One of the perks of my job is that I get to hear people talk about their families. Over time, you get to follow life as it is unfolding not just for your own parishioners, but also the people they care about. You hear a lot of stories about grandchildren.
One person who always had good grandchildren stories was . I’m thinking about Betty today on what would have been her 87th birthday. When I visited with Betty, she frequently would talk about her grandchildren. I saw pictures of their vacations on the Cape, drawings they made, presents they sent her. Sometimes she would mention a project that her grandson Kevin was working on at school.
As it turns out, Kevin’s “project” was Instagram. Yep, that Kevin (maybe you saw him in a commercial aired during the Superbowl?) and that Instagram . Let’s just call it an entrepreneurial fairy tale—invent something really cool, sell it for a ton of money, and do it while you are still in your twenties.
If you aren’t sure what Instagram is, it’s an application for iPhones and now Androids, where you can take a picture with your phone and then instantly try out a whole range of filters that will transform the look and feel of your photo. Even mediocre photos can be made to look pretty darned good. Then the application makes it easy to send, post and share your photos right from your phone.
Part of the charm of Instagram is that it uses a square format—just like an old Polaroid photo. And that’s where Instagram hooked me—even before I knew of the connection to Betty and her grandson.
Call me a member of the Polaroid Generation. My father loved his Polaroid camera and I still remember the smell of those little pink sponges of fixer he used to keep in his pocket. Both of my children were born in Norwich, Connecticut where one of the favorite sons (right up there along with Benedict Arnold) was Edwin H. Land, inventor of the Polaroid process. I admit I was a little sad when I drove by the old Polaroid building on Rte. 128 outside of Boston a few weeks ago and saw that it was being demolished.
All of which is to say that, going way back, I have a soft spot for all things Polaroid. I am grateful to Betty’s grandson for putting that retro-look, square photo format back in my hands.
Some people do amazing things with Instagram and have elevated it to a real art form. I just use it for fun with lesser results. But in honor of Betty’s birthday, I’m posting are a few Instagrams of a place she loved, a place she served, and a place where she is remembered with deep fondness.