James

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My Scrapbook

Tuesday, November 19, 1968

Reb was now receiving mail from Margaret twice a week.  She shared the news of her newly-named “Mark’s Cafe.”  The collaboration of their photos/sketches was on display.  This new motif redefined the coffee lounge as a friendly hangout for veterans and families.  There was a prominent exhibit of her twin brother, Mark’s military service and sacrifice.

At mail call Reb received another package of photos.  This batch had new content and was slightly different in quality.  All the images were of women, either with a young child or toddlers, and the 8″ X 10″ prints were a little grainy (format).

I asked if Margaret had changed cameras, and he said, “Oh no, these aren’t her photos.  They were taken by James.”  Apparently there was now another collaborator, and Reb was good with this development.

James was wounded in Vietnam and had served in the same unit as Mark.  After being discharged from the Australian Army, he was starting a new career as a photographer.  Margaret was his mentor.

This situation didn’t bother Reb.  Margaret gave the reassurance of James having a lady friend, and this arrangement had something to do with honoring Mark’s service.  The women in the photos were all war widows with their fatherless children.  Margaret had intentions of respecting the families of the fallen (further defining the Cafe).

Reb’s sketches were far better than James’ photos.  The challenge was for Reb to blend the two formats into a coherent work of art.  His passion for sketching came from his father’s disparaging remarks about his art, “You need to stop wasting your life and get a real job.” *

*  See previous blog, “New Mess Deck Approved” March 11, 1968

Next Edition:  Funerals

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