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DeHavilland Beavers - Frank Lloyd Wright - The Perfect Day
Monday, November 03, 2008

Yesterday I woke up at 5AM and felt terrible. I had slept very little. Yesterday was a perfect day.

Abraham Rogatnick picked me up in a cab at 6:10AM and we went to the Vancouver Airport Seaplane Terminal. It was pouring. Abraham is no different to me. This meant that we arrived one hour before our Seair DeHavilland Beaver would take us on our 20 minute flight to Pender Island.

We were going to visit Abraham's friend of 50 years, Karl Stittgen and his wife Nora. Stitgen was a renowned Vancouver jeweler for many years. Before he retired he was already dabbling with architecture. Stittgen's hero is architect Frank Lloyd Wright and the house he designed and built on Pender Island is a church to wright. It is as if Wright somehow alive, designed and built the house. Everything about the house (and a new guest house), the furniture, the lamps and even some of the dishware pay homage to the great American architect. In Stittgen's library there is an extensive collections of books and magazines on the man.

We were greated at the door by Stittgen and his dog Miho (Nora had picked us up at the dock). I simply did not know where to rest my eyes as everything was a delight. Stittgen the jeweler is now a potter and an amateur (in the 19th century English meaning of the word) architect. The kitchen from where I could smell the large and thin (just the way I like them) pancakes was as perfect as a kitchen could be. We were served breakfast and I had fresh strawberries and fried bananas with my pancakes.

The rest of the day was like that. Lunch was accompanied by a very sweet and light German wine from the area in Germany where Stittgen was born. By the time the Stittgens took us back to the dock at 4 I felt that the day had simply been too short. The sun had appeared as soon as we had arrived to Halcyon Days, the name of Stittgen's home. We explored the guest house, the potting shed and as soon as we had returned for lunch the sky opened up again. But not for long. The sun shone again at the dock and as we flew in our Beaver a setting sun waited for us as we skimmed and then landed, ever so placidly, on one of the Fraser River arms.

The perfection of the day was enhanced because of pleasant experience with Seair Seaplanes. The 1950 Beaver that took us to Pender Island had been refurbished and modernized a week before. The paint shone. I explained to Abraham who is an expert on his favourite city of Venice that flying in a Beaver over the waters of British Columbia did not in any way seem any less glorious than being on a gondola on the Grand Canal. Abraham had probably flown in a Beaver before but I explained all I had learned from Sean Rossiter about the Beaver. He suddenly had a new respect for our airplane and enjoyed his flight. Coming back our Beaver was not as pristine but it had some of the original and beautiful wood trim. Both pilots had read Sean Rossiter and were most impressed to find out that both of us were his friends.

The whole day reminded me of my experience taking still photographs for the CBC series Ritter's Cove.

Somehow, thanks to Abraham Rogatnick, Nora and Karl Stittgen (their dog Miho) and the beautiful DeHavilland Beavers, those treasured halcyon days of my past had come back, for one perfect day.

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