More from the photo archive

This time, from my Dad’s experiences at the Sebago School and Camp Ironwood, run by Matt and Margaret Werner in St. Louis (school) and Harrison, ME (Ironwood).

From the camp — I just loved these first two:

{Image: black and white photo of a person diving off of a dock into a lake.  The diver's image is reflected in the lake.}

{Image: black and white photo of a person diving into the water, but all we see is the person's legs, perfectly straight, angled from their toes at the center of the photo to the bottom right where their torso disappears off the edge of the photo. To the left are several canoes, and in the background, a boat.}

{Image:  black and white photo, taken from above looking straight down on two people sitting by the side of a stone building.  The person on the right is wearing saddle shoes and has their feet extended in front of them, with a plate of food on their lap.  The person on the left is wearing a sleeveless undershirt and holding a drink  (coffee?) in his left hand.  The photographer's feet on the edge of the building above are visible in the foreground.}

The next few are from a driving trip the school/camp took through the western United States:

{Image:  1940s wood-paneled station wagon parked at the side of the road.  Five teen agers lean against it, one of whom is looking through a lens of some sort; the others facing the camera.}

{Image:  black & white photo of Garden of the Gods, which is a series of rock formations in a high-desert landscape.  A man is in the foreground looking at the scenery.}

{Image: black & white photo of a narrow alley with brick buildings on either side and passageways overhead.}

{Image:  Black & white photo of a small log church with a cross on top.}

{Image:  black and white photo of a rectangular window with a cross silhouetted against the middle.}

{Image: black & white photo of a large bear crossing a road.}

{Image: black & white photo of a large bear resting by the side of a wooded road.}

To Russia With Love

I’ve been gradually scanning my father’s photos, posting them to Flickr, and encouraging my family — especially my mother — to comment so as to identify names and places that are unfamiliar to me.  I recently scanned the photos from my parents’ travels during the summer of 1959, including a trip to the Soviet Union.

I posted the photos and invited my mother to tag and comment . . . and ended up with mentions on a number of Russian websites, a couple of Russian commenters on Flickr offering their thoughts on the photos, and over 50,000 views since the photos went up a week ago.

With the help of Google Translate and my mother, who speaks Russian, I’ve been learning more about the photos and commenters.

For example, here is a Live Journal page by “Finnish Passenger

{Snip from LiveJournal page in Russian. Translated below.}

Google translates this as:

In 1959, the American Peter Robertson on a tourist visa to visit the Soviet Union. Under the cut I have selected 48 photographs from his archive. Photos from the trip are interesting in that a Soviet citizen would not do at all these pictures, because ordinary is happening, and in ofitsilnyh magazines and newspapers printed entirely different subjects.

Yeah, the translation is a bit rough.

Another Russian blogger turned the photos into a guessing game and then provided answers (in addition to the answers in the comments).

My favorite of the bunch is this photo and some of the commentary around it:

{Black and white photo of a cobblestone street and sidewalk.  In the foreground is a very small three-wheeled vehicle, suitable for at most one person, open on top and looking almost home-made out of pieces of welded steel.  In the background are pedestrians and in the far background, indistinct buildings.}

I had no idea what this was.  A Flickr commenter, Leonid Paulov, explained,

Machine for the disabled. When I was 8 years old living in Kazakhstan. Roads there was not. After the rain this car off the road. The driver of a war veteran with Germany very loudly berated those who made this car

Remember, this is Google Translate talking, so it’s not that everyone in Russia actually sounds like Boris and Natasha.  Mom did a better job with the translation:

It’s a machine for disabled people. When I was 8 years old, I lived in Kazakstan. There were no roads for automobiles. After it rained, this machine could go out on the shoulder. A bus driver who participated in the war with Germany loudly berated those who made this automobile.

I asked:

So this is car that would be used by a disabled person? Like a wheelchair with an engine?

Mr. Paulov responded,

Yes, this is the first vehicle for persons with disabilities in the Soviet Union manufactured 60 years ago.

Still not clear on the role of the veteran/bus driver.  Here’s another Russian site commenting on the same photo.

Gazeta in Russian

The last paragraph reads,

In this collection you will actually find a lot of interesting details. For example, a rare three-wheeled wheelchair in front of the historic journey to Moscow.

There were a number of photos of women working on roads or in the fields.  One commenter noted  —  tersely but (to me) poignantly — that, because of the war, there was a dearth of men:

{Image snipped from a blog showing a black and white photograph of women working on a road and Cyrillic (Russian) letters in a caption above the photo.  The image also includes an icon representing the commenter, who looks like a buff comic book hero.}

(Pretty buff commenter, though, eh?)

A theater showing “War and Peace.”

{Black and white photograph of people walking in front of a building with a large banner in Russian.}

Reading the newspaper:

{Black and white photo of men gathered in front of a newspaper that is posted on the exterior wall of a building.}

The photo below is apparently a tank of something called kvass, which my mother described as a drink made from fermented rye bread.  Truly a testament to the ingenuity that can arise from the combination of great deprivation and great thirst.

{Black and white photo of an old time pick up truck towing a small tank of liquid, parked in front of a building.}

The sign says “place for feeding pigeons.”  And that’s Mom — in her travel gear — a far cry from the jeans and hiking shoes I wore for my post-college travels.

PCR-1444

The requisite giant portrait of Khruschev.

{Black and white photo of a building with a giant portrait of Nikita Khruschev leaning against the columns in the front of the building.  The portrait is over twice the height of a man standing near it.}

and the people tasked with schlepping the giant portrait:

{Black and white photo of a giant portrait being carried horizontally by five women in scarves.}

More to come in a future post — by me or perhaps a guest post by Mom!

Dad’s Birthday

Thinking of my Dad on what would have been his 78th birthday.  Image:  Black and white photo from about 1962 of man in his 20s  in a white shirt and dark pants who has tossed a toddler into the air about two feet over his head.  His hands reach up to her, while her hands are at her mouth giggling.

You always lifted me up!  Miss you every day.

In honor of father’s day

I drove from Boston to Portland (almost) without directions, got lost, swore, got back on Rte 1A, and applied suntan lotion by pouring it on the dashboard and then daubing it on my face.

Also so glad I get to spend the weekend with his brother (my uncle) and his family — for my awesome cousin’s wedding shower.  He’d be so proud, Carey!!

AFR001

Miss you, Dad!

Dad’s photo archive: a trip to Gaspé, Quebec

My Dad attended a summer camp — Camp Ironwood — in Harrison, Maine, which apparently took  a driving trip to Gaspé, Quebec

Harrison to Gaspe map

one summer in the (I’m guessing) 1940s.  Here are some of his photos.  Text is from his penciled comments on the back of each.

Dog cart:

PCR-188 dog cart in Gaspe, PQ

Percé Rock:

PCR-197 Perce Rock, Gaspe PQ

PCR-198 Perce Rock, Gaspe PQ

Fishing village:

PCR-202 fishing village

Fishing harbor drying nets:

PCR-219 fishing harbor nets drying

Cartful of dried cod:

PCR-220 cartful of dried cod outside Perce

And of course, Dad himself:

PCR-182