Manila, Philippines. September, 1957. Everyone in this photo had an extraordinary story to tell. I wouldn’t hear any of those stories until I was older. If they’d worn costumes I would have asked questions, but nobody ever did that at dinner parties.
In 1918, at the age of eighteen, Ty Norton (not present) boarded a ship in San Francisco to take a farm job at a Philippine pineapple plantation. We knew a man who flew with the Flying Tigers in Burma. A few of my parents’ friends were in Manila when the Japanese invaded. A man assigned the postwar task of destroying U.S. military equipment instead diverted jeeps and trucks into the black market. Years later, he was described as something of a gangster, but he didn’t look or act the part. Who would have guessed?
Not me. I was a little kid. Intrepid adventurers. Captains of industry. Deal-makers. Diplomats. Soldiers. Spies. Entrepreneurs. Rascals. Romeos. Workers. Parents. Church-goers. Sophisticates. Philosophers. Artists. Athletes.
It was a variety show, the likes of which I will never see again.
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It was an amazing time! And we mostly took it for granted because it’s the only world we saw. The yacht club? Yes, it’s over there. The Polo club – sure, you can see horses and occasionally men actually playing polo, probably a lot of fun to do, but not the best spectator sport. A WWII PT boat converted to an inter-island work boat/yacht? Yea, we got one.
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