Mr. Reynolds

Siri, What Is Camera Film?


Tell me you can still remember cameras before they became part of smartphones! In your misspent youth they were black boxes that shot twelve black-and-white pictures … assuming you could remove the film from the camera without exposing it before you got it to the drugstore for developing.

Then when you were into that era of conspicuous consumption, you had one of the fancy thingies with the exchangeable lenses and dials and switches and buttons … all the better to over or under-correct any of twenty different parameters. Are we having fun yet?

And come twenty years ago, you probably were the first on your block to get one of the digital cameras. So small and light and golly, gee, one entire megapixel to make sure you could see your beady little bright red eyes in high def.

Now it’s two thousand and whatever and don’t you just have the newest smartphone that can do everything. It takes pictures effortlessly and sends them by mistake wherever you didn’t mean to. It slices; it dices.

Well, tell me you also knew you could take a class in photography during your senior year at Fairview and wouldn’t we just have to measure your nose to see how badly you’re lying.

Photography was a discipline that fell roughy under the umbrella of industrial arts along with the potpourri of courses we typically referred to as “shop.” These classes were taught in rooms in the hallway under the gym. As both my older brother and sister had convinced me that trolls lived there, I did my best to avoid it.

To the best of my knowledge, the shop teachers did not have home rooms, for the first fifteen minutes each morning, so unless you actually took one of their classes, you wouldn’t get to know the likes of Messers. Allen, Stooksberry, Todd, Kling, Kuzma … and our very own R. Douglas Reynolds.

Mr. Reynolds, ’65 yearbook

 Doug & Janet Reynolds, 8/2/2017

OK, fine, we’ll call him Doug, since his current license plate is “DOUG 31.”

I’ve always found it interesting to explore exactly how someone comes to be a part of little world that was Fairview High School in the 1960s. It’s not like in the third grade he raised his hand when asked what kids wanted to be when they grew up and said, “a photography and printing teacher at Fairview.”

While Doug Reynolds is well shy of twenty years older that we are, like so many of the generation of our parents, he was born at home, rather than in a hospital. Tipp City was the scene of that particular crime and, like the license plate says, in 1931.

Ten years later, as the crow flies, the family bought a 103-acre farm in Harveysburg. Its location near Waynesville could well be considered part of a Jeopardy question. The senior Mr. Reynolds was not a farmer, but worked at Frigidaire, so it fell to the kids to milk the chickens and pull the plow. And speaking of falling, one day during his sophomore year at Massie Rural High School, he had the misfortune to fall off the barn

roof and sustain back injuries that he still copes with today. Now since I know you’re nosy, that nicely explains the hospital bed you can see in their dining room above.

While he did not say in so many words, I suspect that injury took farming off the table of possible careers. Being both nearby and affordable, Wilmington College was, for all practical purposes, a teaching college.

Yes, yes, I see you all smug and self-assured that you are starting to connect the dots and see how Doug became our Mr. Reynolds. You’re not as dumb as the sign taped to your back says you are.

But in this case, higher education came as part of a seven-year plan. After his first year, he took time off to save money for a car and tuition. And in- between his junior and senior years he managed to get drafted. Yeh, it was that whole Korea thing. But riddle me this … how is someone with a significant back problem, not 4F? I guess smarter people than you and I made those decisions.

Lest I forget, the best thing that ever happened to him was during his junior year when he started dating Janet Doster, the future Mrs. Reynolds. They’d known each other since their elementary school days. I’ll forego the cheap shot about him being a cradle robber since she was four years younger. Strangest thing … she still is!

When the army infantry was done with him, he made it home for his senior year … graduating in 1956 with a degree in industrial arts education. They married that summer, but since Janet was still in school working on her RN, Doug could waste no time becoming gainfully employed. For the next eight years at Randolph High School and what became Northmont via a consolidation of three smaller schools, he taught it all: wood, metal, electric, drafting, photography and printing.

In June of 1964 he was approached by DPS to fill a vacancy at Fairview High School. Maybe you’ve heard of it. While it meant uprooting tent and tea kettle, he was lured by better pay and better equipment with which to ply his craft. As we all know now, but wouldn’t have admitted it then, Fairview was a good place to be. Doug got along well with both Miss Folger and Mr. Feuer.

And he was amazed that she seemed to be able to run the place like it was second nature. Forty-plus years of OJT will do that, huh? So when Miss Folger came asking for favors, who was Doug to decline?

Remember all those pamphlets, instructional booklets and event programs that came your way all through the year? Me neither, but it was Doug Reynolds and his knowledge of offset printing that made them possible and since he didn’t have any direct involvement with clubs, athletics or special shindigs after school, he was available to knock out whatever was needed.

Those publications were clear and clean and professional in their presentation, unlike the Tower News which sometimes looked like a refugee from an explosion at an underground mimeograph camp. Did that sound harsh? Don’t take my word for it. Go up into your attic, dig out the box that says, “Mom & Dad … Ancient History” and compare the production qualities of what he did to anything he didn’t. It’s not pretty.

Another harsh reality was that the Fairview we knew did not last. By 1970, Doug was starting to see “beer cans in the hallway” one too many times.

Since the superintendent of Northmont hadn’t forgotten him, he accepted the open invitation to return. And there he spent another sixteen years teaching photography and printing, happily ever after.

Do the math and that comes out to an even thirty-year career. Can you say, pension?”

As we’ve learned along the way, none of our teachers were one dimensional. While Doug enjoyed teaching, or so he says, he also enjoyed the underlying crafts upon which the teaching was based. Take a look at some of the beautiful furniture in their home and you can see that the wood shop in the basement has been put to good use. And if that weren’t enough, with the help of Janet and their four kids, he managed to take all the photographs at over 700 weddings and such. Have no doubt that list of satisfied customers even includes some names we would recognize in our yearbooks.

Recent health issues, still courtesy of his ill-fated attempt to fly off the barn roof, now leave him less mobile than he’d wish and none the happier for it. The good news is that he’s still sharp as a tack.

Have no doubt that one day when your great-grand-demons are our age, there will be chatter in the nursing home about whether anyone remembers smartphones that were cameras and everything else.

That was before everyone had computer chips implanted under the skin at the base of their necks.

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