Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Scott MacLeod Drawings 1960-1962: Part 3: Ships & Boats

USA Ship, 1962

I'd intended to post a different show this month but that project turned out to be more complicated & time-consuming than I thought it would. Time & energy are in short supply this month, as my current employment strategy has insidiously mutated from a sporadic, bureaucratic type of thing I could do in my pajamas (if I wore any) to a nearly full-time, dust-covered, sweat-streaked physically demanding killer of 50-year-olds. So I've taken the easier route & come up with another exhibit of my drawings from 1960-62.

It's not surprising that ships show up a lot in my drawings; we traveled by ship whenever we moved to a new assignment. My mom is claustrophobic & won't get into a subway, an elevator or an airplane. Car or train tunnels make her nervous unless she can see the light at the other end.

Orange Ship, 1962

Luckily in the 50s & 60s we could avail ourselves of what were still commercially viable & not-that-expensive passenger freighter & ocean liner travel industries. My friend Martin Cox has created probably the best online resource providing a glimpse into that world: Maritime Matters.

My father worked as a radio engineer for the U.S. Embassy and we accompanied him to postings in Caracas, Venzuela; Djakarta, Indonesia; and, later, Paris France. By the time these drawings had been made, I'd sailed on the SS Santa Rosa from New York to La Guaira, Venezuela, back to NYC via Aruba, Kingston & Port-au-Prince on the SS Santa Paula, from LA to Japan via Hawaii on the SS President Cleveland, from Japan to Indonesia via the Phillipines & Thailand on the freighter SS President Grant.

Minature golf on the SS Santa Rosa, 1957

Vendors, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 1960

Me keeping watch on deck of freighter SS President Grant, 1961

In 1961 we sailed from Indonesia to Singapore & back on the SS President Harrison, and did the same again in 1962. On that 1962 trip we then took the M/V Frankfurt to Singapore, Bataan, Corregidor, & Hong Kong, the M/V Hamburg back from Hong Kong to Singapore, & the Norwegian freighter Turandot, with 12 passenger cabins, from Singapore back to Indonesia.

In 1963 we left Indonesia for good, boarding the M/S Frankfurt on May 10th bound for Singapore, then Penang, Malaysia, where we took on a large load of Banka tin ingots. From Penang, we headed west across the Indian Ocean, where we were caught in a monsoon that put the ship at risk.

I vividly remember trying to sip warm Canada Dry Ginger Ale from a can in an effort to quell the prodigious vomiting brought on by the lurching of the ship between huge swells. We would slide sideways up a wave till one side of the ship was suspended in air at the crest, then slide nauseatingly down into the following trough. Later the captain told us that without the weight of the tin ingots in the hold, the ship would have likely capsized. This drawing, done three years earlier, seems prescient:

Ocean Liner On Big Wave, 1960



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