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FREE MAN in Paris


In 1956 this unknown gentleman was in Paris having his photo taken by Donald G. Schnabel.



For some of us 1956 is part of our lives, but for most it's ancient history; I still have trouble wrapping my brain around that. My time line reference points are often far different than those I meet. Today I told a young man about a local joint that makes incredible old fashioned milk shakes with real ice cream that's served in the cold metal containers that it was made in. I got back a blank stare. I hit my hand against my head and said, "But of course that means nothing to you." His reference point is a corporate milk shake in a cardboard container, mine is a mom and pop place with a jukebox. 

The man in this photo was probably around my current age when this was taken, maybe even younger. Imagine his time line reference points. His memories were colored by two world wars in which Paris played a part. Now here he was walking the streets over 10 years after the last war.




Click on images to see them larger.

I didn't get to Paris for another 17 years. Looking at these photos I feel like maybe we shared the same Paris even though time had passed. There's just something about Paris.

And now one of my reference points for Paris.



This is my submission for Sepia Saturday. The only thin connection to the theme is France and not understanding the reference point for the theme photo.
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22 comments:

  1. I wasn't born in 1956!

    But how quickly time goes by!

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    1. Well there you go, reference points.

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  2. I remember my visit to Paris and walking miles and miles, visiting art museums and seeing the sights. It is a grand "old" city.

    I remember the metal can from the "mixer" milkshakes!

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    1. Aren't you glad to we remember those actual metal mixer cups instead of styrofoam?

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  3. Take satisfaction in the fact that years from now that young man who hadn't a clue what you were talking about when you mentioned milkshakes in the metal container they were whipped up in (& btw, I certainly remember those from afternoons spent after school in our local drug store with a soda fountain!) - years from now, that same young man will have his memories of days gone by & like yours to him, his to his youngers will draw a blank stare the same! So . . . ha!

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    1. Indeed, part of life; the blank stares from someone younger.

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  4. The metal mixing cups, yes! And that incredible machine they hooked them onto -- the ones that whipped the milkshake...wow!

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    1. That's what this little hole in the wall uses. The place started in the 1940s and looks basically the same as how it looked back then, judging from photos.

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  5. It seems like a lot of things (other than technology) have changed so gradually that I have a hard time realizing that they are not like they were years ago.

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    1. Just spend a little time looking through a Vermont Country Store catalogue and with each page you'll be saying, "I remember that! I remember those!"

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  6. I love those milkshakes and they are so hard to find.

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    1. You'd love these. The containers stay icy cold. I'm going to have to go there next week. It's been months since I've had one.

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  7. Donald sure got to see the world! His friend looks like someone I'd enjoy meeting. And perhaps I did, as I was in Paris in 1956 too!
    Unfortunately I was much too young to remember much and we left a year later before I was able to master any of the French language. I do recall French bread though and I've been pleased to discover when I've visited Paris in recent years that bread is still an important part of daily life in France.
    Maybe artisan organic milk shakes will become a thing again

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    1. Funny thing about the bread and the French. Around 20 years ago a local baker near where I live beat them in a world competition in Paris. It was astounding bread, but I haven't seen any on the shelves in years. I don't know if they're still in business. But it was talk in the county about how they'd won the medal.

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  8. For a while while I was in the army and posted to SHAPE Paris was my 'home town.' (1959). Shame we have not been back and have no photos to show. The city certainly had its attractions.

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    1. It is amazing how valuable photos are to our memories. I was looking through a box of my father's slides last night of when he was in Japan. Not my memories, but I know they'll bring back stories for him.

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  9. Wonderful! Especially the forehead hitting moment. How many times have we found ourselves in that situation?

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    1. The older we get…more and more. I will soon have a dent.

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  10. Our stereo still has a turntable. When my kids saw our old albums, they wanted to try it out. They had no clue how to gently place the needle on the record. It skidded across. It never occurred to me they needed instruction -- dent in the forehead!

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    1. Oh yes, indeed! A good one.

      There should be a blog to collect "Dent in the Forehead Moments."

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  11. Well, that brought back wonderful memories. But... I'm glad I lived long enough to experience the digital age :)

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