Saturday, November 13, 2010

More Black and Whites

Since this is really my story blog, and I just have to tell the stories that go along with these pictures, I decided to post them over here.  So, here are a few more pictures for Carmi’s Thematic Photographic “Black and White”.

This picture would have worked even if it had been in color, since it’s a picture of a "Black and White”, back when police cars were actually painted black and white.  This was taken out in front of my high school, it wasn’t even a friend of mine who was pulled over.  Probably why I found it amusing.

Across the street from every high school in Utah is an LDS Seminary building.  Utah schools are required to offer students “Release Time” during the school day so they can leave campus to receive religious training at the church of their choice.  Because Utah is predominantly LDS, the church chose to build the Seminary buildings adjacent to every school so that students would have quick access to their classes there.  I, not being of the predominant faith and somewhat of a rebel in my adolescence, decided that my friends and I needed to get a picture of our own seminary class.  The seminary teacher, the man standing at the door, didn’t find it amusing to have a group of teenagers with cigarettes and beer sitting on his front step, so he encouraged us to leave.  I just kept taking pictures during the whole ordeal, and found this one to be the best portrayal of my friends personalities.  I did not find it the least bit surprising that my friend in the dark coat would stand there arguing with him while the rest of them took off.

I bought my first brand new car when I was 19, a 1979 Mazda GLC wagon that I paid $4,500 for, and almost immediately proceeded to bring it down as many dirt roads as I could find.  One of them was the old Burr Trail, down an area in Southern Utah called Waterpocket Fold, going from camping in Capitol Reef National Park down to Bullfrog Marina on Lake Powell.  It was 100 miles of fairly good dirt road, with a creek crossing it twice, each towards opposite ends of the road.  On the map, about 5 miles from leaving the paved road was the town of Notom, Utah, which is where I had planned to fill up with gas.  About 10 miles in we got to this creek crossing the road and stopped to survey whether or not my rear-wheel drive car was going to make it across.  As we were checking things out a ranger came down the road and stopped to see if everything was ok.  We asked him about making it across, he assured we would be ok and stayed as I drove across, just in case.  Once on the other side I asked him how much farther down it was to Notom, and he told me we passed it about 5 miles back.  Five miles back?  All there was 5 miles back was a big clump of trees and a farm house.  Yup, he tells us, that’s Notom, nope they don’t have gas there.  Half a tank of gas, 100 miles to go and no idea how good my gas mileage will be on a dirt road.  What should I do?  Three 19 year olds out on a camping trip, what do you think we did?  Yup, pressed on.  We headed off, got 90 miles down the road, came over a hill and saw the road go down the other side, through the other end of the creek and up another hill.  On the hill on other side were three Jeeps (one may have been a Toyota Land Cruiser) with their drivers out surveying the creek and locking in the hubs on their 4-wheel drives.  I come to a stop at the top of the hill, my little white wagon loaded to the hilt, look down at them and say to my compadres “ready?”, let out the clutch, hit the gas and come cruising down the hill, right through the water and up the other side of the hill.  They all stopped locking in their hubs long enough to watch this all happen, jaws hitting the ground as I passed them up the hill and out of sight.  Yeah, that was fun!  And the gas?  When I got to Bullfrog and filled up my tank, I put 11.9 gallons in a 12 gallon tank.  God loves fools and drunks, and I wasn’t drunk.

The spring of ‘83 saw some serious flooding in Salt Lake City.  We had an especially snow packed winter and then went straight into summer.  The snow in the mountains was deep, and melted almost all at once.  The culvert under State Street in downtown Salt Lake was overwhelmed and that street became a river.  Literally.  The news showed clips of people rowing down the center of town fishing on State Street.  Another main culvert on 13th South overflowed and that street became a river, flowing halfway through the city to the point where the water could be diverted into the Jordan River.  For 3 days and nights straight, residents from all over the city were sandbagging the sidewalks to prevent the homes and businesses along these streets from flooding.  Our governor, Scott Matheson, said at a press conference “This is a heck of a way to run a desert.”  I got this picture of a kid floating down 13th South on an inner tube when, after things subsided a bit, my mom and I went down to survey the damage.

We were camping down along Horse Thief Trail when one evening this little fox came traipsing through our camp.  He (or she) never came close to us, since we were sitting by the campfire, and since we didn’t leave any food out by the tents and camper, it simply looked around for a couple minutes and then left.

I’ve got a whole bunch more pictures in the gallery.  A lot of them may not be interesting to anyone other than my family, but since my older brother mentioned wanting to see some more pictures, I put a whole bunch (98) in a gallery.  You are all welcome to check them out, but don’t promise it to be an exciting time.


Carmi said...

I'm not sure what I love most about your work - the photography itself, or the wonderfully intricate scenarios you describe around each one. You're a great storyteller, and every time I finish reading an entry, I find myself wondering when you're going to share more.

Funny how black and white often results in the most colorful experiences!

(Oh, I HAD to share this: My first car was a 1982 Mazda GLC Sport. They had switched to front wheel drive by then, but like yours, it seemed to be the jumping off point for many of my early adulthood adventures. I still miss it.)

babysistergirl said...

I want to comment but I don't know where to start. It is weird, however, to read some of these stories and see some of these pictures and know that the world is watching too.

-your sister who just happened to drop by today.

Aunt Snow said...

I love these stories! This is great.

Thanks for visiting my blog and saying such nice things about my dog Jack. FYI - he is part Malamute, not Husky, though the two breeds are very much alike. Malamutes are great family dogs because they are not very territorial (not much fighting, good around kids, good letting people into their personal space), they're pretty clean-smelling as dogs go, and they don't bark much (although they sometimes sing.) Jack hardly ever barks. Our Jack is a cross between a malamute and something else - he's a rescue dog. We had a previous malamute/husky cross, who was a wonderful dog.

If you decide to get a dog, malamutes are great - although they need a lot of brushing and sometimes they are very strong-willed.

Max said...

Carmi - Mazda is one of the unsung heroes of the Japanese auto industry. In my opinion, every bit as good as a Toyota or Honda, but for some reason they don't have the inflated status of those two. I loved both my Mazdas.
babysister - don't worry, I've been checking the stats on this blog, and I guarantee the world isn't watching.
Aunt Snow - Actually the malamute is another dog I've considered. I just know that I wouldn't be a good enough companion for a dog. Maybe once I've retired.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

@Max: I love these old b&w's.. btw my husband had a mazda 626 and yes, it lasted forever.. Mazda is one of those forgotten autos that were reliable...btw, i love the details u give to your stories... i'll be following u...tell your sis not to worry...the way u phrase your memories, its priceless.

Max said...

KBF - thanks, glad you like it here. And I'm glad to hear there's another Mazda fan out there.