52 Chapters
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Medium 9781603442015

A Taste of the Marsh

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Susan Raleigh Kaderka

AS we walked down to the saltmarsh near the observation tower on Mad Island Marsh Preserve, Cathy Porter bent over and broke off a sprig of saltwort, a spiky succulent that grows in clumps by the water’s edge. “Taste it,” she said, offering me a piece and putting a bit into her own mouth. It was an idle gesture, something she’s probably done countless times leading groups of schoolchildren on tours of this 7,000-acre Nature Conservancy preserve. She had been naming off the various species of marsh vegetation for me—seablight, Gulf cordgrass, saltmarsh bulrush—and just come across one worth tasting.

True to its name, the plant tasted salty. As Porter no doubt points out to visiting students, it is well adapted to the conditions of the Texas Gulf Coast, thriving near salt water in a sandy soil. But as I chewed it, a different landscape suddenly came to mind. For a moment, I was back in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, where I lived up to the age of six.

Like most children growing up in the late 1950s, I spent almost all of my free time outdoors. This habit was not evidence of any special affinity for nature. It did not prefigure my later work in wildlife conservation. It was not unique to me at all; it was what everyone did. Childhood pretty much took place out of doors. If you were indoors, it meant it was raining, or nighttime, or, later, that you were in school. Even in winter we played outdoors, bundled up in hooded snowsuits, rubber boots, and mittens. Snapshots of my sister and me in the snowy field opposite our house show us smiling out at the camera from jackets so thick our arms stuck out from our sides. But unquestionably we were outside.

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Hooked on Rivers

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Myron J. Hess

I LOVE being outdoors. Those rare times when I am able to step back from the frenzied pace of everyday life and feel in rhythm with nature give me an incredible sense of peace, of calmness. And, if you throw in a flowing river or stream, I can get close to achieving a state of nirvana. The love of nature came early. The appreciation of the special role of flowing streams developed a bit later.

As the youngest of seven children growing up in Cooke County in rural North Texas near the Oklahoma border at a time when TV watching was still an occasional event and computer games were science fiction material, I spent the bulk of my early childhood outside. When my siblings were home, I followed them around as much as they would let me. When they had all started school and I was still at home, the yard became my preschool and kindergarten classroom. Fortunately for me, farmyards can be incredibly interesting places: chickens and ducks to observe, ground squirrels and lizards to stalk, insects and toads to catch, and bird and mouse nests to discover. I think my dad was relieved to see me start school so he didn’t have to spend so much of his time answering my questions about what I had found or seen, and he could get back to farming full time.

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17 Where Are the German PWs?

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

Huge PW enclosure. Some 2,600 are being held here. Their two meals a day come from a supply of regular German Army rations captured in a nearby warehouse.

On Leipzig-Frankfurt Autobahn—16 May ’45

GIs make civilian prisoners clear them a ballfield. The Germans and Poles were caught stealing cigarettes and other rations. MG had them locked up till this better use was found for their time.

Neuhaldensleben, Ger—21 May ’45

“MG” means Military Government.

German PWs sweep the street in front of the new 102 Inf Div CP. The modern building was a German Finanzamt or Fiscal Office.

Gotha, Ger—2 June ’45

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On the Banks of the Bayous Preserving Nature in an Urban Environment

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Mary Ellen Whitworth

AS I sit on the banks of Buffalo Bayou waiting for the bats to emerge at Waugh Street Bridge, it is hard to imagine that this bayou was once the source of drinking water for the city of Houston. Early settlers pumped the springs dry, polluted the bayou, and logged the beautiful magnolias that lined the banks. Today, during dry weather, the sediment-laden flow is mostly treated wastewater effluent.

Yet a canoe trip down this bayou still reveals its hidden beauty. Although rare, a few large forested tracts remain, such as those at Memorial Park and St. Mary’s Seminary. These provide much-needed habitat for the variety of birds and mammals that depend on the bayou. Pines and oaks line the remaining banks, which are still subject to severe erosion. As the bayou winds through downtown, thanks to the work of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, the banks have been “laid back” and planted to add beauty and protection. The water quality still does not meet state standards for protecting the health of people recreating in the water, but it is good enough to support a wide variety of fish and bottom-dwelling organisms. Raccoons, possums, armadillos, rabbits, coyotes, and alligators have all been spotted on the banks.

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Leaving a Water Legacy for Texas

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Ann Thomas Hamilton

THE color of the water was like fresh-brewed orange pekoe tea—clear dark amber. The river was originally named Lumbee, from an Indian word meaning “black water.” Upon submerging my wiry little white body into the slow-moving current, my skin instantly took on a brown tone—the same color as that of the Lumbee Indians who long ago inhabited North Carolina’s Inner Banks region. One of my fondest childhood memories was of swimming in the river with my sister and cousins during warm summer days when we visited our grandparents in Lumberton in eastern North Carolina. Lumberton, the town where my mother was born, was founded in 1789 and named after the river. I truly believe my love affair with the mystery of naturally flowing water came from those sublime summers in that river some sixty years ago.

Because Lumberton was near the Carolina coast, the family would also visit a beach near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the site of the first airplane flight by Orville and Wilbur Wright. Of course, this historic site did not mean much to a little girl who loved the water. I just leaped into the Atlantic Ocean with great abandon without any understanding that the water from the Lumber River on the Inner Banks permeated downstream through the rich coastal marshes and wetlands before becoming a part of this vast ocean on the Outer Banks. It was the crashing waves, the sand, the salt filling my nostrils, eyes, and mouth that captured me as I floated tirelessly day after day in the invigorating surf.

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12 People on the Move following Victory in Europe, May 7

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

Part of the lineup waiting to cross a narrow bridge. Traffic was one way at a time and very slow. The VE Day news is out, and many of these people are former slave laborers making a break for it.

Weissenfels, Ger—8 May ’45

Young German farm folk, looking a bit amused at the prospect of having their pic taken. They are stopped at a checking station at the end of town and an MP is investigating their wagonload behind for stowaways etc.

Sangershausen, Ger—11 May ’45

The CIC and Photo Units of 3d Armd. pause for a rest and ration stop on the autobahn to Frankfurt.

Between Sangerhausen and Frankfurt, Ger—12 May ’45

Presumably in VE Day glee, American fighters swarm playfully over Frankfurt.

Near Frankfurt, Ger—12 May ’45

Wreckage in the streets of Frankfurt am Maine. The nuns wearing packs and carrying suitcases appear to be on the move to some more habitable city or place of greater need.

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Medium 9780253353627

3: Luminosity ~ Inner Light

Henry Plummer Indiana University Press ePub

3

LUMINOSITY ~ INNER LIGHT

Corner of Attic Center Family Dwelling House South Union, Kentucky

MAXIMUM FENESTRATION

In their efforts to squeeze as much daylight as possible into buildings, Shakers pierced the outer walls with closely spaced windows, allowing illumination to stream in from every side. As the most sacred place in the Shaker settlement, and the nearest thing to heaven on earth, the meetinghouse was made especially airy and bright by a continuous band of repeating windows. But rendered almost as porous, and at times cathedral-like, were utilitarian buildings such as laundries and machine shops, tanneries and poultry houses, mills and barns.

Circles of Windows on Tree Different Levels Round Barn (1826, rebuilt 1865) Hancock, Massachusetts

Meetingroom Windows Meetinghouse (1792–93, moved from Shirley to Hancock 1962) Hancock, Massachusetts

INTERIOR SHUTTERS

The internal shutters with which windows are equipped at Canterbury and Enfield permit a range of lighting adjustments. At Enfield's dwelling house, a four-shutter system allows each panel to be operated independently, or in combination with others, so that light can be regulated at will, like a camera aperture, according to weather, temperature, and human activity. When the shutters are opened, they fold back and disappear into window reveals.

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16 Relations between US Soldiers and German Civilians

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

Careful there, soldier, that is fraternizing with the enemy, which isn’t legal. Rumor has it, though, that all but a few of the MPs have left for the new area at Gotha, so you’re quite safe. Then, too, your spot is such that trouble can be spotted quite a distance away.

Gardelegen, Ger—28 May ’45

GI hands a morsel of food out to eager child. In many places they haunt mess-gear laundries, carrying a can for food and one for coffee. The fellows soon get used to pouring the leftover coffee from their cups into the container held out and allowing the food in their mess gear to be picked over before dumping into garbage cans.

Regensberg, Ger—mid-Sept ’45

Children everywhere it seems, and many of them. Fellows like them and find most are intelligent and surprisingly healthy.

Regensberg, Ger—mid-Sept ’45

GIs leaving German Church after their Service walk between a double line of children waiting to go in for their Sunday School. Carrying a weapon to church was a strange experience.

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6 Civilians during the War

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

An old shepherd leads his sheep out to pasture while GIs watch the show.

Blankenheim, Ger—25 April ’45

T/3 Jack Kitzero had a little after-dinner sport with a German youngster. She and a handful of others were eager to play and got a particular kick out of my helmet and liner. They scrambled for the chance to swing between our arms as we headed back to the billets.

Blankenheim, Ger—25 April ’45

Old duffer sits and puffs contentedly on his pipe. He speaks to us of a brother he has in the States.

Marktleuthen, Ger—28 April ’45

Main street of this city—its only straight stretch. It’s 2:30 in the afternoon and the military curfew keeps all civilians off the street. A “Dog’s Life” is not so bad in this case.

Marktleuthen, Ger—29 April ’45

The street has quickly come alive now. Everybody’s busy shopping and visiting while their time lasts. Curfew rules allow them onto the streets only from 8 to 9 in the morning and 4 to 5 in the afternoon.

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9 Gardelegen Atrocity

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

On the day before US Forces took Gardelegen, over a thousand slave laborers were burned and shot to death here. They were herded into a barn, the floor of which was covered with gasoline-soaked straw. A grinning 16 yr. old SS boy struck the match. Victims who tried to smother the flames or escape the barn were shot—machine guns being emplaced around the building. About one in twenty was identified as Jewish.

Near Gardelegen, Ger—20 May ’45

Mayors were brought from all the towns in Gardelegen County, made to view the 300 charred bodies and the makeshift grave for the other 700. All able-bodied males in the city of Gardelegen were forced to exhume the bodies in mass graves and bury all in individual plots with white crosses.

Near Gardelegen, Ger—20 May ’45

Sign marking the cemetery entrance. As it implies, each grave has a Gardelegen family charged with keeping it forever beautiful. As we were leaving this area on May 30 the British, who had taken over, saw to it that flowers were placed on each grave.

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Medium 9781574412154

A Tear in the Lens

Photographs by Tammy Cromer-Campbell. Essays by Phyllis Glazer, Roy Flukinger, Eugene Hargrove, and Marvin Legator University of North Texas Press PDF

A Tear in the Lens

Roy Flukinger

Sometimes the well dent is visible, where once a spring oozed; now dry and tearless grass; or it was covered deep, not to be discovered till some late day, with a flat stone under the sod, when the last of the race departed. What a sorrowful act must that be, the covering up of wells! coincident with the opening of wells of tears. These cellar dents, like deserted fox burrows, old holes, are all that is left where once were the stir and bristle of human life … henry david thoreau, Walden

The great educator Robert Coles was once showing the work of a number of Farm Security

Administration photographers—those lean and rich documents of America in the 1930s—to some young students. One student in particular, Lawrence Jefferson, was drawn to the work of Marion Post Wolcott—one of the less well-known but perhaps the most ethically committed of all these federal photographers. Coles was curious to know why and Jefferson had a succinct but telling response: “She’s more upset with what’s wrong than anyone else.”

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Postcard

Byrd M. Williams IV University of North Texas Press ePub

BYRD WILLIAMS SENIOR, A TENNESSEAN ENTREPRENEUR, sold his hardware store in 1880 and moved to Texas for a new economic start. Byrd purchased a small farm and then promptly opened a hardware/dry goods/general store on the south side of the square in Gainesville, Texas, where he hawked a wide variety of products including photographic items. He began to shoot his own photographs, printing them on the new Kodak postcard stock and offering them for sell on his counter top: The BYRD photography endeavor started here.

Byrd's vendor franchises supplied him with all the latest in darkroom paraphernalia, viewing devices, and archiving materials such as fancy family photo albums. By the time the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago rolled around in 1893 the hobby of postcard collecting was in full tilt. Around this time, the US government lowered the postage rate on cards to a penny. The “craze” became an industry.

Small towns could not, for economic reasons, attract the large-scale publishing companies that might invest in “Eiffel Tower-type” tourist postcards. The equipment and materials were available to produce small runs of local interest postcards, so Byrd and his sons began to roam the state in search of regional tourist attractions.

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The Great Depression

Byrd M. Williams IV University of North Texas Press ePub

Byrd III's diary

BYRD III WAS A JOURNALISM STUDENT at Texas Christian University from 1933 through 1937. He started photography in the early 1920s with a crummy, mail order toy camera and eventually acquired a Foth Derby, allowing a more detailed view of his visual experiences. The world was his now, and from that moment on he photographed continually around his neighborhood in south Fort Worth. During the Great Depression he shot extensively in the central business district of Fort Worth with his newly acquired Leica. Dad really hit his stride as an artist during this period, utilizing the sort of high modernist, decisive moment image structure prevalent at the time.

It was during this period that an adventuresome spirit took hold and, without warning, he ran off to the Great Lakes and settled in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He never talked much about this part of his life. I know from his diaries and photographs that he married briefly, bought an unfinished wooden sailboat to live on, and gave his best effort at being a writer/photographer/journalist.

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Texas Rivers and Tributaries

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

I HAVE photographed the living waters of Texas for over twenty years, but at the beginning of my photography career I was more interested in places like the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and the mysterious slot canyons of southeastern Utah. I took pictures in Texas only when I stopped to rest during the long trips out west. But as the good images piled up, I found the streams and springs of my home state, from the West Fork of the Frio River or the wetlands of Aransas Wildlife Refuge to the Neches River bottomlands and the watery canyons of Big Bend Ranch State Park, to be the most extraordinary places of all. And I know there is much more to be found on private land, like a waterfall I have seen in deep East Texas that has never been photographed and doesn’t even have a name.

Yet just as Edward Curtis photographed the “vanishing Indians” one hundred years ago, I sense that I am photographing the vanishing waters of Texas. The Rio Grande in Big Bend is now more like the “Rio Poco,” the Middle Fork of the Pease River has dried up, and Jacob’s Well in the Hill Country stopped flowing for the first time in 2000. Larry McKinney, in his 1973 essay “Troubled Water,” states that “of the original 31 large springs (in Texas), only 17 remain. None of those springs stopped flowing because of natural causes.”

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Photographs

Byrd M. Williams IV University of North Texas Press ePub

WALKING INTO THIS ARCHIVE is to walk among the dead. Many I knew and many I am just getting to know through their words and faces, but now I am one of the last remaining survivors in this Borgesian library of images. It was fiendishly comical when I noticed the irony of what has taken place: Middle class transubstantiation. Instead of bread and wine turning into the body and blood of Christ, four generations of my forebears’ bodies and blood have turned into paper and silver.

For me, photography is about death. It didn't used to be, but I'm sixty-four and everybody in the room is dead and I can't remember why I was so obsessed with saving their lives in two-dimensional facsimile. Perhaps all these years I have been trying to nail down what Ian McEwen refers to as our brief spark of consciousness.

It was never about the money; I could have done better mowing lawns. There was always this urgency about it: save all historic buildings, remember all the faces, stand on all the street corners, save everybody's toilet, share my experience with posterity, I was alive goddammit.

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