Camera Familia #14 — John Dyer Writes

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.

Readers are invited to share memories, stories, observations, whatever, in the comments below. If you’re enjoying these essays, please subscribe to receive notifications.

One thought on “Camera Familia #14 — John Dyer Writes

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  1. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

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