A few months ago my father gave me a box of his old Kodak Kodachrome slides.
He had sent away to Montreal for the camera while he was a UN Peacekeeper in the Congo back in the early ‘60s. Among the slides (that included photos of your humble bogger being held up at the maternity window the day he was born, assorted good and bad Christmases through the sixties and seventies, those miserable family vacations etc.) were the photos he took during his time in the Congo.
When I was young my father liked to haul out the slides a couple of time a year (often much to your humble blogger’s chagrin). And it was when he started clicking the Congo slides through the projector that the rest of my family and I would usually hit bathroom.
I’m afraid we weren’t too interested at the time.
But last year, after I had scanned the old slides (and uploaded them to Facebook to embarrass family members with their ridiculous 1973 fashion choices) I was surfing through CNN and discovered that they were requesting photos from people who had been in Africa during the time of independence.
I have some of those, I thought.
So I uploaded them to CNN and a few days later the CNN London office called me to ask if it would be possible to speak to my father. My Dad agreed and after his 15 minute phone interview they posted the story their website (I even got a shout out in the piece as well!).
CNN also asked my father if they could do an on-air interview.
Unfortunately he said no.
For twenty years I couldn’t stop him from talking about the Congo… and now he clams up? It may have been my only way of meeting Anderson Cooper! And to be honest, I would have like to have had a record of his memories of the Congo as well.
Anyway, here is the link to CNN spot on my Dad, and UN Peacekeeper:
Jeffrey, The Gay Groom