Enthusiasms


 

 

img_5344From 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.
Hoods: Team!
[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.

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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.

Metal Dashboards


 

 

 

 

Plymouth

I like ’em rusty. And slightly dented. I like to find them abandoned in fields and backyards. I like to imagine the life they have had. I imagine Sunday drives, and trips to the market. Drive-in theaters with friends hiding in the trunk. Making out at The Point. Driving away from home for the first time, on the way to college. All these memories and more.

 

 

Aero

I’m not sure when I first started my love affair with rust, sometime in the early 70’s I guess. I’m sure my father was involved. He liked classics too. Only he liked them all shiny and spiffy. I remember a 65 Mustang convertible with a 289 V8, four on the floor, Pony interior and Rally pack. I remember a 56 Chevy two-tone Bel-Air with a 40-acre backseat. While I appreciate the glitz and glean of refurbished and meticulously kept classic vehicles, I can’t see the character in them. A long life lived. A full life of new drivers slipping clutches and grinding gears. Of 3 on the tree and hi/lo switches on the floorboards. Of real glove boxes and trunks with actual size to hold things. Things like real spare tires and tool boxes. A Sunday picnic basket with adult libations. Camping gear for a really nice 4th of July.

 

Indian

A lot of the vehicles I have photographed over the years no longer exist. Not only do I mean that the companies no longer are in business. I also mean that the cars have been towed to the junkyard. Or even worse to the scrapyard where their bones are ground to make new, unimaginative cars. . While the current choices of vehicles are much more safe, technologically advanced and far easier to drive. They seem to lack the attention to detail compared to the cars of the 50’s and 60’s. Really nice curves and meticulous chrome. Cars with real names, not numbers. Cars with emblems that you could see from across the street. Instantly recognizable. Not the ‘me-too’ cars of today. Where one companies sedan is hard to tell from anothers.

 

 

Falcon

So it is easy to see my nostalgia. How I wish that a 20 or 30 grand vehicle would bring out the passion in me. How I want a vehicle to do most everything I want to do, like my $500 ’72 Chevy Nova would. Something with really nice lines and actual hood ornaments. Less plastic and more metal. A radio I could actually adjust without having to open a manual. And a real carburetor. (heavy sigh).