RETURN TO THE CABIN
October 23, 1959, Allentown, Pennsylvania. Yesterday I was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, after serving nearly three years. The slightly early release was a result of their not wanting to reassign overseas returnees with less than 90 days left; otherwise my time would have been up on January 14, 1960.
In celebration, five of us hired a limo for stylish travel to Chicago's Midway Airport, from which I flew to Philadelphia. My parents met me there. Arriving home in Allentown, I stripped off the uniform, had a few beers, and slept soundly.
Next morning, off to the cabin. And to a used car lot to get wheels — a yellow Nash Rambler convertible of recent vintage, which set me back 700 dollars. That's it on the right, parked at the cabin. It sorta looked like an inverted bathtub, but it ran well enough and the top went down for fresh air driving.
Winter set in and the snow fell. But the cabin had good heat, so as long as we could get cars up the dirt road the fun could go on. Whenever the pond froze over we would go skating. This was especially good at night, so we rigged up lights.
Of the countless cabin parties in the next two or three years, one of the most notorious celebrated the Beatnik movement with lots of beer and readings of very bad poetry. Excuriatingly bad poetry.
This party honored my Conquest of Mount Fuji, a feat accomplished in August 1959. The mountain's image is seen on the scroll painting in the photo above. Do not ask what the lady in the upper left corner is doing.
Gradually the cabin saw fewer parties as we all got on with our lives. By 1963 they were a thing of the past, although I still used the place once in a while. The photo above is from 1964 and shows some of my friends from New York. The guy with the rifle is Tad Wakamatsu, my counterpart at the rival Bert Stern Studio. Others, from left: Nonya Finkelstein, Bridgitte Daval, Makoto Sakai, and — on far right — Tony Daval of French Television.
In the next year or two the cabin burned down.
Interested in photography? Check out my "Assisting Avedon" blog.
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