April 18, 2009

Abuelito's Ears


My son Gabriel has my grandfather's ears. I love them so.

May 27, 2008

My Dad's Vietnam 1966

My dad was served as a doctor in the war we call the Vietnam war, the war the Vietnamese call The American War. He was there from 1966 to 1967. My dad's Kodachromes—there are hundreds of them—were my first sense of 'the other side of the world'. Many photos are of empty landscapes. There are shots taken from the backs of jeeps. The barracks. A whole roll is devoted to a praying mantis that lived in his dorm.
There are many shots of red dirt roads and palm trees. The palms and the red dirt must have made some deep psychic impression because during my trips there as a backpacker, my first impression was of a kind of overpowering and almost haunting dejavu. His photos largely turned away from the horrors he experienced. In the year he served more than 6,000 Americans died. 12,000 South Vietnamese died and 61,000 North Vietnamese. More than 30,000 were wounded. The hospital where he worked was one of the busiest in the country. When I was growing up we would sometimes talk about that year during long Texas car rides, but his answers to my questions always seemed like riddles to me. They still do.


Continue reading My Dad's Vietnam 1966 »

December 28, 2007

The Internet Giveth

20 year old clips featuring my wife. I plan on using the phrase "Drop the Monkey" often around the house.

June 17, 2007

Telegrams and Polka Dots


I don't know the exact circumstances of the telegram, but it's arrival was, in a way, the beginning of my story. It arrived near the end November. I picture it being delivered by hand because that's how telegrams are delivered in the movies. I picture it arriving on a cold and blustery day. Grey. But I don't know any of those facts. I do know the message was a short, just a few sentences informing my dad he had been drafted and was expected to report for a physical within the week. The war in Vietnam was ramping up and the government was drafting foreign doctors in huge numbers. The choice for those doctors was simple: serve in Vietnam or have your green card revoked. My dad had been in New York for 3 years, his residency was almost over and he could have gone home, but he was committed to living in the US and he was dating a local girl from Queens, a nurse. He was 25, she was 20.

Within days of the telegram my parents-to-be made a series of decisions. They would get married right away. He would go to Vietnam, but they would try get pregnant before he left in case he didn't make it home. It was the logic of love. By March they were married and by April they were living in Fort Benning Georgia where my dad underwent basic training. Doctors were admitted as captains, and married captains were given small bungalow apartments. The doctors were housed together and as so many were foreign green card holders they were nicknamed by their country of origin, so there was the Jamaican, the Greek, the Russian, the Italian and so on. My parents neighbors were the Italians. The Italians already had one year old child and the wife was certain the men wouldn't return. "Don't get pregnant," she told my mother, "it's bad enough we're both going to be 20 year old widows."

The 8 weeks of basic training passed quickly. In the final week before the men were scheduled to fly to San Francisco for the ocean passage to Danang, the army scheduled a dance. My mom went out and bought a polka dot dress just for that night. Arriving at the dance she discovered her Italian neighbor was wearing the same dress. They were both horrified and amused. Although they wouldn't know until later, both women got pregnant that night.

A week later the men were boarding one of those big miltary prop planes and the women having said their goodbyes were standing on the wet tarmac watching propellers cut the rain. It was dark and gloomy despite the military band and the peppy voices on the loudspeakers and my mom, feeling desperate, wrote a quick note. After much pleading she managed to get one of the crewmen to carry it onboard. My mom loved telling the story of how a stonefaced airman finally broke formation to take her quickly take envelope...

A few days later my mom was on a plane to Mexico where she waited out my father's tour of duty and gave birth to me. When he arrived back from the war I was 4 months old. Today with my own four month old, and many years older than my dad was then, the moment I always wonder about was the one where the plane broke through the clouds and cleared the rain. It was then that he opened that envelope my mom had sent him. The paper inside read simply, "Te amo."

June 11, 2007

La Jarra de la Leche

On our kitchen table you'll find a porcelain pitcher. Right now it's full of small white flowers my wife bought at a deli down the street. The pitcher is a pretty but unremarkable object. The handle has a bit of art nouveau flourish. The finish you'll notice if you study it closely, is full of hairline cracks. The bottom is stamped with a royal looking insignia and below the words:

Royal Ironstone China
Wood and Son, England.

My great grandfather gave the pitcher as a gift to my great grandmother. Ignacio Perez was a major in Pancho Villa's army and never returned home from his excursions without gifts in hand. A set of 6 teacups was meant to be included with the pitcher but only one survived the hard riding over mountains and deserts. On his way home he had used the pitcher for coffee, but before arriving, he cleaned the thing, and wrapped it in nice paper before presenting it to his wife. My great grandmother, Mama Juela as she was known to all, was delighted by the gift and immediately deemed it 'La Jarra de la Leche' or 'the pitcher of the milk' and for years that's exactly what it was. Every morning one child would milk the cows, and boil the milk for the day. This was no trivial task as there was no refrigeration and fires were made from mesquite wood. After the milk was boiled, the curd was scraped, and then hot milk was poured into the pitcher where it would cool. On the rare occasions she had chocolate in house, Mama Juela would crumble some into the milk. She also liked to mix in a drop or two of honey. At Rancho Cascabel 22 people lived under one roof. There were 11 children, several adoptees, a few old maid sisters, and a ranch hand or two so Mama Juela rarely left the kitchen. The pitcher was being filled and emptied all day long.

When Mama Juela died the pitcher was one of the few things my grandmother took from the house.

By my childhood in the 70's milk was delivered daily to my grandmother's doorstep in small glass bottles with tin lids. I was given the task of boiling the milk and removing the curd. Normally we'd just pour the milk back in the bottles, but if there happed to be chocolate in the house we would take out the pitcher, pour in the warm milk, and drop in bits chocolate in watching them dissolve as we stirred. Otherwise the pitcher was only used for special occasions—Christmas dinners mainly. It was kept behind glass with along with porcelain figurines never removed from their shrinkwrap.

When my grandmother died it was my father who brought the pitcher home to his empty house, carrying it by hand on the plane back to Texas where it mainly sat unused on a shelf. A few years later I claimed it, driving it myself to California. When Jenn came into the picture, she started using the pitcher as to hold flowers.

My thought tonight is this: When I am gone will this thing, this ordinary pitcher, be one of the things my children will want to hold close or will too much time have passed for the memories contained in the thing to be read? Will they understand why the milk poured from this pitcher tastes so sweet?

May 9, 2007

Haraboji's House


Jenn's grandfather turned 84 recently. He lives alone, but 4 of his 6 daughters are close by and at least one of them checks in daily. Since his wife died of cancer 4 years ago he makes vegetable juices. He uses lots of green peppers, tomatoes and carrots. "For good health."

Throughout his apartment you will find little newspaper clippings. Under the glass of the coffee table there's one that reads

Signs of Saltwater on Mars
Mars was once a warmer, wetter place, with flowing pools of saltwater, scientists reported. The findings provided new hints that life might have existed there...
Under the glass of a side table there's one about a flood in North Korea, and in the bathroom there's one about the disappearing bees. My favorite is an obituary of Lillian V. Oppenheimer. The headline reads"Lillian V. Oppenheimer, 93, Dies; Introduced Americans to Origami." He highlighted a quote from Oppenheimer in the article, "Why should the Japanese have all the fun?"

The picture he has taped on the wall near the phone was torn from a magazine. The image reminds him of his favorite daughter at that age. He has no pictures of her so young as she grew up during the war. The magazine image has been up on the wall for such a long time that he no longer thinks of it as someone else. "My daughter is beautiful," he always says.

January 11, 2007

My Tia Olivia's 15th

This is from the church service before the quinceañera. Should be about 1959 in Monterrey.

January 1, 2007

The Longest Hour

It was 17 years ago on this night that my mother believing my youngest brother’s sickness was incurable shot him and then shot herself. That is the simplest way to tell the story, the facts of which are as stupefyingly shocking today as they were when I first heard them over the phone on January 2nd 1990. Our maid had discovered them.

I was sitting in an office in the Citicorp Building in New York City when I got the phone call. I was four months into my first post college job. It was 10:02 in the morning. There were three calls actually, the first two were the sounds of someone wailing. Not understanding what was going on I hung up twice. When I finally answered I felt as if someone was turning a knob forcing all my senses into an uncomfortably accute range. I could feel the air on my fingers, hear the sound of the wind on the windows, see the minute hand of my watch move second by second. It was as if all the filters allowing me to tune out distractions were ripped from my head. Preternaturally composed, I made flight arrangements to Texas. Then I walked down the hall and told my boss the story and said I would be leaving for a while. My boss followed me down to the street, flagged a taxi, and told me to take as much time off as I needed. I saw him standing there with tears in his eyes as we sped away. A friend and his girlfriend met me at my apartment. We packed in just a few minutes, but the flight wasn't for a few hours. Not knowing what to do we killed time at coffee shop on Lexington and 78th before heading to Laguardia. In the cab we didn’t talk. I kept thinking back a few day to when a black balloon had appeared outside my office window on the 53rd floor lingering there in the air seemingly in defiance of physics. It had floated away horizontally. My mind was turning slow irrational somersaults. "There must have been some horrible mixup," I thought, "none of this makes sense."

I was wearing an old shirt with buttons thinned by wear, and on the flight I remember rubbing the buttons between by thumb and forefinger. The facts were what they were of course and when I arrived home late that afternoon to a houseful of family and friends all in various states of anguish it all hit me like a sledgehammer. I first went to my grandmother kneeling before her and wrapped my arms around her. "I don't understand," she whispered in Spanish, "why?" That night I couldn't sleep and felt the need to write something. The first words that came out were: "I realize with profound clarity that we have choices. The type of life I will live is determined by the choices I make. Starting now."

In the coming days I immersed myself in the bureaucracy of death, getting police reports, ordering official documents, canceling credit cards, arranging the funeral... I remember a funeral director wearing a tieclip in the shape of a shotgun. He said, "Don't worry son, we all have pain in our hearts eventually." This was Texas after all. Having something to do was easier than trying to explain the question everyone kept asking. "Why?" I didn't know why and what I did know—my certainty that this was an act of extreme empathy born of blinding if perverse love—was unmentionable. Too difficult for others to hear or for me to say.

The police report said that my brother died instantly, but that my mother was probably alive for some time, maybe up to an hour before finally bleeding to death. She had missed her heart. That hour haunted me. I had been hit by a car as a 13-year-old and remembered vividly what it was like to lose blood and go into shock. The mind is not turned off in those moments, instead there is a brilliant clarity as in a dream, but the body is immobile and helpless. Was she wracked with regret and doubt, did the terrible folly of it all come crashing down on her? Did she think of us?

When you experience tragedy, someone will inevitably tell you that time will heal you by scarring over your wounds. But time becomes meaningless when you lose the people you love and sometimes you don't want to scar. The rawness of tragedy opens you up as a human being allowing you to feel as never before both the good and the bad.

It was almost two months after all this happened when I finally arrived back in New York on a late flight. My cabdriver was playing a Charlie Parker tape and despite the crisp February air, his window was rolled down so he could take drags from a cigarette. As we drove over the 59th Street Bridge clouds parted revealing the thinnest sliver of a new moon hanging over a glistening city. The vision of the city filled my eyes with tears. "I choose hope," I said to myself, "I'll be ok". Half a lifetime later I can say I was right. The question I sometimes ask myself on January firsts is, "Is it possible to fully enjoy the deep sweetness of life without tasting profound sadness." I don't know the answer but I ask it every year.

related: 1/1 2005

May 9, 2006


When I become friends with someone I am always interested in going through their family albums and looking for faces or traits that appear generation after generation. A childhood friend came from a family of women with large floppy ears and arrow straight noses. The other features would be re-arranged, but the ears and noses were on face after face. In my own family my father and I are of my grandmother's line and are marked by our noses, and expressive eyebrows (my son has the eyebrow as well, but so far seems to be of Jenn's dad's line) whereas my brother is of my great grandfather's line of tall men with of strong chins. Some photographic evidence below. The images below are of my great grandfather, my grandfather, my uncle, and my brother.

Whose face do you carry?

May 5, 2006


The "spy page" of my mother's address book, circa 1956 when she was 11 years old. She was D.M. The guy she liked was L.S., aka Leonard Stango. Stango is a fairly unusual name and a little searching around reveals a Leonard Stango of my mom's age in Corona, NY which is one of the places my mom lived as a kid. There is a another Leonard a few years younger than me in the same location. Did he stay there, marry and have a son? I've often thought about calling and seeing if he remembers anything about my mom as her childhood is a blank to me. But then of course I would have to explain her death which would be difficult and perhaps an unfair thing to put her childhood sweetheart... would I be unfairly disturbing his memory? Anyway I've never done it... but perhaps I will one day.

March 28, 2006

Jenn 1993

I've was organizing the attic tonight when I ran across a bunch of images of my wife from one of her college photography classes... My guess is that these ones went down like this:

Assignment: Self Portrait

1. Drive out from Chicago looking for something "artistic"....

2. See a corn field and swerve to a stop.

3. Quickly set the camera up on a tripod. Worry about being discovered.

4. Set the timer and run like hell into the corn.

5. Make serious arty face, wait for the snap, repeat.

Actually I love this whole contact sheet and am tempted to post the whole thing. Enjoy because Jenn might force me to remove them.

March 15, 2006

Olivia Aurora, 1919

Today was my grandmother's birthday. Her name was Olivia Aurora Perez. This is a picture of her at the age of 6 in her Sunday best on her father's ranch. She never liked the picture and it was 8 years before she would have another one made. This image originally included 4 of her 10 siblings. Each of the 4 kept their torn portions of the picture until their deaths. Her curse was watching 9 of the 10 die before her. Often she would dream the deaths a few days before they would happen and wake up with eyes full of tears clutching her well worn rosary. She would whisper her own death was near each time she said goodbye to me. As a child I would cry, but after 25 years I stopped believing her and then of course it happened.

My grandmother spent a good portion of her life in the kitchen a fact of which she was most proud. When I dream of food I am always sitting at that small table prodding her (between bites) for another story of her father the bandit/revolutionary or laughing at one of her sharp observations. One of her brothers would say his 25 years of marriage had gone by "in ten minutes." "Ten minutes under cold water," she would whisper. She only finished the 6th grade but would always joke that she was more educated than my grandfather who only made it through the 4th. Her penmenship maintained the studied care of a child and sometimes she would use a ruler to keep her lines straight.

I was her favorite. She made no effort to hide this from my cousins or my brothers. I could do no wrong by her even though I managed to flood her house, crash my grandfather's car (at age 4), and nearly blow up a neighbor's workshop with homemade fireworks.

I look at her eyebrows and nose every day in the mirror. She smelled of rosewater and flour and she had the softest hands. I miss her.

February 26, 2006

Paras, Nuevo Leon 1955

The first picture is of two of my great aunts and my father's sister. The second is of a weekend barbecue. My grandmother is dead center. This is a lost world.

September 23, 2005


That's my dad hiding under the N. He was on a trip with some of his medical school friends which would date this picture to around 1959. I especially love the background of this picture... reminds me of one of those Pedro Infante movies my grandfather and I would watch together on late night TV... also for me it recalls great Trios we would play on my grandparents record player. Here are some songs that bring it all back: Novia Mia, Lloren Guitarras

May 25, 2005

1929, NYC, but where

This is a photo of my grandfather (left) during his brief stint in New York. He arrived in 1928 and stayed one year, eventually skipping the country back to his ranch in Mexico. He was working parking cars at the Waldorf and had crashed a fancy car. This would have meant prison, so he left... quickly. He had saved almost four hundred dollars had planned to marry my grandmother, take a steamer to Argentina, and start a ranch down there (100 dollars would buy a nice spread), but one of his sisters used the money for her own wedding (a blowout apparently), and that was it for that plan. He would never return to New York, but in his 90's he would recall small telling details like the electric smell of the subway cars or the way men with black umbrellas would walk through central park in the snow holding their girlfriends close and tight. Always at the end of story he would always turn a a bit sour on the memory of his dream unfulfilled.

My question with this photo... does anyone recognize the street? There aren't many places where such wide avenues are bisected by sidewalks like that, but the buildings are fairly anonymous.... I know he was living on the west side in the 70's... New Yorkers? Any ideas?

April 27, 2005


Today, April 27th, would have been my brother Christopher's 35th birthday.

As he's been gone for a little over 15 years this fact, the idea of him as a 35 year old adult is hard for me to wrap my head around... He is always 19 in my mind or even younger.

He comes to me often in dreams and we talk about the issues of the day (actually talk is a mild way of putting it, we often debate as he was something of a contrarian). Christopher was passionate about politics and science and any number of other subjects from photography to ethology. We were often at odds, but only because we were so similar to one another. Sometimes in the dreams he just sits and watches silently from afar as Jenn and I play with our young son. I always call out for him to join us, but he always gives me a sad smile and walks away out beyond the far distance.

April 14, 2005


I know virtually nothing about the Irish side of my family. My mother didn't talk about them much. When she was alive I didn't know enough to ask the right questions. The rich and complex history of the Mexican side of my family has been a life long project... unraveling their mysteries, tracking family traits physical and emotional through the generations, archiving pictures and letters... In all of this I never really considered the Irish and Americans who are half of my story. Today I found a small tin-type in one of my mom's photoalbums. I have seen it at least once before when I was a child and remember asking about it. I believe they are my great grandparents or great great grandparents... I'm not sure on whose part, nor do I know their names. Their faces are unfamiliar and try as I might I don't see reflections of my mother or myself or my brothers in the faces, but the image has started me wondering...

And so another project begins...

March 26, 2005

Staten Island Ferry

I generally don't feel old, but looking at this picture from the summer of 1971 or 72 with the towers unbuilt and my mom at 25, 13 years younger than I am now, I feel old.

March 13, 2005

Tio Raul

This is my Tio Raul on one of his ranches near Paras, Nuevo Leon in Mexico. The picture is circa 1984 right before he died. He was tough and many people were more than a little scared of him. He would always refer to me as a criminal or as that "no good" "gringo viejo".

One of his ranches had a big orange orchard. I would travel out there with him in the back of his truck (along with the dogs) and once we arrived I would go deep into the orchard and climb one of the trees. At lunch he would come out and try to find me. This was never difficult as the dogs always slept under my tree, but he would make a show of it, cursing my name while I tried to sit very very still. Eventually he would spy me and shout at me while I would laugh hysterically. Then he would say, "I guess you have to eat." and throw up tacos wrapped in foil. He would sit under the tree and eat his lunch keeping me company. I would ask long questions from up in my perch. He would respond with short gruff answers. Afterwards he would toss me a pocketknife so I could cut some oranges and mutter that only monkeys liked trees so much. Then he would go finish his work and I would stay up in the tree the rest of the afternoon reading and daydreaming...

I miss that world sometimes. I miss the long ride in the back of a dusty pickup. I miss the smell of orange trees on a hot day. And I miss being cursed and called "el gringo viejo" by my Tio Raul.

March 2, 2005

Mrs. Yunisms

A quote from Jenn's mom, "Don’t let anyone stay at the house more than one week. Even me. I only stay one week, maximum two weeks."

February 24, 2005


On the left, my grandmother Olivia Aurora. She was 13.
In the middle my great grandfather Jose Dolores. On the right my grandfather Rodolfo. My grandfather was 18 and tired of being a cowboy. During this year, as he had since he was 12, he would ride cattle to Monterrey with his brothers. In Monterrey they would be paid in gold and each of the brothers would hide coins to protect against robbery.

After Christmas this year he left for New York City by bus starting from Roma (now Rome) Texas.

In New York he would enjoy two exciting years which he would talk about for the rest of his life. After he left in 1929 he never returned.

February 7, 2005

Circa 1975

Jenn's family. That's her with the red bow on the right. Funky pants. Her mom is holding her. She surrounded by aunts, cousins and her grandparents. Her dad is not pictured, I'm sure he was busy away at work.

January 28, 2005

missing pieces

When I was in high school my little brother received a call from a man with a New York accent claiming to be our grandfather. "You're not my grandfather," my brother said and hung up.

The only grandfather we knew lived in Mexico, my dad's dad. My mother's father was dead. According to my mom he had been a bad guy and had left her family when she was a child. She never actually detailed how he had died, "I don't talk about him" she would say, but that's the impression she left. Only when asked questions directly would she parcel out small fragments of information. He was Irish. He was in the Navy. He had blue eyes. He left Queens for California. Eventually she would would change the subject.

His name was Francis Peter and to this day I've never seen a picture of him.

That afternoon in 1983 the man on the phone kept calling. It was a little bit scary so we took the phone off the hook. My mom returned home and answered a call. She shooed us out of the room and closed the door. About an hour later she emerged clearly shaken. It was indeed her father. He was dying and wanted to visit. It had taken him 3 years to track us down.

My mom called her lawyer, a big bear of a man with a gravely Texas twang to warn her father never to call again. He never did. About a year later we received word that he had died. He had been living in San Francisco...alone apparently; a park ranger. Before he died he had put together a large box of things he wanted to give my mom, it would arrive a few weeks later.

The box was a crate made of wood. Well made and heavy packed. Notable was the address, hand lettered in black paint with a sure hand. Big old fashioned looking cursive.

Within 30 minutes of it's arrival at our house , the box was on a truck headed towards the city dump. It was unopened. I didn't think throwing it out was right, but I knew that on this issue I would have no sway. My mom never mentioned the incident again.

Still, even today, half a life later, I wonder...

December 15, 2004


Please note dear friends that our kid is not a Jr. At least in our family Jrs. are uncommon. Mexicans tend to prefer "itos" (as in Raulito). Also we often have different middle names.

We followed that pattern.

My dad is Raul Mario.
I'm Raul Antonio.
The kid is Raul Andres Min.

Some of you have asked me via email for some more info on why we chose Andres. First of all it's pronounced Ahn (as in Ah-ha) + n (as in nose), dress (as in dress, but a bit softer). It was the name of my grandfather's grandfather and was originally suggested to my mom as my middle name by my great grandfather (lost yet?), but there was a mixup and I got another name. There are no known pictures of my great great grandfather Andres, but he is known to have lived in Paras in the state of Nuevo Leon, Mexico where his ranch, El Violin, thrived for several generations (my grandmother's people come from a nearby ranch named El Cascabel (the rattlenake)). Andres' son, Jose Dolores was my great grandfather and was spitting image of his dad. This is a picture of Jose taken December 5th , 1895 in Agualeguas, Neuvo Leon:

and here is a picture of the man taken December 6th, 1968 with me on his lap.

Old timers who knew both Jose Dolores and his father Andres marveled at how similarly they resembled each other both physically and emotionally. My own grandfather Rodolfo continued this trend and is virtually indistinguishable from his father in pictures. My brother carries the man's strong chin.

We've been studying Raul Andres for little family signposts. He has agile Yun toes, but the Gutierrez gap between his big toe and the rest. His ears are Paek, the mouth Yun, the chin might be Perez, his early ability to raise one eyebrow is definitely a Gutierrez trait. My guess is everyone does this with their newborns. Nice to do it now while they are in a state of grace free from any insecurity and open to our scrutiny.

December 5, 2004

quiet sunday

I talked to a friend today who had a baby girl about a month ago. He's in the curious situation of not living in the same city as his wife. She and the baby are hundreds of miles away. The situation is perfectly logical (they plan to be together at some point), there are good reasons they are where they are, and yet the situation seems so cruelly unfair, his sadness palpable. I can't imagine being away... and yet I know it happens all the time. Another friend of mine lives in London, his wife and kids in Miami simply because he couldn't give up his job nor she hers. Every other cab driver in Manhattan has a family half a world a way... Still, hard for me to wrap my mind around...

My dad was still in Vietnam when I was born. My mom in was in the Hospital Muguerza in Monterrey Mexico. Shortly after the long labor a nurse came in, waking her, and repeating the word "nieve". Confused, my mom kept saying she didn't want "nieve" which she understood as the word for ice cream. But the word can also mean snow, and eventually my mom was led to the window. Almost two feet of snow fell that night in a city that never sees snow. My mom had been worried about my dad, but looking out at the snow she took it as a sign he was ok.

My dad's tour of duty had months remaining and news of the birth travelled slowly as communications between the Mekong Delta and Monterrey were sketchy at best. A telegram arrived almost two weeks late followed a week later still by a letter containing a dusty bit of umbilical cord (not knowing what to do, he buried it). Oddly enough news of the snow came almost immediately in the Stars and Bars. Knowing the storm had hit around the expected due date, he took it as a sign everything was going to be ok.

November 21, 2004


Today in my quest to catalog family negatives I hit a batch from 1966 when my dad was in Vietnam. He had just bought a camera while on R&R in Hong Kong (a Pentax that was to become my first camera years later) and took pictures to send home. My mom was living in Monterrey, was pregnant, and was understandably worried, so most of the pictures he sent were of himself smiling and with friends. The images are usually labeled. "Beach at Vin Tau", or "Enjoying C-Rations", "Chuck Connors and Anne Margaret on USO tour", or something else innocuous.

But occasionally in the margins of the images you'll spot something that speaks to the seriousness of what was going on. There in the background of an infirmary shot, a body covered in a sheet with a prominent toe tag. Or of dark plumes of smoke in the distance. Tonight I was struck by these two images:

I also noted the progression of pictures. He took less than one roll a month, and usually the pictures were portraits of people or documentation of events. But in the last month, he shot many rolls, of the barracks, of the earth, of the sky, of the waterbuffalo beyond the fences, finally a flurry images unframed out the window of a jeep as he was headed for his last helicoptor ride out. It was as if he was straining to capture something of the place to hold on to. I know because I do the same thing.

October 28, 2004


When I was in Texas I passed the time by going through old family pictures. The photos are well worn and familiar from years of browsing. On this trip I also picked up boxes of Kodachrome slides and have begun scanning them. Looking at the slides on my nice 23 inch monitor (as opposed to holding them up to a light bulb and squinting) has taken me down several interesting personal culdasacs... half remembered family trips, photos of long gone great aunts, and so on...

These were the first 2 slides out of hundreds scanned this morning...

This is my mom pregnant with my little brother. April 1970.

Puerto Vallarta. August 1974. I'm the dork with the hat.

Choose Another Subject