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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

All the Cats Have Come to Tea




This is Pete.  He adopted Mom over 5 years ago (a few months before she went into assisted living with dementia), having grown up in a neighbor's barn and becoming dissatisfied with his lifestyle.  He was not a nice cat - growly, hissy and spitty.  So, he had to live in the garage with Tigger, who had developed a bad habit of spraying furniture and walls (Mom has no sense of smell any longer, so she didn't smell it). We didn't think Pete would be house-broken, either. Well, Tigger was killed by a coyote in May and Pete had to live alone, which he didn't mind as long as Jay and I were in the house nearby. And if we kept Pepper the Brittany away from him.  Pepper ran Pete up an apple tree when he first arrived in May and Pete spent two days and nights in the rain there.  And apparently had an epiphany - he no longer growled, hissed or spit. In fact, he wanted to sit on our laps on the porch, as long as we kept the dog away. But, we moved up the hill into our new house in September and Pete was moved from the chilly garage into Mom's empty house (we have to keep some heat on so the pipes won't freeze).  We've been going down the hill twice a day to feed him, get the mail, deposit the garbage bag. Guess what?  He didn't spray in the house.  But it's become apparent that he's desperately lonely.  So, today, Jay brought him up the winding driveway through the pines and we put him in Jay's office and I spent half the day with him.  Our other two cats,




 Geordie and Harry, have always hated Pete and have discovered his presence.  So has the dog.


 This is going to take some time.


In the meantime, it was a lovely misty day. A view of the driveway and the valley below.


The bench on the hill behind the house from a second story window.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Living Photos of World War I





Back in the 1990s I picked up this photo at a library book sale.  A few years earlier I'd read an article about Arthur S. Mole and John D. Thomas, photographers, in Smithsonian magazine.  They visited U.S. army camps and posts, and navy and marine bases, posed the men and nurses by the thousands, and took iconic photos.  But this particular photo was not in the article. I wondered where it was taken.  The burgeoning Internet was no help at that point.




It wasn't until 2005, when I thought to search the Internet again, that I found an image of this photo. It was taken, probably in October, 1918, at Camp Travis, which was adjacent to Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas. I've enjoyed having it. But now, in my effort to downsize my possessions, I've listed it on eBay here .

For a long time, Mole's and Thomas' work was forgotten. Then it was rediscovered.


How did they do it?  Very carefully. They must have used graph paper.  Eventually, the outline was drawn on a large photo plate.


They arrived at the military post and spent days laying out tape on the parade field.



A very high scaffolding was erected (or perhaps they were atop a building and scaffolding).


The troops were marched out and placed in position. It must have taken hours to get it right. Megaphones were used. Many more bodies were placed farther back than up front. I believe that I read 18,000 were used for this Statue of Liberty photo, but that 16,000 of them composed the torch element. Perspective, perspective.


Perhaps my photo was one of the last taken. As the war drew to a close, the deadly Spanish influenza pandemic broke out overseas and then on American military posts and bases, before it reached out into the civilian sectors.  When World War II came along, it was a very different war.  There was no leisure time to arrange a large body of men and nurses for a patriotic photo before shipping them off overseas.