Customer's Rosie Brownie Six-20 camera accent light with family picture.

It was love at first sight.

I felt my breath hitch and my heart skip a beat. My eyes were laser-focused on the object of my affection. White noise in my ears, my feet started moving without my brain telling them what to do. I walked tentatively over to the table and gently picked it up. No one else had wanted it. It sat there after family members picked through the valuables. It was destined to go into the Goodwill box. They left Brownie behind. It was mine.

My grandmother, my Oma, was a frugal woman. Born in Germany, she came over to the US and met my Opa. They had five children. They worked hard. Ever thrifty, she still made it a point to capture family events on her trusty Brownie camera. I gratefully took possession of it after Opa passed at 93. Oma passed many years earlier, but the family refused to break up the home while he was still alive.

Brownie sat in a box. Sure, I had it. But what did I do with it?

Rosie to the rescue.

Funny, my breath hitched, and the white noise returned when I spotted a unique booth set up on the outskirts of Buffalo’s Allentown Arts Fest a few years ago. My feet started walking and I might have even pushed people out of the way to get closer. My heart swelled. In that moment, I couldn’t even speak. I watched Blair and Jen talking to some people and patiently waited my turn. I must have babbled on and sounded like an idiot as I smiled and talked, wringing my hands, giddy with excitement.

I explained what I had and asked, taking a deep breath and mentally crossing my fingers, if they would retrofit my Brownie. “Sure, we could look at it!” I remember Blair saying, “But it would depend on the shape it’s in.” At that moment, I wanted to drive home and bring it right back. Instead, I took a business card and said I would follow up with pictures.

I drove out to the Westfield Market one Saturday, where Blair and Jen had a booth set up. I handed over my Brownie as Blair looked at it and nodded. Yes! He would do it. I also brought a few other cameras I had collected over the years (yes, I might have a problem) and he agreed to retrofit two of mine. I was on cloud nine. I couldn’t wait until they were finished.

Fast forward a few weeks and I found myself on the road again to the quaint village of Westfield. Giddy with anticipation, I bounced in my seat, wishing the miles away. Jen and Blair were hosting an open house in their beautiful home and I had scored an invite. It was finally time for the big reveal. I reverently picked up my Oma’s camera light. I had no words. My heart swelled.

It was love at first light.

Lori Kunzelman
North Tonawanda, NY
Lori Kunzelman's space with her Rosie Brownie camera light and projector lamp on a desk.
Lori Kunzelman's family photo that includes her grandmother.