Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lee E. Nordahl - Memorial Day 2012

To honor them all - through him - Lest we forget.

You have seen this First Day Cover before. I posted it HERE in 2009. That Veteran's Day was an anniversary of sorts, but Veteran's Day to all of us none the less. Memorial Day is different. It isn't a day to go to the lake, or enjoy a picnic out of doors. Perhaps it never should be.

Several months ago, I received an email from a gentleman by the name of Nicholas Thrasher. He is the Editor and Art Director for the premier publication of the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation, called aptly Foundation.  The last link will allow you to preview a recent copy of the magazine, but it doesn't happen to be the most recent issue.

Mr. Thrasher had found my envelope doing a Google Search. He was extremely interested in getting in touch with Lee's family for a photograph and and also interested in using my art work within an upcoming article in the Foundation magazine entitled "The loss of Flint River 604". It is the story of the flight and subsequent downing of the RVAH-13 Vigilante aircraft with Lieutenant Commander Guy D. Johnson and Lieutenant JG Lee E. Nordahl aboard. Included in the article are aerial photos of the mission's intended flight path, including the home leg to the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk, photographs of the aircraft itself, as well as photographs of LtC Johnson, and LtJG Nordahl.

Also included in the article (I just recently received complimentary copies of the magazine) is the narrative of how I came to complete my tribute to Lee.

The short story is that Lee's mother was still alive in 1995, and living in Wolf Point, Montana, with Lee's sister. They at the time made an almost 500 mile trip from Wolf Point to Choteau, Montana, for Memorial Day services at the Choteau cemetary. I not only had the envelopes cancelled in Choteau (Lee's hometown), but I was also able to give one of them to Lee's mother.

Until I got in touch with her in 1995, she had not opened Lee's seabag, which had been returned to her after both he and Johnson were declared MIA. She kindly allowed her daughter to photocopy his dogtags so that I could portray them as part of my art work for the POW-MIA stamp issue.

Not a Memorial Day passes without my remembering what Memorial Day really means to me, and what it means to those who hold memories of their fallen heroes. God Rest them all.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Borsalino - Good enough for Charlie Russell

In the previous post I covered a little bit of history regarding Borsalino Hats, but I neglected to tell you a little about Giuseppe Borsalino, the founder of this world famous hat company.

One of the first, if not the first industrialist of any stripe in Europe to have a pension plan AND health insurance for his employees, his hats went worldwide fairly rapidly. He went from learning how to make a hat in France in the early 1850's, to employing over a thousand people in his single factory at the turn of the century when he died. The company continued to grow (and stayed in the family), and by 1913 employed over twenty-five hundred workers turning out literally millions of hats.Why would that be important?

If you want to produce a quality product and have many someones do your "work" for you, the best way to insure success is to pay them like you want them to stay. Cheap labor is easy to find, but a worker who is not paid fairly will not produce a quality product. It's the same in any game.

Greg and Madge Allen own the only REAL Men's clothing store in Helena, Montana. They sell women's clothing as well (the Sheila's part), but I despise shopping for clothes at the Big Name stores. This business is Brick and Mortar. It's on Last Chance Gulch. It feels like the Larson's Clothing store in Shelby, Montana, where I purchased my clothes as a young man.

I won't reveal the Borsalino I'm now wearing, except to give you a couple of hints: Where did Giuseppe learn to make hats? What does a properly attired French artist wear?

I won't make you guess.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Borsalino, By George!

An over-sized stiff cardboard mailer is the foundation for this piece of NEW mail art. It came from the Borsalino office in New York, but I'm thinking perhaps that Borsalino sent out their catalogs in this mailer. I did not question the proprietor of the only real Men's (and women's) clothing store here in Helena, but I never look a gift horse in the mouth. Inside the mailer was a small advertising card which is a reprint of a poster or perhaps a window card for - Borsalino Hats.

I had to remove the three stamps that were on this mailer and replaced them with three Birds of Prey stamps. The mailer required $1.90 in postage, but I simply overfranked it so that a meter strip wouldn't be used. I like stamps. I actually wish that the Bogart stamps would have pictured him in his fedora - which was a Borsalino, but alas - The stamp salvage from the sheet does show him in his hat, but I didn't know if anyone would make the connection with the mailer.

The Borsalino lettering is embossed - quite dramatically, but it was white just as is the rest of the mailer. Rich looking by itself, but I dug out my Gold leaf supplies and spent an hour remembering how to use PVA for the gold adhesive before I touched it. I actually got the entire lettering out of three leaves of the gold. I know it doesn't look too dramatic the way it reproduces, but this was one I had to share.

The chair, hat, cane and gloves are from another old Borsalino advertising poster.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Drummer Dan Dubé

My younger brother Dan was taken from Me and Mine on the third of May, 2012. He was 61 on the the 30th of April. He received the above on his birthday.

Eternal Rest Grant unto him, O Lord,
and let Perpetual Light Shine upon him.
May he and all the Faithful Departed,
Rest in Peace.