Clean and Simple.
‘Travel as if you are a spy. Observe and learn. Travel is not for imposing your culture, it is for expanding your experiences.”
- Tante ‘Rene
My aunt purchased the Exakta Varex VX in the early 50’s for her graduate project in education. She needed a single lens reflex camera to create a set 0f film strips on geography. The project required that she become an expert in macro photograph.
The Ziess Oberkochen 8x30 non B porro binoculars were purchased in the late 50’s on a trip to Germany which included a jaunt to Berlin to see the wall. She was an avid birdwatcher and had bought the glasses because of their trueness of color.
The bird books were purchased in Hønefoss bookstore on a visit to relatives. On the trip, she decided that she would start studying bokmål. Several books on European birds in Norwegian would be just the thing.
Tante ‘Rene had become a grade school teacher prior to WW2 and specialized in math education. During the war, she had become a school principal, running as many as three separate schools at one time during the dearth of male administrators. She continued in her work in math education, looking at the early adoption of geometry in grade school education. She was therefore asked to attend an International Mathematical Union planning session in the early 60’s in Prague for a subsequent symposium on general topology and its relations to modern analysis and algebra to be held in September 1961.
My aunt took the opportunity to purchase another bird book on Eastern European birds in Russian. She did not speak Russian, but this didn’t really matter, she would be able to find the names by showing people the drawings of the birds in the book. I still have the book, with her annotations in English.
She passed through Czech customs where she was immediately identified as a spy; all of her activities were monitored. The final dossier ran to 500 pages plus photographs. She was forever marked and her future moves did nothing to dissuaded the East that she was, ‘who she was’.
Tante ‘Rene continued to travel for the rest of her life throughout the world.