Visions of St Nick in Action

December 24, 2016 § Leave a comment

visions-of-st-nick-cover

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Above is the cover of a diorama Christmas book published in 1950 by Phillips Publishers, Inc. The editor is Louise Dyer Harris. The actual book opens so that the front and back cover can be joined, leaving the images inside open as dioramas.  Of course, they appear here in 2 dimensions, so you will have to imagine the three layers the images open up as.

The book is now 66 years old and shows the effect of time. I photo shopped them to remove some of the imperfections and added an old frame effect to help make their presentation more pleasing.

This book decorated my family home when I was growing up and is one of my favorite Christmas time memories. I hope you enjoy this nostalgic look at the past. It is a far cry from today’s 3D printers, now being used to make Christmas decorations!

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Santa’s Castle at the North Pole

Children dream at Christmas

Of Teddy Bears that talk

And wake them from their sleeping

To take a magic walk.

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Santa’s Workshop

Visions of old Santa

Fill each Sleepy Head, —

Dolls and elves and engines

And sailboats painted red.

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St. Nick and his Reindeer

Who can that be coming?

Reindeer and a sleigh

Dashing over roof-tops!

St. Nick is on his way!

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St. Nick’s Visit

Children dream and hope

For Christmas trees and fun,

Candy and surprises

And gifts for everyone.

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Tired Santa Back Home

They dream of good old Santa,

A talking Teddy Bear,

Till, waking up, it Christmas!

It’s Christmas everywhere!

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Witness Blanket

July 26, 2015 § Leave a comment

“Did your school have a graveyard?”

This question is asked in the short video found at The Witness Blanket, a website dedicated to the “large scale art installation, made out of hundreds of items reclaimed from Residential Schools, churches, government buildings and traditional and cultural structures including Friendship Centres, band offices, treatment centres and universities, from across Canada.”

The Witness Blanket

The large work is the creation of Carey Newman (Ha-yalth-kingeme), a First Nations artist from B.C. whose father was a residential school survivor.

Its sole purpose is, to again quote the website, to stand “in eternal witness to the effects of the Indian Residential School era – the system created and run by churches and the Canadian government to “take the Indian out of the child”. Left alone, these pieces may be forgotten, lost, buried, or worse – be uncomfortable reminders that leave painful impressions on the minds and hearts of those who recognize what they represent. Individually, they are paragraphs of a disappearing narrative. Together they are strong and formidable, collectively able to recount for future generations the true story of loss, strength, reconciliation and pride.”

If you’re in Hamilton, Ontario, the Witness Blanket is on display at the Hamilton Public Library from July 13 to August 29, 2015.  I intend to see it at the New Westminster Museum and Archives, in New Westminster, BC, (my birthplace) when it is on display from December 2016 to April 2017.  The full tour listing can be found at the site’s touring section.

Gemini 4, 50th Anniversary of Space Walk

June 3, 2015 § Leave a comment

Revell Gemini

Edward White held only a maneuvering gun in his hand as he stepped out of his Gemini 4 spacecraft on June 3, 1965 to become the first American to walk in space.

As I remember, the gun quickly ran out of gas reducing his ability to maneuver to twists and turns of his body as he pulled on the 8 meter tether that connected him to Gemini 4.  Although we like to think NASA had every contingency planned in advance, I once heard that his fellow astronaut James McDivitt had concerns about the spacewalk.  Where the two men sat was hardly bigger than a phone booth and McDivitt had to stay strapped in his seat.  He worried that if something happened, he’d have no way to bring an unconscious White back into the spacecraft and would have to leave him in space.

White was able to get back into Gemini 4 and both men successfully returned to Earth.  Sadly, however, Ed White passed away in the Apollo fire of January 27, 1967, barely two years after his historic walk in space.

The picture shown above is from the top of the model kit that Revell sold in the sixties.  The model first sold was taken from early designs of the Gemini spacecraft and so was not the actual, final Gemini design.  The picture shows the fuel cells and other mechanisms in the back third section even though in space that section would actually be covered with gold foil.  The middle section has the retro rockets to slow the craft so it could re-enter Earth’s atmosphere.

I did try to discover the name of the artist who made the picture.  The artist’s name is on the cover top but I can’t make it out.  Otherwise I would give him or her full credit for such a marvelous cover painting.  A cover that’s been hanging on my wall for almost 50 years

A Song for all Indian Residential School Survivors

June 2, 2015 § Leave a comment

I’ve been burning and yearning

     for all of these years

I’ve been falling through darkness and

     choking back tears

I’ve been wondering if I was to make it,

     if I would survive.

 

I’ve been stumbling though blunders

     and hating myself

I’ve been blaming the others and everyone else

I’ve been raging for reasons

     that I do not care to confide.

 

I did not see the gifts that were given to me

Oh I took my position so seriously

And the hate that I pushed you away

     with left me alone.

 

How I nurtured my feelings of separateness

How I cursed blameless people in my wilderness

I was lost in the darkness

     and now it’s my time to confide

 

That I, yes I am the light.

 

To the four-legged creatures around us on earth

To the birds and the fishes: to the dirt

To the air that I breathe

     and the colour blue of the sky.

 

Can you fathom the wonders

     surrounding us now?

There are so many questions

     and answers abound.

 

Aren’t you glad that you’re with us today, that

     you’re alive?

 

For you and I are the light

For I, yes I am the light.

 

“The Light” by Eden Fine Day        (Youtube link)

From the CD “Things Get Better”

Who Were They?

May 29, 2015 § 2 Comments

The old family albums contain photographs of people whose identity have been lost in time.  Were they friends of the family?  Family?  I don’t know.

In this first photo probably taken in the 1940’s a girl sits at a desk, a flower in her hair. Is that a pen in her hand?  It tapers off at one end suggesting an old style pen but there’s no ink bottle to dip it in.  Considering the probably time in history this girl posed while her country, Belgium, was occupied by Nazi Germany.

Girl at desk

This next photo may not show up too well but I find the woman and her dress quite interesting.  She was looking down when the camera clicked as if she was remembering something sad or painful.  Or maybe that’s how one looks when their life has been hard.  Once again, I don’t know who she is.  I assume it was taken in Belgium but can’t be sure.

Woman's portrait

The writing at the bottom of this one tells me it was taken in 1946.  That’s my father on the left proudly displaying his Canadian forces uniform as is the fellow on the right.  I don’t know who that other soldier is and am not sure of the woman.  Though she looks vaguely like my mother I don’t think it is.

two soldiers and a woman

There is a WordPress site called “Who Were They?” that, to quote the site, “looks at vintage photos to try to catch a glimpse of those who came before us, primarily focusing on the 19th century but delving into the 20th century at times.”  Interested viewers can access via the link I provided on it’s name that will open a new window.

Thanks for the visit!

The Doll

May 24, 2015 § Leave a comment

When I was two and a half years old my mother took my sister and I back to Belgium for a visit.  Today we would have flown from Vancouver and arrived in Amsterdam in nine hours.  Back then, however, there were no daily flights so we crossed the Atlantic via ship.  Here is a photo of myself and my sister with her doll taken while we were aboard ship on the way home.

Sister, I and doll

Here again is that doll, some sixty years later.  She sits in a rocking chair in the basement, waiting for my sister.

Doll 0043

Family Photos in B&W

May 15, 2015 § Leave a comment

I’ve been looking through my family’s photograph albums for a couple of reasons.  One was to find some old photos of Vancouver but like most families our albums are of family members, not city streets.  The second reason is to study old black and white photographs.

Photography, as you know, started with B&W and many classic photos are in B&W.  There is something about old B&W photos that are difficult, if not impossible, for me to duplicate even though I have programs like Silver Efex Pro 2 at my disposal.  Take these two, for example, that are simple black on snow photos from the 1940’s.  FYI: the originals are about 2 by 3 inches.

black on snow 1945 Mom in snow

This next one is a scan of an 8 by 10 inch photo of a man, a relation on my dad’s side but I’m not sure who, with his catch from the Fraser River.

native fisherman

Finally, here is one from 1929.  Possibly my grandparents on my mother’s side but I’m waiting for confirmation of that from my relatives there.

Grandparents

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