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Friday, September 30, 2011

Mystery women and appliancephilia (1951 & 1958)

From Dissent the Blog

I've been sifting through a stash of old family photographic negatives that my brother found in his garage. Yesterday,  I came across at least two mystery photos. The photo above was taken by my dad, with his old Retina Kodak,  in Germany in 1951. Dad can't recall the woman or the location. He acknowledges that he must've taken it (it was on a roll of other photos that, clearly, he took). As you can see, the photo is blurred by the unsteady hand of the photographer, so it's hard to make out the young lady's features. (Click on graphics to enlarge.)
A close-up. She'd be about 78-years-old now.
Soon after this photo, my folks met on the boat sailing from Germany to Canada.
You know, the girl above looks a lot like Rebel Girl!
UPDATE: talked to my dad. He now says the gal "could have been one of my girlfriends."
Dad used to have lots of photos of old girlfriends. One day (in maybe 1952 or '53), mom gathered up all those photos and saved one picture of each girlfriend. She threw out the rest. Then she informed dad of her editing. "That's the way it's gonna be," she said. "Here's what's left." (Something like that.)
I also found this photo of the interior of a restaurant, one of two photos. The scene is northwestern Germany. Dad was on the Rhine just before he sailed for Canada in late 1951. He says he has no idea whatsoever who the waitress is and why he took this pic. Maybe an acquaintance of a friend?
This is a photo of my mom, circa 1958, likely in Kitimat, British Columbia.  But what is she doing? Just posing, I guess. She says she doesn't remember the photo or the occasion, but she acknowledges that she and dad did fool around a lot with his camera. That's for sure. Some of that stuff is pretty racy.
Sister Annie would have been about 4 and I would have been about 3 at the time of this photo.

This one's no mystery. At some point (in 1957 or 1958), while in Kitimat, my folks bought a new washer and  refrigerator—both by Westinghouse. Boy were they proud. Mom says she had dad take these pics so she could send them to her sister in Germany.
"My sister has never been the same," says mom, mysteriously.
I love the daffy "Mad Men" style of these appliance photos.

It's modern!
My folks' vision isn't what it used to be. They scrutinized this one for some time and only came up with distinctly wrongish theories about what's depicted. It looks to me like the Southwestern desert. I Googled "Desert View Trading Post" and discovered that that is the name of a place near the Grand Canyon. After a little looking I discovered that the Grand Canyon DVTP, which still exists, looks very much like the building depicted here. Voila.
My dad took the pic in 1958, when we traversed Route 66 from near Niagara Falls to LA.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

San Juan Capistrano, c. 1960-1

I have no memory of this particular visit, though I do vaguely remember Mission SJC in the early sixties. Note Manny's curious shirt. Not sure why I was wearing that kind of tie (or indeed any kind of tie).
That's not a swallow, is it?

It's been many years, I think, since the public has had access to this part of the old mission. That's Annie and me at the bottom of the photo, with a family friend.

Observe Manny's cigarette. He quit smoking soon after.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Manny and Edith, circa 1952

Playful posing? In Hamilton, Ontario
Matching outfits? Or taking turns wearing one outfit! I talked to Ma yesterday, and she tells me that the two of  'em really did buy matching outfits. Somehow, I couldn't ask, "Why?" It seems so unlike them to do that. Same with the posing: why? They've never been known to pose, except in some of these very early pics before Annie or I were born.
Manny took what I'm calling "glamor" shots of Edith too. These get pretty racy, though never raunchy. I guess they had some time on their hands. No money, nothing to do. So why not take "glamor" photos?
I really worked on this one. The original is below. Both Ma and Pa are always quick to point out that these kinds of photos weren't "nasty," as they sometimes put it. Nothing dirty. "Tasteful," they say.
Someone dumped something on this negative. I should soak it in water and see if this stuff dissolves.

Grandma's visit: Niagara Falls, 1953 (Oma is the passenger.)
I wonder how awkward their conversations were? Oma never showed affection for Edith. She was pretty much your classic "mother in law." Worse than that sometimes. But, I've been told more than once, when a conflict arose, Manny always took Edith's side. He was very clear about that. Very constant.
More posing, I suppose.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Roy's hearing (not the court kind)

From Dissent the Blog, December, 2005:

     THIS Dissent reporter is kinda deaf, owing to an incident that occurred maybe twenty-five years ago. I went out to the desert with my crazy little brother Ray, and when we got there, Ray pulled out this Saturday Night Special, and he said, "Let's shoot at somethin'." Well, I was always looking for opportunities to do things with my black sheep bro--estrangement was no stranger to him--so, despite my utter lack of interest in guns, I joined him in shootin' up a cactus or something. (In those days, nobody cared.)
     He gave me the little pistol and I shot it. Boy did my ears hurt. And they rang. I said, "Is it supposed to be so loud?" Ray laughed.
     Well, that was over twenty years ago, and my ears have never stopped ringing.
     Excuse me, I've gotta get the phone. --Well, no. That's just the ringing in my ears. Huh? Did you say something? Arrrrgh!

     So, a coupla days ago, a friend of mine among the ranks of the classified accosted me in the middle of the noisy & bustling Student Services Center and poured out some kinda story. Evidently, she (or he) doesn't know that I'm hearing challenged. Hear's what I heard:
     Blah blah blah blah STORAGE TRAILER. Bu-Blah blah blah blah EXPENSIVE EQUIPMENT. Blah bu blah bu blah blah TOYS PILED UP. Blah blah bu blah FELL DOWN ON TOP OF blah bu blah. Blah blah blah BROKEN. Blah ASSH*LE blah blah bu blah I DON'T CARE. Bu bu bu blah, blah blah EXPENSIVE! bu bu blah. Blah blah WE TOLD THAT GLENN blah blah. Blah WAYNE blah bu bu bu blah ASSH*LE!
     Then he (or she) spun around, again with great energy, and stalked off. I think I'm supposed to write about this. But I don't know what he (or she) said!

     Which reminds me. In grad school, I had a colleague named Fong or Fang. I like to think it was Fang, but I suppose it was Fong. He was from China, and his English wasn't good, and then there's my deafness. So, we were kinda friends, but I almost never understood a thing he said. But, judging by his body language and facial expressions, he was a great guy.
     Well, one day, I asked him what his dissertation was about. We were both in the philosophy doctoral program over there at UCI. And philosophers tend to focus on seriously abstract issues. I think my brother (my non-crazy brother), who got a doctorate in philosophy from UCLA, did his dissertation on the idea of a "property." Or was it a "thing"? Not sure. But that's the kind of abstract topic that philosophers write about.
     So I asked Fong what his thesis was about, and so, without hesitation, he asserted: "WHAT DUH FUK!"
     Huh? What was that again?
     "WHAT DUH FUK!"
     Ok, Ok. That sounds pretty good I guess.
     Well, judging by his expression, he still seemed like a nice guy, so I figured I just didn't understand how that particular phrase could be associated with a dissertation in philosophy. Whadoo I know? Could be, I guess.
     A few months later, I found a copy of a draft of Fong's dissertation on somebody's desk. I read it. It's title:
     I laughed pretty hard about that one, boy.
     Somebody get the goddam phone! --CW