Last P.O. Clock Hit: 6-27-72; 23 Years, 10 Months, 14 Days
My latest eBay purchase consists of nearly 70 Polaroids taken from 1972 to 1981. The collection includes peel-apart photos and integral film. (Peel-apart film describes Polaroid’s first type of film that involved taking a photograph, pulling the film from the camera, waiting several minutes, and then peeling away the print from the negative. Integral film, on the other hand, is the film that ejects from the camera and develops in the open. There is not peeling away a negative from the print.) This is my first collection of found Polaroids that contains both types of Polaroid films and spans nearly 10 years. More importantly, the album of instant photos included a carefully laminated obituary. This clue, along with one more, helped me to identify a number of the people in the Polaroids.
The second clue came from a car’s license plate. Dated 1980, the Polaroid shows a compact car with a New Jersey license plate that reads WA2PRY. Having a grandfather who was an Amateur Radio Operator (W4BQN), I recognized the combination of letters and number as an Amateur Radio Operator’s call sign. A quick internet search of the call sign turned up the name of Jesse Pagan and included a link to the Southern Counties Amateur Radio Association. On their web site is a photograph (dated 2011) of a man receiving a card for his 90th birthday. His name is Jesse Pagan. Without a doubt this was the same person from 40 years ago clocking out on his last day of work. The obituary further confirmed Jesse’s identity. However, it was Jesse’s father’s obituary that arrived along with the photo album. Jesse, along with a brother and other family members, are named in the carefully preserved obituary.
The title for this collection comes from my favorite Polaroid in particular. It’s of a smiling Jesse standing at a time clock with the date 6-27-72 neatly written along the picture’s white boarder. Written on the back of the Polaroid is, “Last P.O. Clock Hit 6-27-72 23 Years, 10 Months, 14 Days. The photographs before and after this particular one show friends and family in and around home throughout the years and holidays; namely, Christmas. It’s a lot of what a happily retired individual would do, spend it with friends and family.
Curious to see if I could locate Jesse Pagan, I searched the internet and to my surprise he has a FaceBook page. Although over 90 years of age, his photograph was the same person from the Polaroids I held in my hands. I immediately sent Jesse a message in the hopes that I might hear something back, but sadly I have not. His last posts were from 2016. Looking through his Friends list, I was able to locate who I believed to be a relative. On Mother’s Day, I contacted the individual and to my amazement I discovered that I had located a grandchild. In fact, the young boy in these Polaroids opening Christmas and birthday presents is the same person, now an adult!
I can finally say that I’ve been able to reunite a collection of Found Polaroids with the people in the pictures. Jesse’s grandson and I have been in contact with one another and my goal (if he wants them) is to send him these heart warming and wonderful instant photos. Such memories are priceless!