My Mom and I, happy about the Navajo doll and petty coat dress my Dad took back to me
A souvenir from the Empire State
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A Journey to the United States in 1955

In 1955, my father was 39 years old and "Studienleiter" (study director) of an institution named "Evangelische Akademie" (protestant church academy) in Hamburg. He travelled the United States of America in order to develop contacts with Church leaders and to study religious and social life in the States. His journey lasted 3 months, during which he took almost 500 pictures, all of them lantern slides, and after his return, he held a number of slide shows, along with a speech on his experiences. He was especially interested in living and working conditions of ordinary people and must have spoilt a few parties by putting too many questions. "When you start a serious issue", he said, "Americans say: 'yes, it's a problem' and change the subject."

After his return, he showed the slides in the auditorium of the protestant church academy. We lived upstairs in the same house, so I was there a few times. As most people did not have a TV set yet, these shows were well visited. I was allowed to take part, although it was 8 p.m. when they started. Once I had been asleep already, but obviously wouldn't have forgiven if they started without me. So when I came in, dressed in nighty and bathing gown, I said "good morning", and everybody laughed. Very soon, I knew the show by heart.

A few years ago I opened the box I had taken along with every move since he died in 1983. I scanned a large number of the slides and tried to improve them by use of digital tools. 54 years of age are quite a long time for lantern slides.