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MY BRUSH WITH HISTORY

The Camera Enthusiast

February 2024
1min read

GETTING A STRANGE PICTURE AT CARLISLE BARRACKS

It was 1938 and I was 11 years old. My father, a captain in the Medical Corps Reserve, had to put in two weeks every summer on active duty. This year he was assigned to Carlisle Barracks, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He decided to take me with him.

While Dad was marching and learning, I wandered freely around the barracks with my box Brownie, taking what turned out to be terrible pictures. A major in the Japanese army was taking far better ones. He had been invited to Carlisle by the U.S. Army. Ambulances, field hospitals, even Army boots became subjects for him. It didn’t occur to me to wonder why. The major developed the pictures himself at night in his room at the guesthouse where I was also staying. He and I became good friends. He was always solicitous and polite.

Now, more than 60 years later, I have come to realize that the major was probably a spy. Regardless, I remember him fondly.

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