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The Postcard Photographer

The Postcard Photographer

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The Postcard Photographer

Longueur:
183 pages
2 heures
Éditeur:
Sortie:
May 29, 2013
ISBN:
9781927626207
Format:
Livre

Description

Vancouver, British Columbia, is a special city. It has brought peace, dignity and anonymity to so many from all walks of life and nations. The Postcard Photographer takes the reader on a leisurely walk back to the 1960s, the years of Viet Nam, soul-searching, the sudden and sad ending of the Kennedy era, the peace marches and the fold music that stirred the hearts of a generation. The first story in this book focuses on two rather lost individuals; one from Los Angeles and the other from the B.C. pulp and paper town of Powell River. In Vancouver both discover their identities, passions and goals. Though fiction, the two stories reflect the journeys of photographer and author, Dan Propp, who imparts many nostalgic memories as a photo student in 1960s in B.C., doing wedding photography, teaching adult education classes and chasing fire engines, Dan’s stories bring to life the intimate history of the times and places.

Éditeur:
Sortie:
May 29, 2013
ISBN:
9781927626207
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Born in Bolivia to German Jewish parents, Dan Propp has been a postcard photographer since high school and worked for the Richmond Review and the Surrey Leader before becoming a school teacher. An accordion player, singer and performer, he lives in historic Steveston, British Columbia, with his wife.

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The Postcard Photographer - Dan Propp

The Postcard Photographer

Dan Propp

Including A Kid From A Mill Town

Accordion to Dan Publishing

Copyright 2012 © Dan Propp

Smashwords Edition

Disclaimer: While this book is based on true stories gleaned from the author’s life, many details have been fictionalized to protect the identity of those involved. Actual events, locations and individuals names may have been changed with the exception of public figures. Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental. The author is not liable for the contents of any websites listed herein, nor does the author endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of such sites.

Published by Accordion to Dan Publishing

Richmond, British Columbia

In conjunction with Summer Bay Press

Agassiz, British Columbia

www.accordiontodan.com

www.danpropp.com

www.jewishreflections.com

Editing, Interior Design and Cover Design: Wendy Dewar Hughes, Summer Bay Press

ISBN: 978-1-927626-19-1

Digital ISBN: 978-1-927626-06-1

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

This book is dedicated to

my parents

Elsa and Arthur Propp.

Acknowledgements

My thanks to Eleanor Ryan who introduced me to Summer Bay Press and suggested the new e-book path.

To Wendy Dewar Hughes of Summer Bay Press who helped me to put all the pieces together so professionally for this old dinosaur.

Dr. Gary Schajel, the professor who engineered some of the copy so that it not only was proofread but made sense, too. What a concept, eh?

To Marv Coburn who encouraged me to write this book even if much of it was churned out long hand at the fast food restaurant.

****

Table of Contents

About The Author

The Postcard Photographer

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Conclusion

The Kid From A Mill Town

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Conclusion

****

CHAPTER 1

Terminal Studios were three rooms in an old building on the second floor across from the train station in Vancouver. A fitting name might also have been At The End of the Track Studios or Flea Market Developments. The Vancouver Flea Market was down the avenue, close to dumpster divers and the city’s finest in camouflaged clothing. The location was ideal, not so much for business – shutter the thought – but latent images locked in at the back recesses of the old retina, distinct from American Kodak with a German Schneider lens, but the human variety. With tracks streaming from Los Angeles, my eyes had nevertheless seen the Canadian National Railway’s Super Continental chug in from its lengthy journey across Canada. Great Northern Railway’s International delivered to and picked up from Seattle, Washington. There were connections in Everett, Washington with the Empire Builder and its mountain goat symbol to points east such as Minneapolis and Chicago. Passengers going or arriving were generally always on an understandable Canadian Rocky Mountain High. Future Prime Ministers Pierre Trudeau and Brian Mulroney were political unknowns and Canada was still Canada.

At this station the nation spoke with pride and it still does, strangely enough, despite the McDonalds, converted Via Rail reduced service and its new dual role as a ‘cost effective’ bus station. Stainless steel cars once belonging to Canadian Pacific Railway remain a poignant reminder of the old days despite the railroaded progress of today. At the point where former Premier Bill Vander Zalm’s sky train connects to the sea bus terminal down in Coal Harbour – is where the CPR’s Canadian came home from Toronto and points east.

At my studios, there was one kind of photography I side-tracked…weddings! If I have to see one more groom and bride signing a register, I think I’ll walk down the aisle to complete irreverence. Even though that’s where the best photographic bread and butter are, I’d rather be toast!

Here amid the fumes of developer, stop bath and fixer, the photographic chemicals pose a number of metaphoric questions as to possible solutions. Have recent political developments created an environment where the populace is more alkaline, tempered by a type of stop-bathed complacency? Who is on the right track, the dumpster divers or the camouflaged members of Vancouver’s finest?

At the flea market the vendors make up an incredible variety of independent characters. There are hundreds of weekly regulars who come to wheel and deal, transfixed and addicted to finding that big bargoon fix.

In the 1940s during the war years the same red elongated terminal barn served as a Boeing aircraft manufacturing facility. Now it represents a flight from the norm, for those with rented tables and consumers propelled to ascend above the malady of their ground level existences.

My equipment, excluding trays, tripod, barn door lighting, and backdrop, mainly stems from roots in the City of Angels. There, with a Sergeant Friday exposure Just the facts, ma’am black and white glowing Sylvania TV upbringing, I was molded on Oxford Avenue. My parents operated a bakery downstairs. From our second floor ‘home’ we could see the Hollywood Hills in one direction and Western Avenue towards Watts in the other. The riots would come later. Who could have believed that a northern non-entity called Canada would someday become my home!?

Dad was a survivor; short, stubby, stubborn with a drive like a horse and a constitution of a pile driver. It had taken him six years, in Berlin during the mid-1930s, of apprentice-ship training to become a certified baker. Outgoing and generous to the extreme, Werner’s Jewish background never was a hindrance in the beginning. That quickly changed, with a vengeance.

In 1938 he was thrown into Saxonhausen, a camp close to Berlin. There on rock quarry detail he survived by keeping the swastika uniformed guards ‘entertained,’ polishing boots, showing them he could carry twice the required load of rocks from point A to point B, and thanking them for the ‘opportunity’ mein herr! He was a bulldog, waking up every morning in his barracks ready to go while yet another terminated his life rather than survive another day in hell!

What saved Dad, besides his determination, was a well-to-do relative in New York who managed to pull a few pre-war diplomatic strings. Documentation arrived in Saxonhausen with a life-saving visa out of Nazi Germany not only for himself but also a wife. Dad was not married. A fortunate mistake had been made. To save another soul, he married a friend of an acquaintance. In the basement of a house in Berlin, with curtains drawn, under a chupah (a covering) made of blankets and sheets they became man and wife. An agreement was concluded that divorce would be perfectly in order once out of Germany. Under palm trees, I came along a couple years later, but not in California. The visa was for the Philippines; connections were helpful but not enough to bring German citizens to Ellis Island. That could only occur after the war.

Under Manila skies, my future parents used ingenuity to bake Kaiser rolls, marzipan delights, and apple kuchen (cakes) for the local and German community (that they were Jewish was ‘overlooked’ for the moment, being so distant from the fatherland). Compared to Saxonhausen, this was heaven.

I was born in the basement of the Manila General Hospital making the grand entrance at the precise hour when air raid sirens blared and the Japanese invaded.

When the Second World War finally concluded, and with currency converted to gold buried under our rented Manila home, there was enough to literally dig out from under and come to America. By Pan Am clipper we arrived in New York in April 1949. The relatives wanted us to stay but Dad had this vision of Hollywood, ‘half-baked’ as Mom some-times chuckled in a nostalgic, retrospective way. We still had enough ‘dough’ to take the three-day coach ride from New York Central Station to the California dream.

****

CHAPTER 2

Mom and Dad both retained strong, unmistakable German accents. Throughout their Americanization, they spoke increasingly less German. Only if there was something at the dinner table not intended for my ears did that deutsche language come in handy. The stars and stripes decorated both the bakery counter downstairs and Dad’s little study next to our living quarters above. On July 4th a huge flag always flew proudly at the entrance to our bakery called European De-lights.

Although an only child, I wasn’t spoiled. Attending public school, I walked to and from Lincoln Elementary carrying a Gene Autry lunch bucket and a nutritious couple of sandwiches plus an apple, orange and one goody from the bakery. Mom put it together but I always helped out. High school was much the same, though with a fifteen minute longer walk.

Dad didn’t require all that much sleep, four to five hours, but when he did we had to tiptoe very carefully. Waking up due to a noise in the late afternoon or early evening, he’d be pretty grumpy. Bakers’ hours were from shortly after midnight to four in the afternoon the next day. Mom was at the counter from 9am to 6pm.

Dad worked double duty for various reasons. Forgetting, no doubt, was one. Kneading the dough by hand and virtually preparing everything himself in the early hours was great physical and mental therapy as well. Preparing birthday and anniversary cakes with artistic designs, colourful icings, and tasteful inscriptions provided an excellent outlet for the artist that he truly was as well.

The taste of freedom and to prepare so much sweetness was a humbling honour for my father. The competitive economic nature of the business also made long hours so necessary.

Milk dishes were always kept separate from the meat which was purchased from a kosher butcher. Mom and Dad kept dietary laws at home but outside they would eat conventional food in restaurants, except for pork products, crab, shellfish etc. There was a synagogue on Wilshire Boulevard we belonged to though the honour didn’t come cheap and sometimes required time and sacrifice to catch up with payments. Except for special occasions such as Bar Mitzvahs, weddings and of course the high holy days (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) attendance was infrequent.

When my time came for adulthood at age thirteen, I took many lessons for my Bar Mitzvah and managed not to embarrass the rabbi nor my parents too much with my conduct. Not that my Torah reading was without flaws but I managed. Dad arranged all the catering through colleagues in the food industry and baked with such pride and artistic fervor that cutting into the designs on the dozen cakes was like destroying canvases by Chagall. Nine relatives from New York flew in. There was no one from Europe left to be at my Torah reading or to attend the small but very warm reception downstairs at the synagogue. However we felt their presence in spirit and that morning, though Dad was in his finest suit we could literally see through his formality and envision the defiance in that Berlin baker, in prison clothing, carrying twice the load of rocks at the quarry in Saxonhausen while uniformed SS officers smiled with leather polish and satisfied contempt. Mom, brimming with pride and tears in her eyes, looked like a queen. Nevertheless one could see past that too and envision her beauty and apprehension at that clandestine wedding ceremony in a Berlin basement home, windows covered, in 1938. I, their only child, was the hope for the future in a land where freedom reigned like royalty, in relative terms.

Dad’s constitution was still amazingly strong but from inside the past would, in the years that followed, begin paying its dues. Enjoying the baked goods a bit too much and the heavy smoking habit daily didn’t help much either.

A very giving man was my father. Some survivors of the camps became introverted, completely anti-social. Not Dad, he was every day thankful for the opportunity to inhale freedom – despite the smog that increasingly on tough days resulted in precious little oxygen remaining. Sometimes the eyes would literally burn and

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