I’ve always been amazed by my father’s dad, even though I have very few memories spending time with him. My “Poppy” was a career photographer for National Geographic. He was born before the turn of the century (February 24, 1898… have you ever known anyone from the 1800’s?!) in a rural town in Delaware that even today only boasts a few hundred residents. He raised his family in Washington DC and got to travel the world for his work (long before traveling the world was something you actually did). These are all things that I find particularly fascinating and I have discovered we even have a few parallels in our lives. Except, he was a rather short man and I’m basically what you call basketball height (5’9″ is about the tallest you’ll see on the court, right?).
A scene along Lago di Maggiore
Of all those attributes, his long-standing career with National Geographic is probably the most interesting to me (and one I’m happy to brag about). On a whim one day (several years ago), my sister-in-law, Jessica googled his name and was surprised at the results. Over 400 of his images appeared on websites like art.com and others (I’m still researching how I can lay claim to the royalties… lawyers feel free to message me). Jessica conspired with Jen and they surprised me with an huge print of one of his 1950’s Washington DC images (I was living downtown at the time). Since Jen’s parents, Dominic and Diane had just purchased their condo in the Lake Como, Jessica and Diane also purchased one of his more famous 1950’s lake images in order to surprise me twice, as well as Jen. When the gifts were presented, my dad, beaming with pride ran out of the room for a moment and came back with the two original copies of National Geographic magazines that contained those exact images. I kept one magazine with my image at my home in Washington DC, and we took the other magazine to Dominic and Diane’s condo in Italy to be with the print that now hangs above our bed.
My grandfather’s photo that appeared in the August 1950 issue of National Geographic
It still tickles me that when I wake up and ask Jen, “what do you want to do today” – the answer might be something like, “let’s go to Switzerland”. What a great idea!
Our home in Lake Como, Italy is very near the Swiss-Italian border. We have always been fond of a neighboring lake town, Lugano, Switzerland. Since the trip is only about 30 minutes, the idea to hop over the border for lunch appealed to us quite a bit.
Switzerland is a beautiful country with some of the most breathtaking landscapes you’ll see. The most interesting thing [to us] about Switzerland is that it’s a country that in many respects, assumes the identity of its neighboring countries. It is a landlocked country bordered by Germany, France, Italy and Austria. The Swiss do not have their own language; each Swiss “region” instead adopts the tongue of the closest neighboring country (either German, French or Italian). Additionally, the food served in each region follows the same trend of marrying the food of it’s neighbor-country. However, we have found that the architecture seems to be uniquely Swiss throughout most of the country. Despite not having a shared language or cuisine, the Swiss have found a strong sense of pride in their country and it’s ideals.