4 States of Fotos: Blog


3rd Day in Ohio

Yellow Springs, family history and loud bangs


We got an early start had our Coffee and conversation again. I am cherishing these moment with my Aunt Laurie. I forgot to mention the dining table is full of photos and going over all of them with stories and tidbits about them. I learn about my Great Grandfather Louie LeFever ( LeFevre) Grandma Jean’s Father, who owned a hardware store. Quite the charmer he was a character I gather. My grandfather Carl Karns was win the US Navy when he met my Grandmother. He was also a treasure hunter and in fact he made and patented the first underwater metal detector. Built the molds but as luck has it lost the patents and therefore lost the status of inventing it. Family stories. He was also a really good photographer. Almost all of the photos were his. He even developed them all. Black and white and total americana, the family photos are so picturesque. Christmas photos, snow fight photos, portraits of all members of the family and very stage of their lives. I look just like my Pop as a kid. Identical except his ears much bigger, but forehead and eyes check.

As all of this comes up in our morning conversation I look at some more photos and iPhone photograph for keepsakes, Aunt Carla comes over and we sit on porch over a few laughs today is going to be a free day, no work.

Off to Yellow Springs and looking glass into the past. We drive for a good bit and end up right in the front of the house where The Karns Family grew up. I take a photo almost the same as the original black and white photo my grandfather Carl Karns took. Hope to see the difference side by side.

My aunts and I drive around stopping in to where they haven’t been themselves in a long while. It was a trip down memory lane for them. From the back seat I can just see them giggle and come up with small stories of certain families and old family friends who no longer live there. Houses have popped up and large stretches of land covered with new homes. Beautiful but at least they have this memory of how it used to look.

At every turn I am asking questions or they are laughing to me how they used to play here and have tiny all day adventures over there. The woods were their playground, literally. Of course the would play games with my their mom / my grandma Jeanne. She always wanted to play games. Or they were off to meet friend down to the creeks to meet up with others and to avoid doing chores. “ See you later mom “ , “ hi mom where’s lunch?” “ ok off we go “ Can I eat at so and so’s house” Kids being kids, hell I did the same thing. with my buddies always on the trails taking off all day til dinner time. Remember playing outside? I guess that has gone away.

As we pull into a side street we pull up to Greenon High School. A good little walk from the house. Aunt Carla says, “ Here’s where your Father and us went to high school”. I lit up never heard about this. I grabbed my camera and about shot out of my seat. I photograph the front and we pop back and drive around the back. “ here’s where the Marching band use to come out there door. Here is the building that used to be new when we were here” they chuckle. My Pop did a drawing of a Knight the school used.” This immediately brought about my memories of how I did my drawing on the quad for my graduating class. How similar we are I think to myself. “ He was quite the artist” Aunt Carla and Laurie, exclaims proudly. I am starting to get to really now my pop from the childhood I never really heard about. The regular stuff the meat of how his day to day was. My family fills in all the many blanks. Stories of hiking in the woods across from the house. meeting friends. Aunt Carla almost died riding a horse who jumped a car and died. Carla fell on face was thought to be dead in the ambulance, These stories are rich with color.

We continue down the road and hit the Betheny Lutheran Church where my Dad went for boy Scouts and as we drive out I juts miss Young’s on the road. I just saw this place on the first day. It's all true. The boy scouts place is right next to Young’s just as they said. 

We arrive to Yellow Springs and it is a small hippy town they likened to San Francisco. I was intrigued but my Pop laughed the day before saying “ Well it is like San Francisco but in the 60’s” as driving down the main street I see a dreadlocked mother with baby strapped in a bjorn. Oh yeah this is San Francisco alright. We find parking and decide to poke around. Again hotter that normal so we are moving slow. Not even one block. Aunt Carla says “ He that’s where mom used to go when we would come to Yellow Springs as kids. They would have lunch and eat at Ye Olde Trail Tavern. I snap a few shots and I just have to see what it looked like and where the Karns’ came as young tikes in this free love soak town. Small dark and a really old tavern look with a small fireplace as you walk to the back. “ Oh it was nice when we would come here /i remember they would light the Fireplace.” 

Later we tell Uncle Doug about this he must have been real young but he suddenly says ‘ oh yeah with the fireplace?” Eureka connecting the past to now.

We head out after photographing the same stools that were there since they were hear last as kids. and head over to Tom’s Market. All the old and new pro cuts I could find, One item is Mike-sells Chips a favorite of my Pop’s and made locally. Still here and same bag even. Of course I had to get those. We bounce around as, just like me, try to find the most unique local products I could find. I had to see if there was Goat milk and cheese i found that but oddly enough it was also expensive out here. Odd. Should be so much cheaper. How is anyone going to try it if it is out of reach. I buy a Beet Juice and somehow let my Aunt by her a Ginger Carrot drink. I want to get some good odd drinks for them. Silly Californian trying to hock stuff on them. I only want to have them try it see if they like. New experiences are the best. 

I head to the deli counter and my aunts already are asking if they have gluten free bread for the sandwiches. Looking out for me already and the deli place does. Located in the front of Tom’s Market they have  a greats deli counter and the lady serving me was Carmen. She was so delightful and even hand modeled for me as I photographed the Famous Sauce. I got a Pastramus Anonymous and why? Cause Carmen suggested it of course. I looked and look and eventually went with her suggestion. The Pastrami from Boar’s Head #boarshead was also gluten free and so thinly slicked it was perfect like light paper packed tight and easy to eat. they served it on Rudi’s Multi Grain bread. I got 2 sandwiched since GF bread is smaller. they do the same thing at Whole Foods. good deal. And on top of was the famous sauce and Baby Swiss. Never had it so I had to try it.

We shuttled ourselves across the street with a suggestion from the Sinead O’Connor Tie Dyed lady and sat cooled off under a side alley table with umbrella. What did I do when I stay down? WellI photographed the food of course. Got some really nice imagery. Stacked my two sandwiched for effect and it came out good. I also ordered some Deviled eggs and killed the whole bunch on them. Deviled eggs and paprika gotta love it. My Aunts had a taste of the GF bread on my sandwich and loved it.

After lunch we check out the shops and i buy this Black Panther Tatttoo, as I’m told my Grand father, Carl Karns had one on his left arm. $3 for a shock factor i will put n my arm and post it see if my Dad for one recognizes it and another see who loses their cookies over me getting a giant panther on my arm. 

We drive to and through John Bryant Park , this us where the Karns family and many others went for picnics. So well put together and so much parking. I can picture the giant metal automobiles parked on the sides of the road. The frisbees flying through the air and The Nuclear families all congregating ion this giant behemoth of a park. Now it is a weekday and empty as can be. Aunt Carla pulls up and points to the very picnic table they sat at most. Trippy that it is still there. I jog over with my iPhone and camera and this table looks like it has been there for awhile. Covered in light green spots and aged wood. I was very taken by how well preserved this area was. I wanted to be there with them sharing the moments. Cooking on the grill while my grandfather all vcoered in US navy tattoos, short blond hair cooking away. And my Grandmother with her newly permed hair getting all the fixing ready as the kids, my aunts and uncles ventured off into yet another trail to escape and explore the surrounding park. My aunts were so accommodating as I’m with my iPhone doing double duty with #instagram and my #canon camera to photograph the past. They got a kick out of it but I was very all over the place trying to capture every moment. 

I walk back with a huge smile and we drive down just a ways and almost out of the park. Aunt Laurie points over to the right. “ that’s where your dad his Senior Picnic.” I flash back to mine. It is quite a feeling when I connect my experiences and the one my Pop would have had. They mention that someone had drowned that day. i wonder what my Pop was doing at the time and if he was around or just heard about it. You never know how people can play parts in situations. I feel like I’m always trying to help. I hope my Pop was doing the same thing or if he even knew the kid who had accident and died.

I can see a giant the pattern with their days as kids. It all makes sense. The road they rode bikes on was just to the left. The V shape block was where they raced around. The woods right across the street was where they would all disappear for the day. I really was happy to make sense of it. It wan’t just enough to hear about it. I see the memories flash by. I’m where my Pop stood at one time. I feel it. I understand now.

Back at home Aunt Laurie and my Uncle Jim cook up some steaks at the house. It is slightly raining but we manage to cook up some really nice T-Bones. Another grill master in my midst. A great conversation and some laughs we retire to the porch with some White wine and the Dog Pic running around. I tell Jim about my trip plans and how I might learn to shoot a gun in Idaho with my buddy Nolan. “ You ever shoot a gun?” he asks with interest. “ Never” I sheepishly laugh. “ Well i have lots of guns, would you like to shoot some?”. “ Sure” I say hesitantly.

My Aunt Laurie is dying by now. “ You’re mother is gonna kill me”. Jim comes out with a pistol and  22 rifle. He first shows me safety on how to handle it. If you are gong to point you better mean it. “ Keep it up Robert you gotta respect it”.And then he puts down a box of bullets 500 to exact. He starts to load and i interrupt “ Can I load the bullets?” He happily agrees and as i start to place the bullets in the chamber. I say “ It’s like putting quarters in the laundry.” he got a kick out of that. I load push the plunger and turn. It is ready to go. Jim goes first. He fires once, twice 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 not one hit. “ By god i didn’t hit one with my own gun” I am freaked out now how man i going to do this. My aunt chimes in and he has been shooting his whole life. Now it is my turn. I load the bullets, push the plunger and turn. “ Get up next to the post and get lean on it Robert.” Two Pepsi Cans are about 125 feet or more away. Clear down the other side of the long front yard. I post up get settled in. My Aunt Laurie snaps few photos on her camera. I look right down the scope and see the cross hairs. 2 cans right there in front of me. My eye can’t get settled and looking down the scope is not that easy. I fire once, twice 3 4 and POW and POW I hit my cans. I cannot believe it. i shot a gun, a rifle out here in Ohio. “ Now hit the bottoms Robert.” So I miss a few time more and gotta reload. This time I hit them 1 2 they fly. We run up and I hold my two cans proudly punched through.

“Would you like to shot my shot gun Robert ”, “ Oh um, sure” I forcefully get the words out of my mouth. Jim pulls out his 16 gauge Winchester one shot shotgun. “ Thee Winchester “ I ask feeling like an eager 5 year old. “ Yup, the one and only Winchester” Jim replies. i have visions of never ever going to the Winchester house and now i should really go. Jim loads it up and i tell to go first. He sets up the cans closer and I step back in my chair on the porch. BLAST!!! The fire comes from the barrel and his 2 cans are blow clean off the grass. “ This is not a video game “ I think to myself.

“Now you’re turn Robert”. I think really quickly I should have my white hat for this. John Dillinger style. all of a sudden I want to look the part. “ Step by step, Jim instructs me from the Porch as i know I;m high of the experience and hand my #canon camera to my aunt to capture this moment. this has to be high resolution Raw quality. Rich memories I’m thinking. I open up the Shot gun and goes into a shape. I load my shell and i snap it in. Snap. I crank the lever closed and turn the safety off. I am almost out of my body right now. What the hell i have a shotgun in my hand. “ Aim it up Robert.”, Jim gently instructs me much like a teacher to student, a father to his son. “ Just get that resting into your shoulder and it’s gonna give you a kick so be ready for it.

The butt of the shotgun resting in my front deltoid and outer chest  and I give it an aim looking down the barrel at the two #Pepsi cans. I take the shot, BOOM!, the fire shoots out of the end of the barrel, the cans blow right over, it’s a hit. I hit it with my first go. I am frozen at this point. I look over and Jim and the beginning said  “ Get a load of his face after he shoots fires”, well true to what he said I could not move and a slow smile slightly shocked starts to grow. I am dumbfounded and my Aunt took a few shots some real life shock and the others a complete goofy look.


This day turned out to be grand. Hit from all sides I had day in Ohio.


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