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Tom would stay up all night reading and playing guitar.

October 1, 2015
Tom Struckman, about 1964, with nephews Chris and Chuck Angel in Dillon, Montana.

Tom Struckman, about 1964, with nephews Chris and Chuck Angel in Dillon, Montana.

My grandmother’s Argus C-3 viewfinder 35mm camera got lots of use. My goal was to get a picture published in the school newspaper, but the great action shots of high school football games were “not clear” enough, according to editor Tim Pilgrim. I’d try again and again. I even asked a professional photographer for help, or rather, he offered me help. He asked me to bring in my pictures, so I did. Even the crappy blurry ones.

By the time my nephews came to visit from Bozeman I was getting much better. Of course I developed and printed my own. Bridenstein. That’s what the professional’s name was, and he had a darkroom too. He showed me how he developed and printed. He used a Crown Graphic 4×5 inch view camera, often with a tripod. I bought his old Federal brand enlarger when he replaced it with a new Omega.

My darkroom was a closet in my bedroom. Very handy for me, large enough. At one point I developed B&W 8mm movie film and ended up splashing great quantities of chemicals all over the floor.

Tom lived with us because he flunked out at Missoula and had to retake some basic classes at the Western Montana College of Education in Dillon. He had disdain for the professors there. They had an English professor who had never heard of Leslie Fiedler! Tom said Western was a glorified high school. Our mother taught there.

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