The package came a couple of months ago. It contained a free copy of Nancy Cain’s Video Days: And what we saw though the viewfinder. The author had signed the title page, “To Rhea with love. (Videofreex: the next generation)”
I tucked into the book eager to learn more about my father’s life before I existed, hoping to understand more now that he’s gone. I found something unexpected.
Video Days chronicles Nancy’s adventures beginning in the era of 30-pound cameras that democratized the art. It continues until 1996, a few years short of the one-handed Flip Cam era. During the social revolution that straddled the late ’60s and early ’70s, the young Nancy runs off to join the New York video-making collective known as the Videofreex. There, she works alongside my dad, Chuck Kennedy. They all live in a rambling former boarding house in Lanesville, N.Y.
Somewhere in this Freex section, I hit a passage that struck me as familiar:
Chuck was born in the Bronx and spent a large part of his youth in a Catholic orphanage. At a certain point, he was given the choice between reform school or the Army, so he joined up. In the Army, Chuck learned electronics and saw the world. Continue reading