Saturday, February 05, 2005

June 4, 1944 (6/4/02)

I am always mindful of the anniversaries of important historical events, and this is one I have been thinking about a lot lately, especially during the past week or so. I even talked about it with Sheila last night. It was overshadowed at the time by D-Day, which took place two days later, but it is an event worthy of remembrance nonetheless. This was the day Rome, the Eternal City, was liberated by the Allies. I remember seeing pictures of Sherman tanks rolling past the Colisseum, and I thought of them last week when we passed the Colisseum ourselves. (The marathon route in the 1960 Olympics also passed the venerable old edifice, so at the same time and place, I also thought of Abebe Bikila, running barefoot on his way to the gold medal.) Anyway, I consider it among the crowning blessings of my life that I have never had to participate in a war; but if I ever had to do so, I would want to be involved in an event such as this.

I stopped at Albertson's a short while ago and picked up our first batch of pictures from Italy, while at the same dropping off two additional rolls of film. (We will have 11 by the time we are through.) Sheila will be pleased to learn later today that her new camera, which she purchased for the trip, has served her well. One of the two rolls already processed was taken by her, mostly in and around the Piazza della Signoria. (One day, while I was wandering around elsewhere in Florence, she went there and just hung around for several hours, watching the people. She said she loved it.) She took a couple of pictures of me at Santa Margherita Church, and they turned out well enough, notwithstanding their subject matter. (I mean myself, not the church!) I am not at all photogenic, and hate having my picture taken. But I loved that little church, and stopped there as many as three or four times every day we were in Florence.) The other roll was taken with my camera, mostly in Ravenna. I was going through the pictures an hour or so ago and suddenly had my breath taken away by a couple of photos I took at the Neonian Baptistry; they were of the Byzantine mosaic depicting the baptism of Christ, which in turn was surrounded by portraits of the twelve apostles. Both pictures turned out splendidly, and if I had centered one of them a little better, it would have made a fine postcard. I took the pictures with 400-ASA film -- I never used a flash in Italy except in one or two cases where I used Sheila's camera -- and it reproduced the colors beautifully. I could not believe how well those pictures turned out, and I was tickled pink by what I had done. I have often thought of taking up photography as a serious hobby, and this was additional encouragement to do so. Some of the other pictures may be interesting, too -- including one I took, also in Ravenna, of an Italian parking meter.

Closed-circuit to my sister: I'm going to pick out my favorite pictures when we get all 11 rolls of film developed, and put these in an album and send them along to you. It will probably take a couple of months, but that can then be your birthday present. However, I may make some extra copies of the ones of those mosaics, and send them along to you forthwith. These are so good that I just have to share them right away.

Ciao a tutti,



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