Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine’s Day: A Re-Told Tale ~ Love and Legacy

Carnival to San Jose 072

On a ‘cool, slightly overcast’ Friday, March 23rd, 1956  -- the Italian freighter, Eugenio C, set sail at 8 p.m. from Dock 5, in Brooklyn, New York  heading to Genoa, Italy.

Among its passengers were a Central Washington State daily newspaper reporter and her photographer husband, Phil and Dean Spuler.

Carnival to San Jose 067Following their April 8th arrival in Italy and a few days spent with friends on the Riviera; they boarded a train in Chamberey, France bound for Milan, Italy.
(photo of the Spulers departing France.)








In Milan they purchased two Lambretta scooters, (earlier versions of the one pictured here),
1A1[1]that would carry them on a year and a half  journey through Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, England, Scotland and Ireland.

But their story really doesn’t begin nor end with this journey . . .



Phil and Dean Spuler

Phil (who never used her given name, Phyllis) and Dean  had met in the late 1940’s while students at San Jose State College in California; both worked on the campus paper, the Spartan Daily. Times were tough, money scarce. Romance bloomed, they married and began their careers at the paper now known as the Yakima Herald-Republic in Central Washington State.

It was at that paper, in the early 1980’s, that as a ‘cub reporter’ I worked with -- and became friends with -- the Spulers. They were the seasoned professionals and as such, mentors, in a newsroom bursting with several other just-out-of-college-journalists. They’d returned to the newspaper at the conclusion of their European adventure (and stayed until their eventual retirements).

Carnival to San Jose 065

Their European Adventure
 
It was never clear what had sparked their desire to sell most of their belongings and head to Europe. Perhaps inspired by writer Ernest Hemingway who had returned to Paris in 1944 or Julia Child, of cookbook fame, who arrived in France four years later. . .they never said. Regrettably, I never thought to ask.

Their travel budget was $5 a day and that included all food, lodging and travel expenses. They stayed in youth hostels and rode their scooters in both good and bad weather.

Carnival to San Jose 070Their travel journals tell of spending  the winter in Paris where they enrolled in a French language school, and spent time exploring art galleries, sidewalk cafes, and attending plays and operas.

Spring found them in Berlin. They returned to the United States the summer of 1957 on a small Italian passenger ship.



Their Love and Legacy


Our friendship grew over three decades and during that time their travels – although shorter and more luxurious than their Europe trip – included cruises and excursions to foreign lands. They drove “dune-buggies’ through the desert surrounding  their Arizona retirement community until age and health finally curtailed their dare-devil outings.

Then, they told us, they lived vicariously through our travels.

Carnival to San Jose 073Prior to their deaths – now, a few years ago – they set forth their wishes to help other journalism students at their alma mater, San Jose State University.

Since then we’ve had the pleasure of working with the university to make that happen: Each year two scholarships are available to journalism and photojournalism students. They endowed an annual symposium.




Carnival to San Jose 038Author’s note: This post originally appeared in April 2012 after we spent a day with the students and staff of the media and journalism department at San Jose State University. We'd attended the Annual Spuler Ethics in Media Symposium, we visited the college newspaper and magazine.

This year, the 5th Annual Spuler Ethics in Media Symposium will be held Tuesday, March 19th, from 6 – 7:30 p.m. on the San Jose State campus.  This year’s focus: Advertising Ethics.

We’d encourage your attendance at this free event if you are in the San Jose area.  And this is our contribution to the Valentine’s Day edition of Travel Photo Thursday. Stop by Nancie’s Budget Travelers Sandbox for more photos and tales.

23 comments:

  1. What a wonderful romantic and adventurous story. They had a wonderful life and now they live on
    through the scholarships. Italy on scooters - how romantic. I don't think I would like riding them in the rain though.

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    1. It is pretty inspiring to know the impact one can make on the future even after a most interesting lifetime is over.

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  2. I agree. What a wonderful story of how they fulfilled their life together. This is the stuff of movies! They have left a wonderful legacy.
    Thank you for stopping by my blog today. I have just joined Travel Photo Thursday and am already enjoying the ride!

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    1. It does sound like something like Roman Holiday doesn't it? And welcome to TPT!

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  3. Beautiful story. Happy Valentine's Day! :)

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    1. Thanks for visiting - and Happy Valentine's Day to you!

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  4. Fabulous Valentine's Day story this. How wonderful to be travellers in the 1950s - I'd love to go back in time to an era where travelling was a bit more challenging (in a good way).

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    1. I've also thought that the 'black and white' travel days of Hemingway, Child. . .and Spulers would have been such an interesting time. Of course my imagination makes it a time of elegance and intrigue. . .

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  5. What a wonderful story. Travelling through Europe on a scooter in their day was so adventurous...true pioneers. I bet they would have been great bloggers too if it had been available then!

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    1. I suspect they would have been. Dean, the photographer, said he'd never have a camera again after he retired. . .famous last words. He bought one of the first digitals on the market and was uploading photos in his 80's!

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  6. Nice story. Always kind of wished we had started traveling earlier in our lives.

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    1. I still say that Americans need more travel - when I was a reporter I had 10 work days a year - made for some creative trip planning to make those 10 tie into long weekends and holidays so we could squeeze out just a bit more time.

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  7. How lucky you are to have known them! Loved this romantic story.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it Debbie. Happy Valentine's Day!

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  8. What a fabulous story and it's nice to hear that their legacy will continue on.

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    1. Thanks Nancie! And for the tip about the difficulty of commenting using Google Chrome. Anyone else having difficulties commenting here? If so email me at travelnwrite@msn.com Many thanks!

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  9. What a delightful account of Phil and Dean Spuler's love for life, adventure and philantrophic deeds. Their time abroad must have been educational and so different during that time period.

    Thanks for sharing this delightful story and also for your visits and comments

    Helen xx

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    1. And thanks for your visit and comment Helen. I love hearing from you. . .hope to 'see' you again soon!

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  10. Such a wonderful love story. Two lives joined in love, travel work and philanthropy.
    Wishing them and you a very Happy Valentine's Day, Jackie!

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    1. And hope you also had a good day! It really is a love story isn't it? Both about people and life!

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  11. Hi,

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    ReplyDelete
  12. What a beautiful love story filled with travel and adventure. Thank you for sharing their story and legacy. How lucky for you to have met them and heard their stories. I had issues commenting on your blog from my phone and from Safari. Hoping this one works with Firefox. I'm not home right now and on a road trip.

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Glad you stopped by today and took the time to leave a note. Hope we'll hear from you often!

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