Saying Goodbye

by Karen Topakian

I said goodbye to an old friend the other day. A friend who stood by me through thick and thin. A friend about whom I told my grandfather would be more reliable and responsible than a husband.

My 16mm Bolex movie camera.

The one I used in graduate school. To make films about myself, my family. The one I used to make films with WAFFAL (The Wednesday Afternoon Fine Arts League). The all girl film group. Films called Chapters 1-5. Chapters 6-11.

Twenty-three years ago, I carefully placed the camera in its black leather bag along with a lens, a light meter and various bits of gears. Then stuck it in various closets. In various apartments. To languish.

After opening it up the other day and laying out the pieces on the dining room table, I realized that I no longer had any idea how to operate it. The years of winding it, putting it up to my eye and pulling the trigger remained in my distant pass.

Now it’s back home. At my beloved alma mater, the San Francisco Art Institute. Where it belongs. It’s in a better place now. Being used by budding film students. As I once was.