Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Fillmore Victor Dobbs, part one, 1933 to 1964

Fillmore was very good at many things, super sharp and funny, he could draw well, and later became a professional photographer.
Fill was distantly related to former U.S. President, MILLARD FILLMORE, and so I'm always on the lookout for interesting Millard references.
He also did a lot of writing in the '70s and '80s, hoping to break into doing it professionally. He had a degree in philosophy and I'm not sure what else. Voracious reader and book collector. Knew mythology and literature forwards and back. After he married and got out of the Navy he was a hotshot salesman for a Missouri hair products/cosmetics company.

When my father passed away in 1996, I got his baby book. I'm surprised that he saved it for so long, but I'm glad he did, as I wish I had more stuff from his side of the family. My baby book has disappeared, it used to be around, and I haven't seen it in years.
The first seven images below are all from the baby book.
Below, birth announcement with the baby's specs.

Sadly, no pictures of Fill's mother survive in the baby book, or of his father at that time, but here he is with his Grandmother. The only photo in the book.
Below: Fill's certificate of Baptism. His mother's side of the family were the Belzoni's. He grew up in Chicago.
I don't know his mother's birth and death dates, but Fillmore Sr. was born July 11th, 1911, and died in November 1984.

Valentine's from 1935. The one on the right seemed to have originally had some sort of audio component mechanism on the inside, and there was no hint surviving with the card to show what happened to her eyes. I thought what remained of it was nicely creepy, and so it's included here.
Christmas 1935.
Below, the cover and the four pages of this 1936 Valentine. Cute art and text. I love hand-lettered things.

"...Dan Storey on the right. Whose dad was killed in 1950 when that street car hit the gasoline truck on a rainy day in Chicago on State street and 93rd. He was among the 32 that perished in the flames."
Picture taken in Chesapeake Bay.

With his barracks on the right, July 1954.
This picture and the nine following it, from Fill's Navy service in Korea, 1955. Captions adapted from the original photo backs. Below, with his 8mm camera. I still have those movie reels of Korea.
"The Songwhanini main drag."
"Looking the other direction on the main drag."
"Women selling wares."
"The village market day, and yes, that's dog meat in the window."
"...(W)aiting for momma, who's shopping."
"Boy with an A-frame {Korean backpack rig} as big as he is. Background is the secondary school I teach. The boys on the left, the girls on the right."
"The sister of our guide. She has a disease which leaves an unsightly hole in the back of her neck. She is not expected to age many more months."
"With Jack and Joe in front of our office."
"You can tell that he's a retired farmer because of his birdcage hat..."
FAA card, 1960. Licensed to ill.

This original 8x10 photo is one of my favorites, very detailed, beautifully lit. Fillmore is showing them all of the cool toys he gets to use. "Here's the light that I shine into the pilot's eyes, to blind them on approach..."
My parents wedding day, 1960. Fill, Ruth, and her parents, Lucille and Ray.
Check out that teensy plane next to them. Ruth is obviously pregnant with little Drew. Probably the San Diego Naval Base, 1961.
Ruth Ann and Fill. It was used on their Christmas cards. "I've got your back."
Next six photos: Taken by Fill during the MERCURY MISSION recovery, while we were stationed on Midway Island, 1963. Pretty exciting stuff. This was how I got infected with the alien spores, I would guess.

Below: Fill's father helped to set up the Honeywell office in Sydney, Australia. We visited the office in 1963, and there's some great footage in our home movies from Australia of my dad changing spools of tape from those big computer-memory consoles with the glass doors on them, looking like walk-in freezers, just like you see in old sci-fi movies. I also sat at a big souped-up Honeywell keyboard control-center, at two years old, banging away on the keys. Good times.
This is Fill's dad's business card for Honeywell.
Fillmore at his desk, in 1964. I love the jet photo, and the pipe. He looks a lot like Bob Dobbs, here. Everything neat as a pin.
Below: Fill the secret agent.
Fillmore's story is continued further ahead in the blog.

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