Camera Familia #19 — John Dyer Writes

Manila, Philippines. Circa 1957. Hard times make people grow up faster, a quality that can often be seen in photographs. My siblings were born in 1941, at the beginning of World War II. Some of their peers were toddlers at the Santo Tomas prison camp during the Japanese occupation.

A few, like my brother, arrived in Manila half-grown, rough and tough. Mike used to hang around the Manila Yacht Club waiting for members to get off work. He crewed sailboats, raced dinghies, explored the caves at Corregidor, and put some adventure under his belt.

My shift started during the prime rib buffet. Mike left for college. Our parents played golf. Mom was in art class. My cousins were hunting, fishing, racing jalopies around the back roads without drivers licenses, but they were half a planet away. There was nobody to show me how to do those things.

I’m not complaining. I had a great life growing up. My wife says she’s jealous. Mind you, she was riding motorcycles at the age of eleven. I could easily be jealous of that.

In the photo on the left, my brother Mike dancing with our stepsister Carolyn. On the right, their friends, also sixteen years old, looking way more grown up than I did at that age.

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