Slawter Family Delights

Suzanne & Gavin

The purpose of this page is for the posting of various items celebrating the many blessings of the Slawter Family.

NOTE:  The videos in this blog are solely for non-commercial, ad-free private viewing by our family and friends. They are not for broadcast.  If you have not been invited to view them, kindly honor this provision. The rest of this blog is available for viewing by the general public.  Contact me via “Leave a Reply” below, if you have any comments or requests.

If buffering becomes excessive or your media viewer can’t play or interrupts the video, click on Difficulty Viewing Videos? at the very top right of this page.

For those invited friends and family, just click on the links to the videos below to enjoy the entries with us:

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Kristen’s Birthday — Suzanne Joins Kristen for Parasailing Adventure on the Outer Banks

Click on each photo to enlarge.

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Click on the arrow in the following picture to view a short video clip of their take-off.

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Next Year:  Rocket Women

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Suzanne Retires after 26 Years as a Teacher.  The above picture (with well-wishing comments by past and present students) was presented to Suzanne during a ceremony at her school, Fort Hunt Elementary, during the last week of June 2014.  Sadly, Suzanne’s mom passed away on June 7th, and her retirement party was postponed.  Three weeks later, we held a scaled-down retirement commemoration for Suzanne during a Fourth-of-July BBQ, which was attended by family and several close friends.  After the pool-side event, Suzanne was surprised with two short musical videos — produced just to commemorate her retirement.  The first video is a two-tissue sentimental journey tracing the highlights of Suzanne’s life and family since a little girl and featuring some rare pictures.  You can view this video by clicking on Suzanne and Her Family.  The other video is more on the lighter side and features the zeitgeist of working as an elementary teacher.  The mascot for the school where Suzanne worked for 23 out of 26 years is a fox; therefore, the title of the video, which you can click on to view, is The Fort Hunt Fox.  Enjoy both videos.

Kristen & Andrew - 4

Kristen & Andrew

  • Wedding Plans.  In December 2012, our son Andrew Slawter and Kristen Miller (in the above photo) announced their engagement.  Suzanne and I are thrilled to welcome Kristen to the family.  Kristen is enjoying her post-doctorate as a geologist at MIT working on the Mars Rover for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  Andrew is a program manager with M2 Strategies working on software development for the Department of Veteran Affairs.  He teleworks from Boston.  The happy couple is planning for their wedding to take place in the fall of 2013.  Best wishes to you both!

Jean McClellan & Family

  • Birthday of Jean McClellan and Retirement of Her Son Bob McClellan (Picasa Photo Album).  On December 30, 2012, we celebrated just a few days early the birthday of Suzanne’s mom Jean with not only the Slawter clan but also with the family of Bob McClellan (Jean’s son and Suzanne’s brother), who flew in from Colorado for the surprise party.  At the same time, we congratulated Bob on his retirement from the Denver Water Board after 43 years.  Click on the above link to see some of the photos of the event, which are posted on Google’s Picasa.
  • Happy Birthday Suzanne!  (2012) (Video)  — On November 17, 2012, Gavin (one of our three grandchildren) and Suzanne celebrated their birthdays together. Gavin turned one, and Suzanne turned. . . . Anyway, this video is for Suzanne, because, true to the words in the Frank Sinatra Song, “My Funny Valentine,” you’re my favorite work of art.
  • Valentine of the Cherubs (2012) (Video) — In November 2011 and January 2012, we welcomed two new members to the Slawter family, and I added two new cherubs to a fresco on the ceiling of my basement to commemorate their arrival.  This Valentine’s Day video is dedicated to these two new “kids on the block” — and to the rest of us, who want to remain kids for life.
  • Valentine for a Child (2010) (Video) — This is an earlier Valentine’s Day video celebrating our first grandchild.
  • Let’s Get Soaked (2010) (Video) — In 2010-2011, my son Andrew and I served as mentors in the iMovie Mentor Program sponsored by the City of Alexandria’s court system.  The purpose of the program was to divert at-risk pre-teen boys from joining gangs and teach them both (a) life skills and (b) how to film and edit movies. I was very proud that Andrew volunteered to take on the most challenging kid in the group, and he became a great role-model for all of the boys.  During the program, my 12-year-old mentee Will Alvarez and I decided to make a short video identifying water hazards for the community and explaining what parents and kids need to do in order to keep everyone safe.  This short film (about 3 minutes in length) had its “debut” along with the videos produced by the other mentor-mentee teams during the December 2010 Film Fest in Old Town Alexandria. Subsequently, Will and I were invited to show our film at a meeting of the Department of Parks & Recreation. The iMovie Mentor Program was a great activity.  Unfortunately, the City of Alexandria was unable to obtain funding for this highly effective crime-prevention program for the following year; so it was terminated.
  • The Saga of Stanwood Drive (1958/2010) (Video) — Sorry for the long-winded explanation below, but the happy story of how this 30-minute feature film of my father’s was restored is an interesting “saga” in and of itself (see The Saga of “the Saga” after the warning.)  If you would like to skip over this part, just click on the above link.

WARNING:  The film does depict kids shooting guns in their roles as cowboys (with sound effects); so parents might want to review the video beforehand.  The film also features realistic impressions of the outer space species known as the “Purple People-Eater,” which was discovered in the late 1950s but turned out to be relatively harmless.

The Saga of “the Saga.”  In the 1950s, my dad bought a hand-held 16-mm motion picture camera, as I’m sure many dads did for their families. Unlike most fathers, however, Dad seldom filmed family events, such as Christmases or birthdays.  Instead, he decided to make a parody of a typical 1950s “Western,” featuring my brother and me, and the kids who lived on our block — Stanwood Drive — as actors.  So, in between sports seasons (and usually right after Sunday afternoon broadcasts of football games), Dad would gather the kids in the neighborhood like some modern-day pied-piper, and we would all go on a shoot. Most of the scenes were filmed in Mar Vista, California (West L.A.), or at the nearby sand dunes of Marina Del Rey before the city built the large modern-day marina. Even Mom got into the act, making costumes for some of the boys and girls, and she was coaxed by Dad into wearing a gorilla outfit rented from the nearby MGM studios for one scene.  (I don’t think Mom every forgave Dad for that.)  Unfortunately, Dad only had rudimentary splicing and gluing machines for film editing; and the results were less than satisfactory.  After he passed away in 1975, I recovered the old 16mm reels of film — as the celluloid was beginning to deteriorate.  I tried every couple of years to find a motion picture restoration company for help.  No one would touch the film for fear of further damaging it.  Due to the 16mm film’s poor state, it took another three decades and a recommendation from a contact at the National Archives for me to finally find a firm in St. Louis in 2010, which had developed new technology for transferring damaged celluloid to digital formats at a reasonable cost. They did a great job; however, the digital products were themselves fragmented and confused.  So I purchased a video editing software program recommended by the St. Louis company and began the painstaking task of reconstructing Dad’s vision for his film. Since the original move was shot without any sound, I added music, sound effects, and captions to help the viewer follow the story line a little better.  Although I left many of the defects of the surviving 16mm film strips in the video version, I believe that this final version of “The Saga of Stanwood Drive” tracks closely with Dad’s original concept for his Western. After 50 years of waiting to see the film again, I’d have to admit that my first exposure to the world of film editing was a real “labor of love.”  Although it is not up to modern standards by any stretch of the imagination, I think that you and your children will get a kick out of viewing it.

Let me know if you have old film strips of your own and don’t exactly know what to do with them.  Maybe I can offer a suggestion or two.

Laughter is always the best medicine.  If your day isn’t going as expected, lift your spirits a bit by listening to brief audio clips of some infectious laughter, as two of the newest members of the Slawter clan discover fun things to do with simple objects.

Please celebrate the joy of each of these items with us.

– Bruce

2 Comments

2 thoughts on “Slawter Family Delights

  1. Kas

    Cool website.

  2. robertalanmcclellan1

    Bruce many thanks for shaing these pictures. Bob

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