Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Black and White Lens

Photographs in black and white appear somber, yet the image becomes dominant when color is no longer there to distract.  In the following photographs, I've included a bit of background information about each one.

Merritt Stampede 1936

A relative is in the first row of cowboys, second from the right, wearing a black outfit, and black hat on a black horse.  Notice the cars parked alongside the parade route.  A stampede is like a rodeo which includes western skills in races, roping and agility.  This was a time without television, so anything coming to town was exciting news.  Radio ruled.

Merritt, B.C., now sponsors Rodeo Fair Days, while larger cities such as Calgary, Alberta, hosts a much larger stampede event. 

Merritt Stampede Parade, 1936, Local cowboys, prop. DGH Collection


The Royal Hudson

A special steam train previously operated by BC Railway and used for tours of the coastline between Vancouver and Squamish, B.C.  This class of steam engine, built in 1938, earned the title of 'royal' for its never-failing service to the royals during their cross-country tour in 1939.

King George VI and the queen consort, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (the Queen Mother) arrived in Canada on May 17, 1939.  Their train was a silver and blue 2850 steam engine.  The King allowed the name to be called the 'Royal Hudson' and to display Royal Crowns on the running boards.

The Royal Hudson 2860, 1940s Vintage Steam Engine, by Green Eye


Fort Jefferson

In 1846, a coastal fortress is built in the Dry Tortugas, 70 miles from the Florida Keys.

The arches shown below used some of the total 16 million bricks that were carted by ship from Boston, Massachusettes, to the Dry Tortugas. Small windows were set in the brick walls, narrowed for sighting of guns, and to prevent entry of enemy cannonballs.  Dripping water from rain and constant humidity leaves deposits of sediment on the corridor floor.

Dry Tortugas, Ft. Jefferson arched corridor, by DG Hudson

Fast-forward to 2006, when we went to the Dry Tortugas on a catamaran adventure tour.  See Key West, a previous post with more details.  Fort Jefferson, the monument, is an interesting place with a history connected to Abe Lincoln and his assassination, one of the dark times in American history.  When we were there, reconstruction was underway for some storm damaged sections.



Do you like black and white photography?   OR do you prefer color?  Who doesn't like cowboys, trains or pirate islands?  Please share in the comments and thanks for stopping by.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Hudson  - Royal Hudson Trains

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Jefferson,_Florida - Fort Jefferson Monument

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_Tortugas_National_Park - The Dry Tortugas


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Country Girl comes to the City

Nellie had heard that jobs were plentiful in the big city of Vancouver.  When she graduated from the residential school, she wanted to see different places and meet different people.  Money was scarce on the reservation.  Even though her family and her siblings wanted her to stay, she bid them goodbye and left to make her way by herself.


Residential School graduate, prop. AHC


Her friendly smile and infinite sense of patience helped her charm the patrons at the Ovaltine Cafe, where she worked from the late 1930s to the early 1950s.  Hastings and Main was part of the downtown epicentre until the late forties.  There she met most of the local Vancouver Police officers who liked to stop by the cafe, and her future husband, a heavy duty mechanic from the prairies.


The Couple, in the late 1940s, prop. AHC

Two boys were born in the next few years and jobs opened on the Dew Line, the Distant Early Warning System that was being installed in the far north.  Her husband signed on.  During his early days of work at the site, the report indicated the plane had crashed within the Artic Circle.  He was believed dead.  Communications were practically nonexistent, especially in the cold winter months. There were no letters.

Devasted, Nellie moved back to her hometown and tried to look after her young children.  Life was hard, even with family nearby.  Enduring the cold winters, the resentment by others in the community, and the feeling of loss, she worked as a waitress to feed her kids.  The customers always liked Nellie.


Nellie, in hat, with friend at cafe , Vancouver,BC - AHC


Seven months later, E.W. was able to get a letter to Nellie and advised he was coming home.  He had not crashed, after all, but had been restricted from contact.  Back to Vancouver Nellie went, hiring on with the T. Eaton Company, where she worked until she retired at age 65.  Her two boys flourished in Vancouver, riding the streetcars and meeting mom for dinner after a movie on Saturdays.

Local gossip said that Nellie's dad helped catch one of those famous bank robbers in BC, but I can't say which one.  That would be another story.  Nellie's birthday is coming up later this month when she will be 97 years old.*  There's always a celebration at the care home, and her family visits with gifts.  A lovely lady who never gave up despite her setbacks.  She's one of those people who inspire me.

*Disclaimer: Names altered for privacy; based on true and fictitious facts. Photos, courtesy of family.


Do you have a relative or a friend like this, one you would like to celebrate?  If we don't tell some of their stories, who will?  Please share your thoughts on this in the comments.