Very nice ride on the Goldwing. Looped through western Colorado and eastern Utah. Temps were moderate this early. I’m the kind of rider who wants to keep going, so stopping to take photos was difficult. But I got a few in when I needed to stretch. It was a beautiful day and the bike ran great. This is the first time I’ve posted from my iPhone. Pretty easy. I’ll do it more often.
From the movie-The Untouchables-1987…
Capone: A man becomes preeminent, he’s expected to have enthusiasms. Enthusiasms, enthusiasms… What are mine? What draws my admiration? What is that which gives me joy? Baseball! A man stands alone at the plate. This is the time for what? For individual achievement. There he stands alone. But in the field, what? Part of a team. Teamwork… Looks, throws, catches, hustles. Part of one big team. Bats himself the live-long day, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and so on. If his team don’t field… what is he? You follow me? No one. Sunny day, the stands are full of fans. What does he have to say? I’m goin’ out there for myself. But… I get nowhere unless the team wins.
[Capone beats one of the men to death with a baseball bat]
I owned my first watch when I was a schoolboy back in the late 60s. It was an inexpensive wristwatch. It barely fit my thin wrist and hung loosely when I wore it. I remember it being a battery watch, but I do not remember anything else about it. Fast forward a decade or so and it is my high school graduation. My father gives me a really nice skeleton watch. One with glass and front and back so you can see the works from both sides. It still means the world to me. It has no intrinsic value other than the memories of my father.
And I still collect watches. My mentor was the great Mancil Page of Page-Parsons Jewelry. (No relation) A tall elegant man with piercing eyes and a keen intellect. He started me on Wyler watch. Im not really sure how it started, but here I am. I have close to 2 dozen pocket watches stored, most of them Wylers. None of them are worth very much on their own, but collectively? Who knows. In another few decades, when all the cool collectables are gone, they may be worth more. The watch at the top of this post is my only wristwatch. It, like most of the others, was built in the late 50s-early 60s. It has a classic look and still functions perfectly. Not a battery to be seen. In my current work I am based in Prudhoe Bay Alaska. We wear a lot of clothing there. And because of that I am not always able to get to my pants pocket or a vest, because of all the clothing. So a wristwatch is the easiest to reference.
We live in a digital world. I use computers at work and at home. My iPhone becomes more important to my work life and home life all the time. My wife’s car is a marvel of imbedded computers. The Computers are all around us. And yet I own a manual shift truck from the late 80s. And I choose to wear manual watches. I like the thought of manual. I enjoy the collecting of these things from another era. It feels right to me, these old things. Pulling a watch from my pocket to check the time instead of looking at my phone. Turning my wrist to look at a device built by hand. Still working well and looking good. And as I get older I am appreciating these things more and more. I am quite nostalgic and these things give me peace. A small connection to another time and place. An enthusiasm for a man getting older and looking back more often. An enthusiasm.
The obituaries are becoming one of the first things I look for in our paper. As a man ‘of a certain age’ I look for them now to see if I knew anyone in there. And increasingly I am seeing former customers. For awhile now I have kept a list of past customers and company reps who worked with me. (I’ll post it at the end of this entry.) Most of the time I recognize the person from the obituary photo. Sometimes I recognize the name, or think I do. Sometimes I have to be reminded from another long-time friend that I may have missed someones passing. But every time I feel a twang. Sometimes it is deep remorse. Someone passed who I will miss. Sometimes its just a small sad remembrance. But each one pulls a small thread. The small thread that connects all of us. Threads that go back through time to my early days at Taylors. Maybe it was some connection to Gunnison and my father. Or maybe it was someone whom I should have known better. Should have spent more time with. Its hard to say anymore. As I age and memories come fast and furious, often I mix up times and people. I will almost certainly see people give me a long look as we pass on the street. They obviously know me, but I may not recognize them anymore. Too many years away from retail and the life in front of people. Too much time in the oil field away from real society. Sometimes a person I recognize will recognize me also. We may nod and smile. Or actually greet and shake hands. Rarely will I know their name, unless they tell me. Jenny will ask who that was, and I’ll say CFTS. Code for ‘customer from the store’. She knows what it means. The threads are getting more tenuous and thinner by the year.
Photographers Remembered – Some are passed-some are not. I may have missed obits if they have passed.
Guy Stephens owned Stephens Sporting Goods on Main Street, downtown Grand Junction. He employed LeRoy Wyler as his photo salesman. Classic guy. Unkempt, brash. He was a packrat. The counters were cluttered and unorganized, But he knew where everything was!
Al Ligrani was a local pro photographer. He was the first pro photographer to come in to GT and assist me with knowledge. Mid 80’s.
Wes Edfast. Owner of a local mortuary. A very serious customer. Later in life came in after he had a stroke. Could barely speak but I could feel he really wanted to have another photo conversation.
Gene Bruce. One of my mentors. Was manager right before I took over in ‘85. Thin and wiry. Very energetic. We had a mercurial relationship. After he quit GT he started a home business developing E6 and BW.
Frank Bietz. Another classic old timer. I worked with Frank for decades. Another unkempt, brash salesman, like Wyler. Occasionally would upset customers with his direct delivery. Was one of Genes first hires in the late 60s. Midwest Camera Supply. Passed Oct 2013.
Hans Kunz. German to the core. Tons of knowledge. A leader of one of the local photo clubs.
Gil Wenger. Great customer. Would walk in and greet us at the counter with a yodel. Later also had a stroke. Never made it out of the hospital.
Bob Bishop. Local pro. Had a very successful postcard and poster business during the 70’s and 80’s. Digital cameras killed his business in the 90’s. Now has Alzheimer’s. (2009)
Bob Grant. Longtime head photographer for Daily Sentinel. Tried to get Mt. Garfield in every one of his shots. One of my earliest customers
Dr. Morales. Local dr. big time enthusiast. Would be constantly looking for the next best camera body. Gear head. Lots of fun.
Rich Martineau. Mr. and Mrs. Photo. Short time in GJ. Cancer took him quickly.
Doc Ross. Avid photographer and very good. Incorporated his photography into his Veterans assistance. Won some awards too. Passed November 2012.
Herb Saunders. PVC Communications. Local commercial photographer and developer. Especially Cibachromes.
Dillard Jenkins. Commercial photographer. Was City Markets in-house ad photographer until they sold out to Kroger.
Dave Canady. Studio 119. Classic, big guy. Enthusiastic and genuine. Was very sharing with information.
Matt Chambers. Ran a small photo business/portrait studio for years. Always happy and fun to be around. Very involved with Scouts. Just an all-around nice guy. Passed July 2010.
I pull the cotton balls from the container and pull them apart a bit. Not all the way, but just enough to give them a new look. I then toss them on the floor. When I have enough I imagine being in an airplane and am looking down on them.
There are many different layers of these cotton balls between the Deadhorse airport and the Anchorage airport. Sometimes so thick you cannot see the earth, and other times very sparse. But they seem to be omni-present. There is hardly a completely clear 24 hour period in Prudhoe bay. It is at times completely covered by a layer of clouds. The sun is rare this close to the arctic ocean.
And there is water everywhere. Puddles turn into ponds, which keep growing until they reach the ocean. You can see them meandering their way towards something bigger. Slowly making giant S’s across the valley floor. Working from one side to the other. Sometimes the S’s meet in the middle making a shorter path to bigger things. And instantly making a small island of the cut-off section.
The many undulations of this river talk to me. They ask about some of my life choices. Why I didn’t just head straight in, but chose to meander from side to side a bit. Why have I so many layers surrounding me and only a few know whats beneath them. The answer is ahead, I guess. When I reach the ocean. The last place we visit on our journey. Perhaps it is not the last. Perhaps we turn into a vapor and rise again. Turning into another layer of cotton balls. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. Meandering just a little bit more.
Sometimes technology is too much. I love this computer age and all my gadgets, but there are times when it seems to be in the way. I wear pocket watches usually to tell time. In my new job in Prudhoe Bay it is difficult to get to my pocket at times. So I purchased a wristwatch. I haven’t worn a wristwatch in over 35 years and it is taking me a little time to get used to it. My father bought me a pocket watch for my high school graduation. And I have purchased and saved numerous pocket watches over the years. Kind of a haphazard collection.
Mancil Page was the owner of Page-Parsons Jewelry (no relation) and he started me on Wyler watches. Wyler started around the turn of the century, the one before this one, and lasted until the early 70s. The name was sold recently and they now make garish, expensive watches. But the Wylers of old were practical and simple and elegant. They don’t have an expensive brand and are not very pricey on eBay or through shops. Mancil collected them and kept me in the loop whenever he got a new one, and I returned the favor. And I now own a dozen or so pockets. The collection may never be worth anything as far as selling them, but I get a nice sense of satisfaction from them. A reminder of simpler times. It’s nice to have a watch in my pocket or on my wrist that does just one thing. And it looks good doing it! My new ( to me) watch was built in the early 1960s, like me. It is a very clean watch with very little scratching or fading. And it tells time accurately.
I write this on my iPhone. A device that does many things very well. And it can be a watch in a sense also. But it will eventually be replaced with a newer shinier model. And no one will be using this iPhone model in 50 years. But my Wylers will still work. And that is a a small satisfaction that makes me smile.
Update 11/17/16 – Norma passes. Obit at bottom.
I’ve worked with and assisted countless photographers over the decades. Many I have forgotten. Some I haven’t seen for 20 or 30 years, I can remember the faces, but not necessarily the names. One photographer I will never forget – Bob Bishop. But sadly he no longer remembers me.
When I first met Bob back in the ’80s he had come into the store looking for pricing in slide film. Not unusual, many photographers wanted to buy locally if they could. The problem was that it was almost impossible for me to match the pricing of films of the large New York retailers. As we talked I learned of his business and what he did.
Lots and lots of postcards. Back in the 60s and thru the early 90s Bob had card stands in every tourist stop and recreational retailer in a 4 state area. At our Gene Taylors in Snowmass CO. we had a Bob Bishop postcard stand. Bob would show up a few times a month in the busy seasons and refill the card rack. There were hundreds of choices and thousands of cards,
And they weren’t all just 4×6 sized either. He sold bigger versions up to an 8×10 and also a line of posters. And there was enough business in this over the years he could support his family in a comfortable fashion.
Bob kept all of his slides at home in a organizational style some would call chaotic, but he knew where they were. The best sellers he kept in a different place.
Over the years we traded gear, sometimes I sold him stuff and sometimes he sold me stuff. He was a very good photographer and used many different tools to get the exact photo he wanted. But mainly he used 35mm film gear.
One of the first successful Photo Conferences was help in Aspen. There is an amazing group photo of the instructors at this conference, Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Minor White and more. Bob was there and took photos of these groundbreaking photographers. But I can’t show it. Its copywrited and has value for future uses. But please check out Bobs website.
Bob is 93 now and age is catching up. Dementia is upon him like a warm blanket settling over his shoulders. When he looks at me there is no recognition in his eyes. All of our history is erased to him. And even Norma doesn’t really know me. She is very nice and says she does. But I am gone to her also. He talked to my wife for a good hour at his recent show at the Art Center. He told her stories of visiting the moon and war stories and other things, mostly false memories. When he and I had a chance to visit, that is when he asked me in the nicest way, “When you get to the moon, find my lens cap!” I miss you Bob. Have nice travels!
Norma Ann Bishop
February 22, 1932 – October 7, 2016
Norma Ann Bishop, of Grand Junction, died October 7, 2016, after a lengthy battle with pulmonary fibrosis and colon cancer. She was 84.
Norma was born February 22, 1932, to Rudolf “Rudy” and Rubye Steinacker in Kansas City, MO. Norma, the youngest of three, spent her childhood on a farm in Parkville, MO.
She graduated from Parkville High School where she played the saxophone in the band. Norma graduated from Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa) in Cedar Falls in 1953, with a bachelor’s degree in education with a major in art and a minor in music.
Norma started her teaching career as an art teacher in West Des Moines, Iowa. She subsequently taught in New Mexico, Japan and the Denver Metro Area before retiring from Taylor Elementary in Palisade in 1997. Norma taught elementary students in Crownpoint, N.M. on the Navajo Reservation early in her career. She took a sabbatical to teach English for two years (1986-1988) at Shokei Women’s Junior College in Sendai, Japan. Norma taught many subjects and grade levels, but she especially enjoyed teaching second grade.
Norma married Robert “Bob” Carskaddan Bishop on November 30, 1958, in Parkville. Bob, a retired professional photographer, is known for his postcard photographs. They met in Denver when Bob made a print for her in his darkroom.
Norma, who was a lifelong learner, was involved in several organizations, including the Mesa County Retired Teachers Association (MCSPERA) and the Colorado School and Public Employees Retirement Association (CSPERA). She was also a member of the Grand Mesa Macintosh Users Group (GMMUG), Western Colorado Bonsai Society, High Desert Orchid Society and the Colorado Mountain Club.
Other memberships included the Colorado National Monument Association, The Art Center in Grand Junction, Western Colorado Botanical Gardens, the Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver Art Museum and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
She enjoyed gardening, reading, traveling, music, art, ceramics, basketry, stained glass, calligraphy, botanical illustration, archaeology and genealogy. Norma was proud of her Swiss heritage. In addition to the saxophone, she played the piano, flute and handbells. Her pets over the years, a rabbit, birds, dogs and a pony, brought joy to her life.
After moving to Grand Junction in 1969, Norma was a member of the First Presbyterian Church and the First Congregational Church UCC.
During Norma’s retirement, she was a board member at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, N.M. She was a volunteer master gardener with the Colorado State University Extension Office in Mesa County. She traveled to Poland in 1998 where she briefly taught English. Other travels with her adventurous spirit included Ecuador and a number of countries in Asia and Europe. She was generous with her time as a volunteer.
Norma was preceded in death by her parents, Rudy Steinacker in 1967 and Rubye Lillian Whiteaker Steinacker in 1951; her sister, Marian Louise Fine in 2009; brother-in-law, Quentin Fine in 2012; brother-in-law, Leonard Stanford Pani in 2005; sister-in-law, Mary Bishop Pani in 1958; father-in-law, Jerome Bishop of Muscatine, Iowa in 1980, and mother-in-law, Marie Barry Brenizer also of Muscatine in 1991.
Norma is survived by her husband, Bob; daughter, Laura Bishop of Grand Junction; brother, Warren Ray Steinacker (Linda) of Glen Mills, PA; nieces, Elaine Scott (Sid), Cincy Borne (Hank), Sharon Steinacker, Eileen Fine, Sheryl Fine (John Lewis) and Marilyn Fine (Craig McCracken); nephews, Doug Stanford (Adriana), Jay Pani, John Pani (Carolyn Mervis) and Tom Pani (Suzanne), and a number of great nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, 230 East Ohio St., Suite 500, Chicago, IL 60611.
A memorial service will be held in Grand Junction in November. Burial was at Walnut Grove Cemetery November 3 in Parkville.
Arrangements were made by Meyers Funeral Chapel – Northland in Parkville and Callahan-Edfast Mortuary in Grand Junction.