EPISODE 358 “WHERE DID YOU FIND ALL THOSE PICTURES FOR THE EPISODES, ALAN” “IT WAS NOT EASY”
This is my family: Mom, dad, Eric and I. We laughed a lot. Did not know we were poor.
Actually we believed we were rich. And we were correct. We were rich.
WRITING STORIES WITH PICTURES 2021
Dan Bowyer wondered why there were no pictures with the rather crude story about the Fireman’s Lift.
He liked both and has responded to every episode, many of which paralleled his life. Then
The Mississauga Library System wanted permission to replicate my pictures. Others were surprised
I was able to illustrate the 357 stories with pictures. How was it done?
Getting pictures to fit the stories is not easy. Some stories took me several days to find pictures. But pictures
were necessary to establish that the stories are authentic.
HOW I GOT SO MANY PICTURES
1) From elementary school to the present time I have been a camera enthusiast. Initially using
cheap little plastic cameras that always seemed to leak light to the more sophisticated pocket cameras
available today. My best cameras have been and are the
Sony 1.8-4.9/10.4 – 37.1 with Zeiss lens. They take a lot of abuse and do fit in my pocket even if
the weight threatens to pull my pants down. I dropped one ..broke it…cost $500. Uttered a few
choice expletives and bought another camera.
2) I saved negatives and pictures in cigar boxes even when a kid. Then I began making slides….35 mm.
Last year , 2020, I looked at the boxes and boxes of slides that no one would ever see. There must be a way to get
slides in digital form. First, I bought a cheap replicator…not good due to dust. Second, I discovered a
company that copies slides professionally. At a cost. Was it worth spending 50 cents to $1 a slide and same
for negatives. ? I decided to spend the money. Well over $1,500 so far…not cheap. More to do. Threw away lots.
3) All converted pictures and slides come back to me in a stick form and can be injected
into my computer like the vaccine is to our arms. Then Spin them like a slot machine … images rolling by.
4) Reams and reams of pictures … over 1,500 images. saved.
Lots of work. I also have several thousand images put into my computer from my cameras.
Sometimes I go searching for images to fit the stories. Sometimes an image triggers a story.
5) Then each picture is photo shopped to improve it…lights up dark images….crop images
to highlight a particular theme. Lots of work. Sometimes it takes a whole day to put things together.
Sometimes several days. It is a challenge to do a Story a Day but an enjoyable challenge.
6) To me a story has to have both a written script and lots of illustrations. One without the other just
does not feel right.
7) DOES ANYBODY READ THE STORIES? AM I JUST WASTNG TIME?
Who reads the stories? No one?
That question occurs to me. I know, however, that some people in isolation like
having a story a day. My sister in law, Anne Hughes, told me yesterday that she looks
forward to my story every morning with her coffee. She and her husband are cloistered
in a tiny home. They can no longer drive. My stories help which pleases me.
8) Do the stories go beyond my friends? It is wonderful to get an email from persons I do not
know who have found my stories on the internet. Yesterday I got note from a young man who spends summers at Paradise Lodge on
the Algoma Central Railway… a person I do not know. He loved those wilderness stories about
Wart Lake, mining exploration, wolves, lightning and Marjorie arriving with our cat and her sewing
machine. We had lots of wolves . We had no electricity. So many notes like that.
Victor Poppa’s grandson for instance…writing a play about Victor. I hoe he will Remind me to send some
more pics…lost his email. Then there is Dr. Norm Paterson, my former boss in the mining
exploration days who sends notes often. On and On. Letter from Belgium, Australia, England,
Ireland…from the far corners of Canada like Mayo Landing , Whitehorse, Anchorage Juneau
Then so many notes from people who have had similar experiences but have lost
the pictures. Lucky for me that mom had kept some black and white pics of our childhood.
Missing pictures? Lots of them. I wish we had more pics of dad wasting his money at racetracks
…wasting his money but sharing the experience by sneaking us in to tracks when we were young or
setting us up as scam artists selling gamblers day old racing forms. Did we really do that? Or is it
imagination. No pictures to prove or disprove.
And nice to get notes from friends…to rekindle friendships in spite of the pandemic. Russ Vanstone and
his bees; for instance…..too many people to name. I know some people do not read the stories. a couple of months ago
I started to delete names because I felt I was cluttering up the emails of those who do not respond. There was a
hue and cry … so I have not deleted yet, And will not. So many of my former students are on the list. We
speak as peers now. Jeannette Chau even nominated me for a Mississauga literary award.
JUST THE BARE FACTS…LOOK AT THAT GRIN!
8) Should I worry if the story and the pictures do not reflect well upon me? No, I am too old to
worry about my appearance, my language, my.mistakes, I try to be self effacing. Who the hell
wants to read about personal heroic exploits. Better if the stories have a more earthy touch. Like
when Floyd Faulkner nick named me Fucking Al on that Groundhog River job in Northern Ontario.
It was a compliment. Voltaire’s novel Candide has been a big influence…i.e. the naive innocent
facing the best of all possible worlds. Remember Voltaire’s conclusion? “If this is the best of all possible
worlds, what then of the others?.”
THIS STORY BELOW SHOWS HOW IMPORTANT PICTURES ARE … WHO WOULD BELIEVE IT OTHERWISE?
9) Here is a mini story. A story made in gentler times. Today our behaviour
on an Air Canada flight to Iceland and then Toronto might lead to big time trouble.
But in 1965 we were just entertainment … young and foolish. If I told the story without
the pictures you might think it was a fabrication.
PHOTO 1: Marjorie, my brother Eric and I had been drinking a pint of Guinness
in the Dublin lounge waiting for our flight back to Canada. We were joined
by a Catholic priest and his father. Nice men. Might have shared a second pint. Innocent enough
Lots of people drink Guinness. We boarded OK. But once in the air the Guinness
did funny things. We started to giggle. Marjorie wiped my brow with whipping cream
or was it mashed potatoes?
PHOTO 2: I maintained I was sober until I found this picture in my camera.
Apparently the pilot came back to check us out. He borrowed my camera to get
this magnificent shot. Pictures might remind you of Jack Lemmon and Shriley McLean
in Days of Wine and Roses.
PHOTO 3 Our Air Canada pilot was called by the stewardess to check us out.
He realized we were just young and silly. Then he borrowed my derby hat for
this picture which I managed to take. My brother and I had bought derby hats
at an antique market. The seller insisted that mine had belonged to Sir Ernest
MacMillan whose initialS were inside. The derby hat looked good on the
pilot who was a laid back kind guy. What a great pilot we had on that flight.
ABSENT PHOTO 4: Eric was busy proposing to the stewardess much to her amusement.
I have a picture to prove it but wanted to keep this story brief.
PCTURES TELL A STORY
Each of the pictures below could be a story…should be a story…will be a story.