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My Kodak Moment
Diane Shiffman (Cal Garufo/Calart Studios)

Diane Shiffman (Cal Garufo/Calart Studios)

My Kodak moment actually belongs to my big sister, Diane. In 1958, she was 2 years old. Everyone was talking about “a new Kodak color film that wasn’t too expensive to use,” the way my mother tells the story. She dressed Diane in her Sunday best — white gloves included — and they went downtown to Calart Studio in East Boston, where Cal Garufo took her “Direct Color” portrait.

My parents loved the results. Garufo did too, asking them for permission to enter it in a local contest. He paid them $1 for the rights, which they signed away without second’s thought.

The photo won that contest, and then a national one as well.

Soon, Diane’s picture popped up in photo frames and on packages of Kodak film. My dad says he even saw it rotating around in New York’s Grand Central Station.

Over the years, the family joked that the photo could have paid for Diane’s college education. If only…

It’s been a half a century since that frame of Kodak film was exposed. Diane is all grown up, with an adult daughter of her own. Kodak has just filed for bankruptcy. And the picture, now faded, hangs in my father’s room in his assisted living facility.

The “Direct Color” may have lost some of its luster, but the memories burn as bright as the second that the shutter clicked.

-Karen Shiffman

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