John Palcewski (forioscribe) wrote,
John Palcewski

A Silk Map

It’s always a bit of a surprise to look through old photos and encounter yourself in a situation or place you barely remember. This was the home of Major Leon Hensel, commander of the headquarters squadron of the SAC 4128th Strategic Wing, in the officer’s housing area of Amarillo AFB, Texas, in December, 1963. He had offered to host a reception for my bride and me after our wedding. I was half drunk that whole day because I knew deep down I was unfit to handle the responsibilities of a husband, a potential father. But you know how it is, you just plunge recklessly ahead anyway, because that’s what immature males feel compelled to do.

Thirty years later, I took my daughter Lara to Manhattan. We visited Lenox Hill Hospital up on Park Avenue, where I witnessed her birth. Then we went to see the apartment on the upper West Side, where she spent her infancy and I began my career as a photojournalist. It was cold that day, so I lent her my leather bombadier’s jacket. Its lining was made of one of the silk maps of Europe pilots used to carry on sorties during WWII.


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