Friday, October 23, 2009

Found Photo Trilogy. Three. Norge Men.

Of all my found photos, this one is my favorite. I bought it for 75 cents at a garage sale up in Northern California. A very friendly older woman was selling it. Her friend had died and left boxes of things the family didn't want. "You can cut open the back and take that picture right out," she said. I stood staring at the group of men in the photo. The inscription in the corner read "Chicago 1957."

"Any idea who they are?" I asked. She narrowed her eyes and looked, "Oh, yes. Her husband was a Norge Man. Those are Norge Men."

"Norge men?" I asked. "Yeah, you know, the refrigerators. All those guys sold refrigerators." She looked at the picture again. "Oh yeah. Those are Norge men. Her husband used to go to a lot of their conventions."

Needless to say, I bought the picture and the Norge men have been a part of my home decor for about 25 years now. It's a small picture, but when you look closely at it you see all the details. The room they were meeting in might have been in a basement. The AV equipment is draped with tablecloths; there are boxes of slides and a pack of cigarettes on the front table.

Mostly, though, I like looking at the men and seeing their personalities come through. You can tell the older, serious types are in for the long run with Norge. You can see the ones who you can tell are meant for other lines of work. The playboy, the goofy one, the grandfather, the socially awkward--they are all there.

For instance in this section of the picture we have in the front row we have

1. Son-in-law of someone in the business.
2. The guy everyone likes--for the first five minutes and then he becomes a little overbearing.
3. The playboy. He is destined for greater things.
4. They called him names in high school. Never quite fit in. Still doesn't. The only one with bow tie and two-toned shoes.
5. Older gentleman thinks these meetings should be run with seriousness and gravity.
6. Another older gentleman who realizes these are just refrigerator sales conventions and thinks the guy beside him should lighten up. Life is short. Wants to go home and fish.

What is it about group photos? How many have you been in? We stand, should-to-shoulder with others that most of the time, we know only for very short periods of time. Class pictures, convention pictures, family reunions. There is a certain power in the group shot.

And so these Norge men took this shot in a hotel in Chicago in 1957. They turned their chairs; they smiled. They heard the photographer say, "On the count of three!"


Retail price--$395.95!


Brian said...

We had a Norge when I was growing up. It never needed repair or broke down until the very end, I don't know, twenty years or so? My favorite thing about it was the joy it provided when in need of defrosting -- I would fill the kitchen sink with water, then pry off huge icebergs and let them float about in my very own North Atlantic.

Happy Homemaker said...

Never heard of the Norge. Thanks for enlightening me yet again!

Bossy Betty said...

HH--I am here for you!

Brian--Love it! I adored the defrosting too!