Arlesheim, Basel-Landschaft (BL), Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera/Switzerland

[1984 Nikon FE2 SLR 35-mm roll film camera, s/n 1816483, with Nikkor AI 50-mm f/1.8 lens, s/n 2336591, and 52-mm polarizing filter;
Kodak Ektar 125 (Kodak 5101 | Ektar 125-1) 36-exposure colour negative film]

© Copyright photograph by Stephan Alexander Scharnberg, November 1991

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ainsworth Hot Springs, summer 1966

We were either on our way to the famous Ainsworth Hot Springs, Kootenay Lake, in the British Columbia Kootenays, or, had already carefully immersed our toes, then legs, and slowly up to our necks, in the steamed heat. I can not clearly recall.

I remember the place seemed creepy and of some dark, fear-inducing nooks and crannies. In those days the place was not developed to the degree they say it is today. Bricked or cement turquoise archways marked the openings of the caves.

The main road was dusty gravel. It was hot, the skies a cloudless blue. Even then at not quite four years old I already pondered the skies, the clouds, the vast expanse beyond.

Father was driving our 1965 VW Type 2 (T1c) Model 231 (cargo doors right, left hand drive) Kombi purchased new the previous summer at Volkswagen Pacific in Vancouver, VIN 235 xxx xxx, strangely enough, with Model 221 Standard Microbus colour scheme of exterior body colours, L289 (17) blue white above waistline, L512 (38) velvet green below waistline, upholstery in mesh grey (83), sporting 14-inch wheels, front signals in amber, basic interior of just a back bench immediately fore of the engine compartment, no middle bench, no interior headliner or side panels, no carpet, just interior hardboard panels in the front cab section, covering the doors, roof, and behind the nose.

Anya was still a baby, tucked into her wicker basket on the back bench. Hayo and I sat, often cross-legged, in the rear over the 53-hp 1493-cc (1500) four-cylinder, horizontally-opposed, air-cooled engine, engine number code starting with H and followed by seven digits, with Solex 30 PICT-1 carburetor. I remember feeling the vibrations of the motor through the gears. My brother was very curious. He still is. I dreamily watched him play with the inside of the rear hatch latch. It eventually popped open. Bye-bye, brother. Dust swirled behind the bus, my brother small in the distance. I nonchalantly said, in German: “Oh, oh. Hayo fell out.” My mother was very upset. Father pulled over and turned around. 

Hayo was found with no more than dust and a few light marks on his person. He said he saw a clown on the road. He talked of this several times in the following days. He still remembers to this day.

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