From 8 mm home movies

First (3/3/52) came Ellen Victoria. Then (10/14/53) Mary Benedicta . And finally, (7/18/57) Catherine Concend (Katy). Joan picked the lovely names. They demonstrate her respect for tradition and her distaste for the trendy.

Shortly before Katy was born, I bought an 8 mm movie camera. I was so captivated by it that, to my regret, I took few still photos for several years thereafter. An 8 mm frame is about the size of a pinky nail. Despite the consequent poor resolution I'm using some here. They're fuzzy but they manage to convey some of our happiness at Katy's birth. At least they do for me. Maybe you had to be there.

There in California in the middle of summer we were moving up. Our rented house in Baldwin Park had two bedrooms! And we were building our own home.

At Aerojet I had moved into control systems work and was engaged in development of a subsystem for the Vanguard rocket. It came as a shock when on October 4,1957, ten weeks after Katy's birth, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik1. Taking second place, Vanguard was launched on March 1, 1958.

In late 1958 we moved into our new home in West Covina. Working weekends and vacations we'd spent three years building it. Much work remained to be done. You can glimpse a corner of it in the first frame.

I remember shooting a good portion of an 8 mm roll on this sequence as Katy came rambling toward me. She seemed all aglow.

She had become the little darling of her mom, her big sisters, and her dad.

I took some vacation time when Katy came. The week after Joan brought her home from the hospital was a joyous one for us. Katy was a healthy baby. Her sisters fawned over her.

Joan was radiant.


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