Bob Landry the Labeler
I was putting on my shoes this morning and my shoehorn broke. This was no ordinary shoehorn – it was a Marquis shoehorn. The Marquis was the name of a barbershop quartet that my dad was in back in the day. I say “back in the day” because I’m not really sure what time period that group was in. My dad had so many quartets through the years and I can’t keep track of them all. But fortunately for me, my dad was a labeler. He labeled everything. Like this shoehorn. He wrote his name on the back of it and for some reason he had the name of his quartet on it to. He probably brought the shoehorn with him to Harmony College for the SPEBSQSA convention.
I hated to throw that shoehorn away because of the history associated with it. But why keep a broken shoehorn? So I decided to write a story about it! That way I can throw it away, but not lose the history. How is that for inspiration for a family history blog? Actually I have been thinking about writing about this for a while. I always am reminded that some of the things I have came from my dad – such as Exhibit B. This is a briefcase that held some of my dad’s genealogy research. I have it next to my desk and it actually still contains some of that research and I refer to it from time to time.
I don’t know why it has such an ordinary label on it. Just a paper label with pen writing on it. Okay, okay, it did the job. You can still see that the item belonged to Bob Landry of Jennings, Louisiana. But it just doesn’t have the permanence of some of the other labeling techniques that he later incorporated. Note Exhibit C. This is an older plastic label from the trombone that he got in the late 1950s. I also played that trombone, but it was always his name on the case.
You may have noticed that I called the label in that last paragraph the “older” plastic label. Most of the other items are labeled with the green plastic tags. That’s because at some point he moved to the new and improved Dymo Labelmaker. I can still remember the sound as he’d click his way through the alphabet and then squeeze the ‘trigger’ to imprint the letter on the tape. It’s a similar sound to the clicking of the antenna directional control we had on the top of the TV back then, but that is another story.
As you can see in Exhibit E, he even used it for my very first camera from 1974. Even though that camera had a sticker that you chose to make it individual to the user (note the peace dove), I still needed to have my name plastered on the camera.
Four years later, when I got my Canon TX SLR camera, I was in need of another label. But this time a plastic tag was not sufficient enough. No, nothing so flimsy would be appropriate for that metal camera body. It was time to bring in the engraver. As seen in Exhibit F, my name was permanently etched into the camera!
Now for my final Exhibit, let me point you to Exhibit G. This was my first tennis racket that I had. Yes, back in the 70s it was spelled racket. Only later, after the popularity of racquetball, did they try to add a Q to the spelling. Even though it doesn’t have any strings, I still keep it for sentimental reasons. They were made of wood back then. You wouldn’t want to just put a label on it, now would you? And you can’t really etch wood very well, can you? The solution? Burn it in with the wood burning kit that my brother Rob got for Christmas!
So there you have it – my case for Bob Landry: Label Maker. I still think I’m getting rid of one of these pieces of evidence. Sure, an old wooden tennis racket with no strings is nostalgic, but a broken shoehorn is ready for the trash heap. At least it will continue on virtually. My case won’t be weakened with the loss of that evidence, because I have many more examples I can use. So for now, case closed.