"Kodak Files for Bankruptcy" That was the headline in today's paper. There was a time when the idea of Kodak going into bankruptcy was simply inconceivable. Kodak was the largest employer in Rochester. Generations of families worked at Kodak.
The word Kodak has been a part of my vocabulary from my earliest childhood. When I was about 7 years old, Santa Claus brought me a Brownie camera for Christmas. I was thrilled when I learned to put the spool of film in one end and wrap it around the spool at the other end, close it up and snap pictures.
Growing up in Pensacola, Florida, I never imagined that one day I would marry a Kodak employee and make Rochester, NY my home and raise my children here.
Sadly, today the whole world learned the news that many of us saw coming for a number of years now. Poor management decisions over the years brought Kodak to its downfall.
Kodak was started in George Eastman's mother's kitchen. He experimented with a new idea for making images and eventually opened the company. Where did the name "Kodak" come from? The letter K was the first letter of his mother's maiden name. He wanted a word for the company that was easily pronounced in all languages.
As the company grew, Eastman became a very wealthy man. His mansion on East Avenue is now a museum of photography and a popular tourist destination.
There is much of the Kodak legacy that will endure forever. There is the University of Rochester, the Eastman Theater that is home to the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Eastman School of Music, to name just a few institutions that benefited from George Eastman's benevolence.
I hope that Kodak will survive this bankruptcy and somehow return to a vibrant, strong company again.
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