Saturday, February 13, 2010
Sepia Saturday 2/13/10 – or Dad’s Photos Continued
Howdy, folks, & welcome to Sepia Saturday, Robert Frost’s Banjo annex. I’ve been checking out the old photos on some favorite blogs over the past few Saturdays & feeling a little chagrined that I’d used up my store of Dad’s Photos—photographs my father took in the 1930s & very early 1940s—before this event hit blogland.
But as is so often the case, it turned out I was mistaken—there are more photos! & in fact it sounds like I may have access to even more during my visit to my mom next month. There’s a wrinkle, tho—typically, the Sepia Saturday posts are portraits or wedding pictures or group shots—they have recognizable people in them. Not so here—but the photos do tell a story.
In 1939 my dad took an excursion from his Vermont digs to New York City for the World’s Fair. Turns out he asked my mom to accompany him, but for whatever reason (she wasn’t clear on this when she told the story), she declined. It is true that they weren’t married until late in 1941—less than a month before Pearl Harbor Day.
So, where’s the story? My dad has passed on, so I can’t get the story of his time in New York City from him or from any of his friends or from his two brothers. They were all part of a generation that’s disappearing. This is the story: while I can’t tell you the details of his trip—I can only show you a handful of images that he found interesting enough to photograph—I can say that these photos, along with the many I posted in the Dad’s Photos series have given me some insight into a man who was very private & not forthcoming about his autobiography. But in these photos I’ve come to see a glimpse of an adventurous young man, & a young man who loved a good time—perhaps a bit more than was good for him, but still—he was only 25 when he took these shots, not even half my current age: very much different than the man I knew as a small child when he was well into his 40s.
Things happened: a World War, in which he served as a non-combatant in the Seabees, but still in some very harrowing conditions—the Seabees would come onto islands after the battles to build airfields & other infrastructure, & their camps were subject to air raids. He lost his best friend at an early age—because there were too many “good times” for that man. & I think, in retrospect, he wasn’t comfortable with children: not surprising, since he grew up in an atmosphere of poverty & neglect.
But here’s a young man from quaint early 20th century Bellows Falls, VT in the big city—New York, NY—for a World’s Fair. I can imagine the excitement, because at his best, well into his last years, my father was capable of a sort of delightful childi-like excitement that mostly counter-balanced the temper & the withdrawal. Today's three photos show me his excitement at Times Square.
I suppose in some sense any photograph is somehow a portrait of the photographer. I can see my dad in these.