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Dad and his army buddy Al Bottegal | by Joey Harrison
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Dad and his army buddy Al Bottegal

This is my amazing flickr story.


A couple of months ago I posted a self-portrait my mom created in 1949. It shows her in her darkroom lifting a photo from the developing tray. Last week I heard from the daughter of the woman depicted in that little photo. A relative of hers had spotted the shot and urged her to contact me.


How is it that her mother’s image would be taking form in my mother’s developing tray? A little back-story is needed.


When my parents married in 1947, they set off for Pittsburgh with one of my mom’s brothers and his wife, who happened to be heading that way. This was to be my parents’ honeymoom. On the way they stopped to visit my dad’s army buddy Aldo Bottegal and his wife, Rose. Al urged my folks to stay for a few days and offered to drive them to Pittsburgh later. Two years later the Bottegals came to Michigan to visit my folks. During that July visit the two couples went boating. My mom took about a half-dozen pictures, including one of Rose stripped to her fancy bra because of the heat. That’s the shot my mom is pulling from the chemical tray in this shot.


Since contacting me, Al and Rose’s daughter Mary Alice has scanned and posted a number of old photos of the 1947 honeymoon visit and the 1949 visit in Michigan, as well as some newer shots of our dads and a contemporary family portrait of the Bottegal clan, minus Al, who died in the early 1990s.


Mary Alice and I have been emailing back and forth, sharing photos and stories.


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Taken on April 3, 2006