Perhaps these people were waiting for their weekly challenge, too.
This is another photo from my father’s war album. It would have been taken in the winter of 1941. I researched the acronym he wrote next to Don Gray; AACS probably means Army Airways Communications System personnel.
Looks like a cold place to be waiting for something to happen…
Today I’ve been to three places, my small camera tucked in my hand, looking for the right stranger, someone doing something I wanted to remember. I discovered an underground bookshop of uncatalogued books, and in a side nook, a café and a musician. He was the right stranger.
He sang a song I didn’t know: The Spider Song (Or Somewhere in the car) by Pat Drummond. I’ve just found the lyrics online as well as the stranger’s name. Fred Pilcher. Now I know who he is but he doesn’t know me. I’m the stranger.
The lyrics are a good read: http://www.patdrummond.net/Lyrics/Laughter/Somewhere_In_The_Car.html
With my hands I’m typing what you are reading. With them I write letters and stories that you will not read. I can even add calligraphic flourishes. I can cook, drive, ride a bike because I have hands.
But I can’t play an instrument.
For twenty years I’ve taken my sons to piano and guitar lessons, and now I hear live music in my home. How rich my life is because their hands play instruments.
I thank my son for playing This old love by Lior so I could photograph him. I could listen to him for hours.
I found this photo in the war album. I had to play with the levels because the words were barely visible in the original 2″ x 3″ photo, and I was amazed when I darkened it and saw what was written on this huge sign. It’s derived from Winston Churchill’s London broadcast on 22nd June 1941, following Germany’s invasion of Russia.
I don’t know where this building is, though it’s probably in north Africa. The album contains photos taken in 1941/42.
24th Jan – A visitor arrived at the Housing flats but, before getting out of his car, was assailed by a tenant spewing the loudest tirade of abuse yet heard in this street. It was about money paid as maintenance for her 2 granddaughters – $50 a week. Her vocabulary was quickly exhausted, so for about 10 minutes she repeated two obscene words several times in each sentence.
25th Jan – I noticed when I knock on a door gently to wake someone, only the knuckle of my middle finger does the knocking.
26th Jan – A manuscript appraiser suggested I break up my translated text using a dinkus.
It’s a tiny design dividing otherwise undivided text. I like this one.
And below, here’s one in place.
Dinkus in ‘Almost French’ by Sarah Turnbull
27th Jan – My breakfast-on-the-deck was better than usual: I saw a possum curled up in a corner of the roof guttering. Turned out she was hiding something…
28th Jan – As I drove onto the bridge to cross the lake, I had to slow for 15 horses and riders and a black and white sheepdog in my lane.
The wedding of an Australian General Hospital sister, approx. 1941. The church is the Basilique Notre Dame d’Héliopolis, Cairo. I’ve written a little about the church here, and included a photo of the whole structure.
The nurse probably worked at the hospital in Kantara (also El Qantarah and several other spellings), Egypt, close to the Suez Canal. My father may have known her since he was a patient in this hospital, but he didn’t record her name.
A wedding in the middle of a war zone. A triumph of hope over reality.
In the album I found a few photos of Arabs snapped in the simplicity of their daily lives. This one really narrows it down: a shadeless desert, a man stopping to pray, a curious and patient camel. Bowing over his mat in prayer, the Arab blocks out the Allied soldier behind the camera lens, and the complications of war.
This week, it really was a challenge to find a photo in the war album that suited a peaceful theme… I like this one of the sun rising behind the pyramids, though even this photo has a disturbing darkness.