14 March 2013

New Move/Old Photos


by Eve Fisher

As many of you are aware, we moved the end of February, from a big two-story house with a two car garage and 1000 square foot studio, where we had lived for 22 years, to a one-bedroom apartment in the former kindergarten room of an old school, with a classroom for a studio for my husband and the principal's office now my office.  The reasons why we moved are multiple, including freedom from maintenance and lawn care and the freedom to travel, snowbird, etc.  (Speaking of snowbirding, I'd love to pick anyone's brains out there about how you actually go about finding an apartment to rent for a couple of months every year!) 

The living room; lots of light.
The movers were four strapping young men who would have packed the dustbunnies if we didn't stop them, and who could move anything, anything at all, without seemingly breaking a sweat.  One of them spotted the book I wrote for Guideposts - "The Best is Yet to Be" - and asked if that Eve Fisher was me.  I said yes, and he said "I never met an author live and in person before."  So I gave him a copy.  They worked, they ran, they hustled, they rarely stopped, and they were great.  If we could only have kept them to unpack, it would have been REALLY great. 

But we love the new place.  The apartment is pretty much set up, and we got all the books up in my office, as you can see.  It took a lot of hard work, and a trip to the chiropractor, and there are still odds and ends that need to be done, but we are in, and functioning again, except that Allan's computer died and is in the computer hospital even as we speak.  (More on that later.)

My office, almost fully stocked.
Meanwhile, twenty-two years in the same place - which is longer than I have ever lived anywhere in my entire life - means that you accumulate all kinds of crap.  They range from the understandable (you can never have too many end tables or lamps), to the puzzling (who packed every single coat hanger, including that knot of them from the back closet that I was always meaning to throw out?), to the downright unbelievable (where did that strange Aztec ceramic head come from, anyway?  Answer - I made it, years ago, but it took me a while to remember.  And don't ask me why I did.)  I keep finding stuff to throw out.  Or put on Craig'slist, or E-bay, or SOMEWHERE.

And I find things that I haven't looked at for years.  Including a photograph album full of my father's photos from World War II.   (I'd share some of my father's photos with you, but Allan's computer that died had the scanner.)

My father served in Dutch New Guinea.  There are lots of photos of him posing athletically - he looked like a young Greek Burt Lancaster in those days - either in uniform or in bathing suit or in a towel.  There are lots of photographs of trees and ocean and sand, which, to be honest, since these are all in black and white and are about 2" by 4" max, aren't nearly as beautiful as the actual scenery must have been.  He wrote notes on the back of almost all of them to my mother, ranging from "village" to "always yours, heart and mind, body and soul, your ever-loving Charlie." 

A Google photo, but you get the idea
Since he was a guy, there are also three pages of photographs of native women, ranging from a young, deeply sun-burnt Tondelayo type, who looks REALLY good leaning against a tree wearing nothing but a grass skirt, to two toothless old women holding pigs, with their breasts literally sagging down to their waist.  (I have no idea what my mother thought receiving these pictures.  I also suppose it's true what my godchild's husband said - "we don't really care what they look like, as long as they're showing.")  There's also one photo of him and two buddies, stark naked, taking a bath out of a basin.  Of course all you really see is their white butts, but it was still pretty racy for the 1940's!  And, on the backs of all of them, little notes which in their day were undoubtedly hilarious and today would be considered fairly inappropriate. 

There were also some photos of a Japanese soldier, alone, and also with what apparently is his graduating class from the military academy.  These old, very faded photographs were undoubtedly taken from a dead Japanese soldier, although I doubt if my father killed him.  (My father worked for the catering corps, and while he saw some action, because there was action all over New Guinea at the time, I always got the impression that he was never on the front line as a soldier.)  All that's written on the back of these is a laconic statement, such as "Japanese soldier."  But it makes me wonder who he was; how old he was; if his family ever found out if and where he died... 

Old memories, old wars, old times, new place.

6 comments:

Dixon Hill said...

Eve, there are real estate offices all over The Valley of the Sun, where I live, which specialize in just the sort of property you’re describing. If a google search doesn’t net you a passel of them, with winter properties in the area of the country that you desire, let me know and I’ll see what I can find out on this end.

Your new residence is simply stunning. That living room is GORGEOUS. Love the window bank. Even the overhead strip lighting works to great effect. Same for your office. A FULL WALL of bookcases! Color me jealous. And, if your husband ever sends you pictures of him posing with a topless native girl, I strongly recommend that you call him into the Principal’s Office! lol

I had no idea you’d written something for Guideposts. That’s where I sold my first magazine piece “The Sergeant’s Boots” put out sometime in July of 2001 I think.

Enjoy your new digs!
--Dix

Fran Rizer said...

Eve, congratulations on what looks like a wonderful, successful move to a wonderful place! I think there's a short story in how a move brings back memories not only of events in that place but through the items we've had for years but haven't seen lately. Could be a nostalgic piece like the great pictures you described of your dad or could be a mystery triggered by a photo found in packing that no one in the family can identify.

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Eve, when my Aunt Anna died, I found photos of my dad as a young man (maybe around the time of World War I--he was in the Quartermasters Corps and wasn't sent anywhere) clowning around with friends in various costumes and poses, and it included a couple of bare-butt shots. Very disconcerting, but funny too. I'm in the process of scanning a lot of these old photos, including my grandmother's wedding photo (1898), into the computer, so I will be able to pass them along to my granddaughters in due course.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to your godchild's husband, it does matter, but I suppose it's a matter of taste.

Leigh Lundin said...

I'm envious. I looked at buying an old schoolhouse that had been turned into cheap apartments, but what I really wanted was an Indiana gothic wonder in the middle of nowhere. Seriously, brick towers and turrets surrounded by pastures and fields. It would probably have taken a fortune to restore.

Eve Fisher said...

Sorry I didn't get back sooner, but I had to run to Sioux Falls - it is a great place, but if I could find the Gothic wonder in a cornfield, I'd grab it, too. I have a thing for turrets.
Re the bare butt shots - it's apparently something soldiers do in every age. I know a lot of guys who came back with such shots from Vietnam, and now we have proof from WW2 and WW1 - no better way to say foolin' around and having fun, I guess.
I agree with Anonymous, it does matter, but I wasn't going to argue with him.
Dixon, I'll be in touch about pulling off a winter vacation once I get through some catching up on my paperwork!
Thanks all! And if you're ever heading to South Dakota, let me know...