Word and Image

Golden Horseshoe Award

We had an old Argus C3 ‘brick’ that I once used – once! No lessons, no clue, and the results were over and under but never exposed properly. Even my amateur eye could see that the developed negatives had no images. I just played with the buttons for one roll of black and white film on a trip to Charleston, West Virginia to receive the Golden Horseshoe Award. The award was a pretty big deal given to three students from each county after a competitive exam each year. As a minority student winner, I was placed front and center next to the education commissioner in the official photo taken on the steps of an official looking building. That’s me to the right of the ‘old bald headed’ guy. Racism was still present in the state. I know, because my parents were turned down for membership in the local country club. The father of one of my co- winners was on the board that turned down my parents. Times change. I don’t know and haven’t bothered to look to see if the award is still given. I’ve moved on. They said that poverty was high and education among the poorest states in the nation. It wasn’t.

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5 responses

  1. Our stories are so important–and telling them even more so. I appreciate this illustrated glimpse into yours. Please tell me why a camera was referred to as a ‘brick’.

    February 29, 2012 at 9:30 am

    • The Argus C3 was a camera of the 50’s that everyone seemed to own. It took 35 mm film, mostly black and white. It had setting for f stop and shutter – no flash. You use a flash bulb, yes a disposable bulb. The camera was all black with some dials … and it was shaped like a rectangular brick. It’s not even a collectable as there are so many around – worth about $10. Still, I’d like to find that old one that we had. Someday….

      February 29, 2012 at 10:46 am

  2. Thank you, Vic. My greatest gift was my Dad giving me a Kodak Duaflex he’d gotten from a pawn shop. I grew up in Rochester, the home of George Eastman and Kodak, and to give anything other than a Kodak was sacrilegious. But I left it sitting on the sink of a public washroom while on vacation, and though I ran back in five minutes later, it was gone. However, I did have the opportunity to actually develop my own prints from it, and recall the negatives being huge. It was such a magical event, under the red light, watching the image emerge. Thank you for helping us all recall our first camera.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:11 am

  3. George Weaver

    I love your somber expression in the photo. And the old, bald guy turning toward you. Of course. I grew up in North Carolina. I know “that of which you speak”. You must be nearly as old as I am. How the heck do you look so young now? Good grief!

    I can see that “brick” of a camera in your hand. I only recall Brownie cameras…the ones they almost gave away so we would buy the film. Interesting memory here.

    March 1, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    • George – yes, we all got old. And yes the photo is recent. But it’s all relative. In the back of my mind – Peter Pan. But a more sobering thought is that middle age if that was 50 – was long ago, since no one lives past 100… really. Darn! Till you mentioned it, I didn’t realize that the Argus C3 is right there with the strap. In retrospect where else would I have had it. Thanks for your sharp observations.

      March 2, 2012 at 7:47 am

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