I don’t know how lucky you have to be to find three rolls of old, lost film over your lifetime, but apparently I’m that lucky. Film that went forgotten about for decades and decades, locked away in a camera that was also forgotten and locked away in some box in a closet somewhere. And somehow these rolls of film keep finding me.
What’s extra interesting about this roll is that I actually have been able to find out a little about it’s background and the people in the photos. Here’s the story:
One of my all-time best friends back in Minnesota, Katie Yernberg, came across five old cameras at a family garage sale for Steve & Bev Steberg, who have been very close to her since she was a wee girl. Knowing me, she knew they would make a perfect Christmas gift for a guy who collects vintage cameras. Also (from what I hear), I’m apparently difficult to shop for, so Katie was just relieved to find me anything I’d like. But little did she or the family know, one of the five cameras she gave me contained another present, a roll of Kodak Verichrome 620 film.
So after I got them developed we found out a little more about the backstory. The cameras belonged to the family’s late-grandfather, Clifford Steberg, the older gentleman in the photo above. It should also be noted he was a veteran of WWII, where he lost a leg and was obviously a total badass. The photos were taken around 1964 to 1965, and had been waiting patiently in a Spartus Full-Vue camera. On a side note, the camera is actually built for 120 film meaning someone had re-spooled it for 620.
The first three photos were from when the family was moving a new house onto the farm near Willmer, MN where Steve’s mother, Val was actually born. The kids in the photo are Steve when he was about 8 years old, his older brother Jim, and their cousins Gary and Mary on the right. From what I hear, this was a pretty big event on the farm, and it’s pretty cool since you can actually see the blocks and the crane they were using to lower the new house onto the old foundation.
The camping photos were taken at a state park somewhere in Minnesota where we find Steve at the water fountain when he was about 9 years old. Not only does Minnesota have numerous state parks, but they also run thick with water fountains, so it’s difficult to pinpoint which state park they could be in. The car to the right of the awesome camper trailer is apparently a ’56 Chevy Station Wagon, and the young man crying in front of it all is a friend who was visiting for the camping trip. What had him so upset is lost to history. The mother, Val Steberg, also makes her first appearance. And I may be to blame for the black stripe across the top of the last photo. I didn’t expect there to be a roll of film inside the camera when I first opened up the back, and unfortunately it wasn’t completely rolled through.
But either way, it’s always incredible finding a roll of film that had been lost for almost 50 years. The family was as happy and surprised as I was to finally see the pictures, which it felt good to actually be able to get them in the hands of some true owners. Which was rewarding and an added bonus (that hadn’t been the case in the other two rolls I’ve found seen here and here). And it’s another good lesson in always keeping your eyes open for hidden treasure.