each of us a press pass for the launch of the Skylab space station. For a teenage space fan, who had watched every manned launch since Alan Shepard’s first suborbital Mercury launch, this was truly “dying and going to heaven”. For several days before the launch we got to go on exclusive tours of the launch site. We were able to see Walter Cronkite’s broadcast booth. NASA loaded us up with press packets and thick tomes of specifications. I can not begin to tell you how totally cool this was.


On launch day I was one of the throng of people standing to the left of the countdown clock in the picture above.

    I was just three miles away from the launch pad. When the engines fired up, the sound of the F1 engines was felt as much as heard. The low base rumbling seemed to reach directly into my chest and vibrate my heart and lungs [dare I say it was nearly orgasmic?]. As the Saturn V rose into the sky, I could smell the burned kerosene of the exhaust as I felt the waves of warm air wafting over me. 
    This was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The SpaceX image inspired me to search the Internet and YouTube for Skylab launch images. I scored big time. The second image is screen shot from the video below. Back in the day I had a fetish for white jeans (probably expressing my inner John Lennon). Trust me – I am in there somewhere.

Full video from 1973

https://youtu.be/JzCXYd2v3xE

 
The Internet is amazing. Welcome to the future.

 

Links

https://contrafactual.com/2013/07/20/apollo-11-main-engines-found/

Second time is the charm

SpaceX successfully launches CRS-10 from LC-39A | Falcon 9 first stage lands at LZ-1 

Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Airforce Station

 

Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A, the southern most of the two most northerly pads) with SpaceX modifications 


 


Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1 formerly LC-13 midway down ICBM road )


LC-39A launch

 

Aerial view of LZ-1 landing

 

Full coverage with some SpaceX provided historical clips

 
Links

Aerial snapshots from Apple Maps (TOMTOM)

Welcome to the Future – the revolution will be Tweeted