I’ve got a collection of photo albums in my upstairs closet.
They’re all shapes and sizes: There’s a small black one that’s full of old photos of my grandfather; my mother’s album from her youth and college days; a red one with flip pages that my grandmother kept; one my father had when he was at Brown—lots of photos of him being a “sport,” skiing, playing tennis in his white shirt and flannels.
And I’ve got a much bigger one that was given to my parents when they were married in 1942. It’s got some great photos of my pregnant mother, their cocker spaniel, and, finally, my brother John, who was born in
during WWII. Miami
My father was stationed there; he flew transport planes for the
are lots of photos of him standing beside his plane in his flight suit—leather helmet,
for crying out loud, leather jacket and funny dark goggles, baggy pants and all
manner and kind of flotation devices. US
His favorite route was a flight from
Miami to Rio de Janeiro—he’d stay there for three days, then fly
back to .
(He once flew off to Rio with the car keys in his pocket, leaving my extremely
pregnant mother sitting in the car in her nightgown and a trench coat at the
naval air station in Miami...she had to waddle from the car to the entrance
gate and beg a ride home from a very amused guard!) Miami
de Janiero in 1942...
These photos are two my father took of
Rio from the
window of his airplane and pasted carefully in his photo album. In the top photograph, you’re looking
down at Sugarloaf Mountain as well as a couple of others – there’s one called
Two Brothers, but I can’t remember which one it is; there’s Copacobana Beach
and Botafogo Cove; Ipanema Beach (of “tall and tan and young and lovely, the
girl from Ipanema goes walking...”).
And there’s downtown
Rio, huge and sprawling out
around every piece of land in between the mountains; between the mountains and
My father loved to fly, and he loved everything about
de Janiero—the food, the beaches, the music, the graceful samba.
He died in 1998, and, for all I know, he’s back there, flying still...