While at Bay View Hospital during my internship, there was a Japanese gardener. He spoke very little English and he was the minds eye image of Mr. Miyagi. Ron Sanker was the other D.O. intern with me and there was Gerald Haldeman D.O., surgical resident, Roland Hardin, radiology resident, and Jack Lasky, resident in anesthesia. There was another surgical resident, Robert something or other…who never got to actually Do any surgery that I saw, but he would sit in his fold-up rocking chair in house-staff quarters, and watch surgical movies and hum. I never did know what happened to him after he completed his residency. Anyway….I am so sorry i don’t remember his name, but one day, the gardener came up to our quarters, located on the 4th floor of this old mansion. He carried an intricately carved and inlaid wooden box, and a board. In the box were little round stones…real stone, not plastic…one side white, the other, black. He then proceeded to try to teach me the game of GO. Oi! between me being totally non-understanding of the game and of his very limited English…I never did learn and I regret it, if only for his sake. It was my first close encounter of one of a very different language, but of a different civilization. I gained from that experience.
4/5/12 A few years ago here in Virginia, stormy weather was happening. I got a phone call from Wes Graham telling me to look on my computer at the weather report. My computer (PC) had died only minutes before he called and I was not able to do as he suggested. He said, well, you better watch out because there’s a tornado nearby. I hung up the phone and walked out on my front porch to look at the weather. Now, my house is a log cabin and the front door opens onto a porch which extends to the right but on the left, the dining room of the cabin extends forward another 10 feet so that you see logs on the left as you leave the front door. From the porch, I can see my neighbors about 150 yards away and down a low grade. My front lawn extends a couple hundred feet down that way and maybe 50 ft from the dining room window looking still down towards the neighbors there is a grape arbor. As I opened the door and in one continuous motion stepped out onto the front porch, I heard the train…a train Does go across the bottom of the hollow and at right angles. The tracks are about 400 yards away. It wasn’t the train. It was that train sound that everybody who has experienced a tornado tells about, and it was loud. Looking down towards the lawn, I could not see the lawn. I saw what looked like a sideways waterfall from left to right…I couldn’t see the lawn, I couldn’t even see the grape arbor 50 ft away. My mind said, Oh, I have to get a picture of this and I turned slightly to go back into the house, but in the same train, I thought Oh…I might ruin the camera and turned back to the scene…but it was gone. It happened that fast. Later I discovered a small apple tree that was to the left side of the house…had tilted about 30-40 degrees. The tree stayed that way..it didn’t pull the roots up and tilt, it simply tilted. Within a few minutes we were told the tornado had touched down in Big Stone Gap, about 30 miles north and east of me…and caused upwards of 4 million dollars in damage. I was incredibly lucky to have stood that close and have myself And my house…still intact.
4/12/12 I was living in Tampa and had a friend John Harrington who was a redneck collector. He knew his antiques uncommonly well from my perspective. He could look at a basket woven by indians and tell what tribe and age of the basket. He had the largest bottle collection of ?? bottles (can’t recall that word) but they each had a distinctive shape and according to him, very expensive. He also had the largest collection of brass candlesticks I ever saw. So, he was telling me about being allowed to go into a big building in downtown Tampa to collect the green marble that was lining the hallways, as well as some antique bath fixtures. I couldn’t understand the situation and he had me drive him to downtown and show me the project. A construction company was tearing down a full city block in preparation for a newer building. This one was 30 stories high and almost complete in the demolition. John went and talked to the boss of the company and I told him I’d enjoy taking some pics of things falling to the wrecking ball. He told me that since I was in a suit and dress coat that I should go home and change and come back in the evening. The building was obviously old and the vertical I beams that it was built around were about 30 feet apart. looking down on the building one would see 4 squares of building between the I beam structure. (A bit hard to communicate this). They had cut thru the cement and brick of the building to expose the I beam fully at the ground level and partially up about the 4th or 5th story. Seeing me arrive the boss had the crew arrange lights so I could see it better and using Tri-X for black and white, get better images. I was about 80 feet from the bottom I beam. A man used a cutting torch and cut all the way thru the I beam. Then a guy put a cable around it and attached one end around the I beam and the other end to a bull dozer about 75 feet away. The idea was that pulling this out would cause that inner 1/4th square to collapse and they wouldn’t have to use the wrecking ball. All around the square block on the opposite side of the road the stores etc had plywood covering the windows to prevent them from damage with flying debris. It is now after dark and the cutting took over 1/2 hr. The lights positioned were nicely lighting the entire area. The boss was half way between me and the building, his son was on the bulldozer and he started to pull on the cable. He simply bent the huge I beam and nothing else happened. So, they put another guy on the end of the wrecking ball crane and lifted him up to the other exposed I beam and he put another cable around the I beam at this level. Again the guy pulled with the dozer and then the group of people behind me started to scream! Thru my camera eyepiece, I could see building collapsing and I started snapping photos. I didn’t have a motor drive then so each exposure required a manual film advancement. Then I saw the boss running towards me and I realize that just that one square part of the building was not falling, It was, in fact, the entire 4 segments or all that was left of the whole building coming down and right now! I seriously thought I was going to die. Within portions of seconds, I could not see 4 feet. I snapped as many as I could and then put my camera under my shirt and then had to put the shirt over my full face in order to breathe. Some lady behind me started screaming a mans name…turns out she was the wife of the son driving the bulldozer and when we could see, the bricks were on the dozer. With a lot of difficulty I followed her and his Dad to the dozer and the son had seen the building coming down and jumped off the dozer in time. Nobody was hurt but within a very few minutes every police car and ambulance in the city was coming into the area from all directions and was it ever loud! I made it to my car and drove home and developed the film right away. I called the Tampa Tribune and asked if they wanted pictures of the occasion. They told me they already had a guy down there taking pix. I know for a fact I was the only one in the area with a camera, so I called the Tampa Times and offered them the pix. I was given a two page spread in the paper….and $14.00 for the film. No wonder news photographers are having a rough time. And then, the pix were used in a law suit against the construction company. When/if I ever get to scanning b/w film..I know you’ll enjoy these pix. Major adrenaline rush for sure!