Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pipe Dreams

This was shot in Provincetown during the summer of 1962. Bruce Lowther is on the left and the guy in the middle...well,the name is flitting about in my brain but I can't pin it down.He's the guy who turned me on to Edgeworth Sliced Pipe Tobacco, now sadly just history. He was also living in Boston that winter. It seemed like all the guys were smoking pipes then. You could smoke them in a restaurant or a movie theater. It was considered impolite to complain about it! So we smoked and enjoyed our pipes!

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Friday, October 30, 2009

The Toy Monkeys Are Returning!

Cute, huh? I found this little toy monkey ay a rummage sale at the Congregational Church a couple of blocks away. My ex went there and my kids attended the Sunday school. Reverand Chuck Eastman and I were close friends for years, until he died of a heart attack a few years ago in his mid-fifties. They tell me that I'm an honorary member of the congregation but about the only time I attend services is when one out of town friend or another is visiting.

Well, every few months they hold a rummage sale and sell hot dogs, coffee, and home made pastries. I always stop in, have a coffee and a "something", chat with old friends, and find something that I simply can't live without, so I buy it. An electric broom, a toaster, a gaudy neck tie from the 1940's. Monkette had been wanting to have a baby anyway. I bought her a baby toy monkey. More toy monkey adventures will follow!

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Gas Mask Bag? No, A Camera Bag!

Growing up in the forties and fifties every town had an Army/Navy store selling military surplus about anything-you-could-think-of at baergain basement prices. Canteens, mess kits, pup tents, and where it was legal, guns and ammunition. College kids carried their books in olive drab back packs. Girls used the shoulder bags for purses. Photographers had a choice of a dozen belt pouches and shoulder bags. Floppy brim "boonie caps" in "jungle cammo" kept the sun and rain off your head.

The original tan canvas Leica bag was only $17.50 back in the mid seventies but an olive drab almost-lookalike was $2.95. I guess all the U.S. surplus from WW-II, Korea, and Vietnam is gone now but other countries are still unloading. This one in olive drab raindrop camo is from the Deutsche Armee.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Peace Marches And Protesters

The sixties were an age of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. It was also a time when the younger generation was fed up with being used as canon fodder in a sensless unwinnable war in Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile the leaders of both sides were in a race to produce the biggest baddest bomb ever. Underground nuclear testing had replaced tests in the atmosphere but people still didn't like it. Protests and peace marches took place around the planet. This was photographed in the Boston Commons in the early sixties.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Paul Band, The Matchmaker

Paul Band had managed to survive World War II as a small boy with his mother. I aways suspected that he might be Jewish, from the stories he told about being cold, hungry, and wandering around on foot, staying with various friendly families. After the war he made it to the United States, settling in Boston. He and I became friends and shared an apartment for awhile. He was very active in the anti-war movement. He'd seen it first hand.

The 1960's wasa time when crossing the Atlantic by ship was having it's final harrah. It was still cheaper to spend three days on as boat than to fly. Stephanie had spent a year attending the University of Geneva in lieu of going through her senior year in high school in Bethesda, MD. It was some sort of advance placement program, taking an immersion course in the French language, and staying with her aunt and uncle. He was conected with the United Nations there. She met Paul on the ship.

Stephanie and Paul exchanged letters frequently. Long distance phone calls were expensive and Paul and I had no phone anyway. One day Paul suddenly decided to move to New York. A week or two later there was a knock on the door. Stephanie and one of her girlfriends had hitch hiked from the University of Michigan to Boston. I invited her in. We ate and chatted. Things "clicked". I didn't want to get drafted, and at the time married men were exempt. I asked her to marry me. A week later we were wed.

As for Paul, I might have seen him once or twice more when he visited Boston.


Monday, October 26, 2009

No Diving From Pier ~1962

The warm waters of the Gulf Stream get deflected offshore by Cape Cod, cross the Atlantic, and warm up the British Isles and coastal Europe. In the meantime places like Boston and Provincetown are at least ten degrees farenheit colder than the coast of southeast Massachusettes and points south. I grew up south of Cape Cod and thought the water was too cold even then. After all of these years living in South Florida? Provincetown water is COLD! But these kids were having fun, jumping in the water then clambering back up on the pier.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fresh Caught Bluefin Tuna ~1962

YES, I know! I'm behind in my writing. Sorry. I'll get caught up.

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

North Miami Advisory Board Members On Food Stamps?

My son Jonathan was visiting and playing the "good son", doing my taxes for the year. I'm in a position where I don't need a huge income. The boat and the truck are long ago paid for, as is my photo gear. No rent, no mortgage, no car payments. Real estate tax exemptions because I live in my house and I'm over 65.

"Hey Dad, do you realize that you qualify for food stamps?" He submitted the paperwork. A few days later I got this card in the mail! $55 a month in free food! Now maybe I can afford to live on the lousy twenty bucks I get most months from the City of North Miami for serving on the Board of Adjustment.

(I whited out the account number on the card.)

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Provincetown, A Fishing Tradition ~1962

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bruce Lowther In Provincetown ~ 1962

I first met Lowther (he preferred being called Lowther to Bruce) in the art room at the New Beford Public Library. In wintertime it was cheaper to spend my free days there than to heat my apartment, and their collection of books went well back into the nineteenth century, so there was always something interesting to look at. Lowther liked to draw. There were several of us who'd spend out afternoons there, staying warm, reading, chatting (softly), and smoking our pipes. It might seem strange now but fifty years ago you could smoke any damned place you pleased. If somebody complained you'd politely suggest that they move elsewhere in the room.

For a few years I stayed in sporadic touch with Lowther. Then I married Stephanie, moved from Boston back to New Bedford for a short while, then on to Miami! I haven't been to New Bedford or Boston in decades now. I've pretty much lost track of everyone. Some of them have no doubt died by now. That's what happens when you can't smoke a pipe indoors! Now all the pipe shops, the custom tobacco blenders, are gone. An era past! I have no idea what happened to Lowther or where he might be these days. He was about 18 when I shot this picture.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jane, My Lesbian Room Mate ~ 1962

When I struck up a conversation with this cute chick it never occurred to me that she might be a lesbian. That short hairstyle was very popular with the college girls at the time. We became friends. One night after she got into a bit of a spat with her girlfriend she was at my place visiting when suddenly the girlfriend showed up! After a bit of running around, jumping across beds, and a good amount of screaming, she escorted her girlfriend to the door. (see photos) They soon made up and were back together again.

Come wintertime and I was back in Boston. Jane and I stayed in touch and she knew where I lived on Norway Street. One extremely cold night about 11 PM I was making hot chocolate when there was a desperate knocking on my door! Jane wasn't really dressed for the weather and had just ridden her Vespa motor scooter the couple of miles from near Beacon Hill to my place in the South End.

My household furnishings were typical "beatnik pad", a few chairs, a couple of tables, and a double bed matress on the floor with pillows, sheets, and blankets. It was always cold in there, so after the hot chocolate we were soon under the covers. I wasn't dating anyone at the time, and it looked like Jane wasn't either. We decided to share the place for awhile, just room mates. We went and got her stuff, moving it into my apartment. We were living together for several months. She invited me to be her "date" at a big Christmas party. There must have been close to a hundred people there. She knew them all, and they all knew her. And I was the only straight guy there!

As we circulated around the party she acted like I was her trophy, bragging to the girls that I had I had something (chuckle, chuckle) that their girlfriends didn't have, and telling the guys "Ooooh, I bet you wished that he was YOURS!"

I don't know if it was the drinks, the smoke, or just being around all those chicks, but when we got home she announced that yes, she had occasionaly had sex with a guy, and that once in awhile it was nice to feel something alive inside of her. She easily convinced me to supply the "something alive". I let her put it inside. We did it just that one time. A week or two later she moved out. Some things just aren't meant to be.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Witch Of Provincetown - 1962

That wasn't her name but that's what we called her. Every day you'd see her walking up and down Commercial Street carrying that big straw purse. She looks to be at least late sixties with her jowels and throat beginning to sag a bit and her slightly hunched over posture. She ambled along with a slow shuffle. She had a good head of thick hair but the reddish auburn color no doubt came out of a bottle.

She was always the properly dressed lady. She wore short heels, the seams in her nylons were always perfectly straight, the skirt covered her knees by a few inches, and you never saw her without hat and gloves. She did wear a bit too much make-up though. Eye liner and eye shadow had yet to become fashionable but she was made up straight out of a nineteen thirties movie. Plucked and arched eyebrows, rouge on the cheeks of her powdered face, and bright red lipstick.

She never seemed to talk with anyone. She just went about her business, doing a bit of shopping before heading back to wherever it was that she lived. I never did find out where that was, but then I didn't much care anyway. Nor did I know if she was widowed, divorced, an old maid or a lesbian. Over the course of the summer I shot a few pictures of her and liked this the best.

I was shooting Kodak Plus-X in a Canon II-S rangefinder with a 35mm f/1.8 Canon lens.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Prescott Townsend ~ A Gay Old Man

Shortly after I met Rene Ricard in New Bedford he introduced me to Prescott Townsend one weekend when I was up in Boston. Prescott summered at his house in Provincetown and wintered in his Boston house. Both places were always full of people, straight and gay, young and old, and of every race. There were artists and writers and musicians. There was always a place to crash and always something to eat. A few times my new bride Stephanie and I crashed there on a weekend jaunt to P-town back in the sixties.

The photo dates from 1962. I'm going to cheat and lift the following from Wikipedia:

"Prescott Townsend, (June 24, 1894 - May 23, 1973), of Roxbury, Massachusetts was considered a Boston Bohemianism blue blood; the son of Kate Wendell Sherman and Edward Britton Townsend; his mother was a descendant of both Myles Standish and the great-granddaughter of the American founding father Roger Sherman.

"Prescott was arrested on January 29, 1943 for participating in an "unnatural and lascivious act," and was sentenced to an eighteen (18) months jail term in the Massachusetts House of Corrections on Deer Island, although no one in his family applied any pressure to shorten his jail time. The Mid-Town Journal headline of January 29, 1943 reported, "Beacon Hill 'Twilight' Man Member of Queer Love Cult Seduced Young Man" and one month later he was officially stricken from both the New York and Boston Social Registers.

"Townsend is believed to have been the first individual to organize a public conversation about homosexuality in the United States, and the first acknowledged homosexual to officially address the Massachusetts State legislature, where he urged the lawmakers "to legalize love."

"He later began the founder of the Boston chapter of the Mattachine Society; a non-profit organization for educating the public in all aspects of homosexuality, for assisting the individual gay in coping with problems related to his homosexuality, for effecting changes in social attitudes towards gays and for securing the repeal of laws discriminating against gays in housing, employment and assembly

"He opened the first art theater on Beacon Hill, Boston, Massachusetts, and was a founder of the Provincetown Playhouse, where the works of Eugene O'Neill where first performed.

"Townsend had for years been suffering from failing health brought on by Parkinson's Disease, and on 23 May 1973 his body was found in the Beacon Hill apartment of John Murray. Murray had been taking care of him during the final years of his life, and the police reported that "when we came in to take charge of the body, Mr. Townsend was found in a kneeling prayer position at his bedside." Of his entire family, only one sister, a nephew and a great nephew bothered to attend his memorial service at the Arlington Street Church."

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Chopper Flew But The Concept Didn't Fly

This was my first real shoot-for-money job back in 1961. A couple of guys who liked to fly came up with what they thought was a brilliant idea. They designed a helicopter that could carry a detachable cargo pod behind the cockpit. They thought it would be ideal for resupplying the crews of offshore drilling platforms and similar uses.

They got this prototype built but had yet to make any of the cargo pods. I think that they were supposed to be made of fiberglass. I drove out to New Bedford Airport and shot a couple of rolls of take-offs and landings. A month or two later they lost their financial backers and the pods never got built. I never shot any more photos for them. I did get paid for these.

These were shot with a Miranda D and a 58mm f/2 Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar lens on Plus-X film.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Is That Clark Kent Walking Towards The Phone Booth?

When I was a kid the ten cent comic book ruled! Our parents would have preferred that we read "real" books but at least we were reading. Dick Tracey was supposedly the greatest detective ever, and he had something that seemed really amazing back then: the two-way wrist radio! It was barely bigger than a wrist watch and he could talk to police headquarters with it! He didn't need to find a pay phone or walk around with a pocket full of change.

Another favorite comic book was about Superman, the Man of Steel. He wore a cape and he could fly. I'm sure that I'm wasn't the only kid who made himself a cape out of an old towel and wondered why he couldn't fly! Superman's day job was being a reporter at the Daily Planet newspaper. Whenever the situation requires Superman he'd duck into a nearby phone booth, and stripping off his suit and tie he'd reveal the Superman outfit underneath. The comic books never told us why his suits and ties never got stolen!

The photo was taken near the wharf in Provincetown in 1962. The kids were just hanging out. It was a great place to meet chicks!

Now we have cell phones the size of wrist radios, and phone booths are pretty much a thing of the past. Two more childhood heros displaced by modern technology. But we have new ways to meet chicks!

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Camping it up In Provincetown ~ 1962

I'd stopped off for a late night coffee and Danish at a place I went to frequently enough so that everybody knew me. Suddenly this couple noticed my camera and started camping it up, playing to the camera, and I fired off a few frames. I liked this one best of all. It was just so damned spontaneous! So full of love! I'm glad that I had the camera loaded and ready to go.

The guy on the right, the one wearing the apron, was the one who worked there.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Makin' Music On The Dunes At Race Point ~ 1962

Sleep way too late, buy a loaf of fresh Portuguese bread at the bakery, get a cup of coffee, and hang out in front of the town hall, I think it was, on Commercial Street, the main drag through Provincetown. When it got too hot it was time to head to the dunes at Race Point at the very tip of Cape Cod.

An ounce of pot was only fifteen bucks, Mexican weed, and not really very good by today's standards, but it was all we had and all we knew and at least the manila envelope (no baggies back then) contained a full weighed ounce. Actually a nickle bag was like as not an honest quarter of an ounce. I was shooting with a Canon II-S equipped with a 35mm f/1.8 Canon lens using bulk loaded Plus-X. Bulk loading freed up more money for getting high and picking up the college girls.

Bongos and conga drums supplied the rythm and noise to accompany the guitar, and the more we smoked the more the noise sounded like music to us. Times were good!

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

1962 Mystery Lady With Red Hair?

Actually, as I was looking through these contact sheets her name suddenly popped into my mind, first and last! She was a red headed college girl from New Jersey working as a waitress for the summer at an inn in Provincetown, MA. Both she and her room mate had come up to the Cape for the summer. I also remember her room mate's name. So if either one of you, Pat or Jeannie, should run across this blog I'd love it if you'd send me an email. We've got a lot of catching up to do!

This was shot on Tri-X with a Canon II-S and a 35mm f/1.8 Canon lens, composing through a Nikon 35mm bright-line viewfinder.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mike Romano Toking At Number 5 Conant Street, Provincetown, MA 1962

I met Mike in Boston and the plan was to spend the summer in Provincetown working (as little as possible) and mostly doing some heavy duty partying. We rented the larger (by a few square few maybe) of two tiny cabins behind the house. The landlady was what we'd now refer to as a Native Alaskan or some such but she said she was an Eskimo. She'd married a guy in the military who'd been stationed there. He was from Provincetown of Portuguese decent. They had two little boys.

Mike was one of those rare straight guys with a cosmetology license, and he always had scissors and comb handy. He said it was the best way he knew for meeting chicks. Meeting chicks in P-town in the summer was unavoidable! The town filled up with college girls getting summer jobs as waitresses and chambermaids at the the various restaurants, inns, and bed and breakfasts.

In most cases it was their first experience in really being out on their own. It wasn't like living in a dorm at all. In most cases they came from small midwestern towns with conservative a midwestern culture. Mother had warned them about boys and they knew about the risk of getting pregnant.

What Mother never told them was that there were some men, usually the drop-dead gorgeous ones, good dressers, polite and as well mannered as they were bright and well read, who at best would tell them that they had great taste in clothes or jewelry, but never asked them out on a date. After about a week of that Mike and I had a field day, girls merely for the asking!

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Where Is Shirley Now? In 1961 She Was Dancing!

Here are a couple of shots of Shirley at the dance studio. Again, these are scanned off the contact sheet. The Ricoh 4x4 camera was loaded with Tri-X, I'd just gotten interested in photography a couple of months earlier, and I had no ideas what I was doing!

I got this in an email from Kay, who was our our mutual friend back half a century ago.

"Hi Al,

As for Shirley Seigel, she's been MIA for a long time. I often go back for high school reunions, and she's been on the list that they post of "do you know where these people are?" for ages!"

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Aunt Ruth and Her Nephews Herb And Nat

Aunt Ruth is my mother and her older sister Lillian had three sons and a daughter. We lived in New Bedford but Lil was married to Harry Shapiro, a cigar smoking attorney, and they lived in Brockton, about thirty miles north of New Bedford. It was an hour's drive through two lane winding country roads that ran down the main street and through the center of every little village along the way. The interstates were still in the planning stage at that point, but every few weeks either we'd drive to Brockton or they'd drive to New Bedford.

That's my mom on the left with her typical 1961 permed hair chatting with her two older nephews. Nat, the tall one, had graduated from Clark University in Worcester, while Herb had made the family proud. He was attending Dartmouth, one of the prestigous top "Ivy League" schools. On rare occasions my cousins visit Miami with their wives and we'll get together for lunch or dinner.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Shirley Seigel ~ 1961

I spent part of 1961 at my grandmother's house in New Bedford, MA a couple of blocks away from where Shirley lived. Whenever I'd go over there to take her out her dad would get me involved in a major discussion on the international economy, capitalism vs. communism, and most of all, the economic theories of his idol, Adam Smith. I was probably the only teen in all of New England who got daily lessons on Smith's theories of a free market economy. He never did win me over, but I learned a lot about the politics of economics.

Shirley looks properly bored in this shot, in no particular hurry to finish dressing or put on her make-up, because her father was only perhaps half an hour into giving the evening's economics lecture to me. I must admit that it did give me some insight into the ways of the world, but I would have rather spent the time learning more about the ways of his daughter! Shirley is another one of those people that I haven't seen in about half a century. Maybe Kay knows where she is and what she's doing these days.

At this point I was shooting 127 film, probably Tri-X, in one of those cute little twin lens reflex cameras, a Ricoh 44. This crummy scan is made off of the contact sheet.

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Cousin Joel's First Smoke

1961 was the year Joel turned 11. I guess today I'd get thrown in jail for child abuse but my Aunt Anne, Joel's mother, was offering me cigarettes when I was about that age. She did tell me that Kent cigarettes were milder and I should switch from Marlboros. At the time both of my parents smoked unfiltered Lucky Strikes. Joel is probably lighting a Kent because Marlboros had "cork" colored filter tips. A few years later I did switch brands, to unfiltered Camels.

The photo was shot in our grandmother's living room on 127 Tri-X, probably with a Ricoh 44 twin lens reflex camera. We were most likely all dressed up to go to temple for the Jewish holidays.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Normandy Prep ~ Spring 1961

I'd dropped out of high school a couple of times. I guess I was bored. My mom thought that I needed the diploma to go to college and she enrolled me at Normandy Prep on Normandy Isle in Miami Beach. I did manage to stick it out there, and Roger Kalins, the son of my mom's best friend lived nearby. He got me interested in photography. Soon I was developing and printing my own photos. He was a couple of years older than I was and had a pair of Leica III-f bodies and a few lenses.

Normandy Prep needed somebody to shoot candid and posed shots around campus for the yearbook. I got the "job". This was a set up shot. After forty-eight years I don't remember their names. I think that I did a pretty good job for a rank beginner! This scan is off the contact sheet although I still have the negatives.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Getting Ready For The Photo Session ~ 1961

Last night I was surprised to an email from Karisa, otherwise known as Kay. She's five weeks younger than I am and we've known one another since toddlerhood when we were the only two kids on the block. Over the intervening sixty-five or so years we've managed to sort of stay in touch with one another. Recently I've been digging through my old files and ran across these photos of Kay. The scans are directly off the contact sheets.

In September 1961 I had just gotten my first 35mm single lens reflex camera, an Exakta VX with a 58mm f/2 Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar lens. It was loaded with Tri-X and I was staying at my grandmother's house in New Bedford, Mass. At the other end of the block my childhood playmate Kay lived. I needed a model and she was willing. Here are a few shots from the session.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Another Couple of Shots Of Kay

It's been years since we've met in person. It would be great to take some current pictures of her.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Yellow Box, A Sexy Lady, And Me

That good looking thirty-something woman is my mother back in 1957. We'd moved to Miami the previous October, and here we were staying for a few days at a motel in Marathon, in the Florida Keys. Even at that early stage of my photography career I think that I shot a pretty decent bathing beauty picture. The camera was the Ansco Memar that I'd bought with my Bar Mitzvah money about a year before.

The "Stand there, look at the camera, and smile!" shot was one my mother took of me. It was in front of the little apartment building where we lived, 1260 N.E. 136th Terrace, only about five or six blocks from where I live now. I have no idea what the "dress up" occassion was. Maybe the Jewish holidays?

Kodak film still said made by Eastman, and the big competition was Ansco which came in a red box. I'm not sure just why I used Kodak film. Better advertising perhaps? My camera was an Ansco Memar, made in Germany by Agfa

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Saturday, October 03, 2009

How I Gained All This Weight

Jan. 1972 found me photographing this barbeque and I'nm not exactly surewhere or why. I think tat it was at the Point East condo project at or shortly after the grand opening. It's a wonder that I didn't put on two hundred pounds back then. I was photographing breakfasts, brunches, dinners, barbeques, cocktail parties, and the food was plentiful and tasty. I must have a fast metabolism. I always look like I live in the middle of a famine!

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Friday, October 02, 2009

A First Time For Everything

January,1972 at the old North Miami Armory! It was try-outs for the annual Miss North Miami Pageant and it was my job to shoot pix of all the contestants. For several weeks every issue of The North Dade Journal would feature pictures of the girls, and I was forced to spend endless hours all over town in their company. Photography can make for a tough life!!!!

At the time the public schools here were just starting to be desegregated and I think that this was the first year where we had a colored contestant. It'd be a few more years before "black" became the word of choice. No, I don't recall her name.

Notice the ash tray on the table? The red check mark and red circle around the ash tray had nothing to do with the ash tray. It was the editor's way of saying "Print this one!"

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Good Ol' Charlie Zarzour

Charlie's actual city job was code enforcement officer, driving around town checking for code violations and making sure that people had pulled the required permits. He hobbled around on crutches but he didn't let that slow him down. He also was the guy who set up the table, the coffee pot, and the cake or cookies for the break during city council meetings or at Miss North Miami Pageant rehersals.

When my daughter Elena was little she'd "help" Charlie put out the plates, forks, napkins, etc. and then help him clean up afterwards. Her reward was mostly having a knee to sit on and some interesting stories to listen to, and he was always "Charlie, not "Mr. Zarzor".

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