The school change posed problems for Kinley. Although she was a good reader, the new kids were just automatically put in the lowest reading group. It was not called the “lowest group,”. But kids know. Kids she had been playing with now would have nothing to do with her. Barbara told the teacher about her reading ability,(she didn't miss a single spelling word the year before) and she was moved up. Problem solved.
The move was good for Corey. He had been the leader in a group of very rowdy boys in McCrory. When we got to Arkadelphia, Lon Vining was in his class. His father, Bill, was the legendary basketball coach at OBU. When Corey found out Lon had the keys to the OBU Gym, they became friends Quickly. Lon was a strong Christian, and became a very good influence on Corey. He had an image to uphold at McCrory, and may have had a hard time pulling out of that.
Barbara always did all the portraits. I did custom framing, some of the photography calling for lesser skill, and all the darkroom, which was a pretty big job itself before digital came along. Barbara quickly taught me the darkroom skills she had learned from the old man while fighting him off, and she never went back into the darkroom again. She had gotten enough darkroom work in, that one day, to last a lifetime.
Barbara did most of the early weddings alone, carrying a very big, heavy case. That finally ruined her elbows, and we became a team. I had the mechanics down by then, and I shot the pictures. Barbara posed the people, ran the show, and hob knobbed with all the people. I was always amazed that, although every person there saw who was taking the pictures, she always got all the credit. “Oh, Barbara, the pictures you made were so wonderful!” That was OK with me. As long as I only had to worry about the camera, I was happy. I was never a people person anyway. We never lost a wedding, but I once made a technical mistake just before the reception started, and lost it all. The family was nice about it, thank goodness, and the couple didn't stay married long.
Barb developed an uncanny sense of which marriages would not last, and we always put a rush order on those pictures. She was almost always right. The major factor was how the bride treated her mother on the wedding day, and how the couple reacted to each other that day. Selfish, self centered people don't stay married.
We were a high volume, fairly priced outfit. We once did four weddings in 24 hours. Friday night, 10, 2 and 6 on Saturday. And, we photographed 6 baseball teams in between.
Running weddings close together like that got me into trouble once. We were finishing up a 2 o'clock wedding, and when the bride and groom came out of the church, some of his buddies “kidnapped” the groom. I realized, that little move was going to delay the “couple driving away shots”, and make us late for the next wedding. Well, I guess I musta' made a face about that, because the bride's mom saw it. The next day, we had just mailed the film off when she called, complaining about how bad the pictures were going to be. She just kept on and on in that vein, and everything else she could think of, and the net result of that was that I banned her from our business for life. We finally met at a different location to exchange pictures and final payment, then we parted forever. At least, I hope so. So far so good.
Barbara learned early on, it was not a good idea for me to be dealing with our touchy customers. Once, a very old lady kept instructing me about how her pictures we made of her should show absolutely no wrinkles, and the net result of her instructions were that she was to look 25 again. I just had to tell her, “Well, we can't work miracles!” Barbara kicked me behind the counter good about that. But even Barbara, the master of dealing with touchy customers, had her limits.
Once, in the middle of high school senior season, Barbara did a wonderful job of making an average girl look beautiful. When the girl came to view the pictures, she said, as many young girls do in that situation, “Oh, I just know they will be horrible! I dread looking at them!”
Well, Barbara had seen that attitude one time too many lately. That comment was made as she was opening the folder to show her, but she just folded it back up, put it away. The girl was too shook up by that to speak. “Well, if they're that bad, there's just no need of me showing them to you,” Barbara said. The girl had to get real nice before Barbara hauled them back out.