Searching for the kids

I accompanied a friend, John Fasulo, on his quest to locate three subjects of a photograph he had taken some thirty-six years ago in Canaan, Connecticut.  The image was taken around 1974 of three boys playing on a caboose outside the Canaan Railroad Station.  The photograph reaffirms the art of discovery and the innocents of youth.  So does the search.

John’s photograph can’t help but bring back memories of a simpler time when milk was delivered in bottles and children could still play tag in their neighborhood at dusk. Heck in some towns the milkman had a key to the back door and put it in the refrigerator for the owners. Ours just opened a small door that could be reached from a kitchen cupboard.

John’s research led to the local insurance agent who in his youth had played on the wooden deck of the rail station and had scampered the height of the water tower.  It’s what kids do in a small town.  He knew instantly that the photograph was of two brothers and their best friend that were a year or so older than he. This was later confirmed by his wife and a few more relatives.

We slid into one of the six booths at the Collin’s Diner across from the old rail depot where a small sign under the window noted that if busy, you would be asked to move to one of the 17 vacant stools at the counter, saving the booths for a party of four.

“Go ahead and just push the seat back!  No, use your rear and push the seat back if you need more room!”  I blanked out…Mom?  But peeking through one eye, it was the waitress giving me a realty check with that same impish smile that likely dated back to the diners opening day.

The 1941 national historic landmark diner has been the subject of articles in Yankee Magazine, New York Times and the, Boston Globe. It was picture perfect in realist painter Ralph Goings work “Collin’s Diner”.

“That looks like John Marshall, brothers, Chris and Peter Clark.  Peter lives just up the road and you take the road that drops down to the right” said the waitress reaching for the photograph.

“There use to be an old still up there.  It’s where I took my first drink.  It was grappa” reminisced the older woman at the counter. 

At a time when age, experience, craftsmanship seem to have little worth in today’s workplace. It feels good to know after three decades John found his kids and seven decades later the Collin’s still offers the same bacon, cheeseburger, fries, coke; a place for the locals to think about the simpler times.  Just a place where they remember your name.

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BLINK: Photographer John Fasulo

John Fasulo has worked as a network television cameraman for over twenty-three years.

Based in New York City his resume includes Inside Edition, Geraldo, and Rush Limbaugh.  He worked as both a producer and cameraman on On the River which focused on the history and environmental challenges of the Hudson River.

Retired, John lives with his wife and daughter in Beacon, NY.

John takes the time to talk about his documentary work as art and his voice.

Before the COOL runs out:

Over the past few weeks I’ve been enjoying discussions about photography and the images of those who came before us with friend and fellow photographer, John Fasulo.  John’s mentor is David Plowden who has documented America’s past in such books as Imprints, Vanishing Point and A handful of Dust.

This past week we lost two of the greats in Charles Moore and Jim Marshall.  One I had met and one I know through his body of work and gracious friendship to Adam Wright a young photographer/publisher who’s ground-breaking images in HAULER and ROAD COURSE magazines have developed a large cult following (a new book is on the horizon.)

Old house jacks "Old age is no place for sissies." -Bette Davis-

There must be about fifty years of experience that separates the oldest to the youngest of this group, all sharing the common bond of recording elements of our society that teeter on the edge of disappearing.

Trains, motorcycles, wood or rusted metal we all seem gravitate to subjects reflective of age and just plain cool… Adam may have said it best, “I strictly just do it for me.”