Mr Jim Wheeler, the ship maker
Walking down Fell's Point in Baltimore (USA), I stumbled upon this extraordinary man smoking a cigarette outside of The Preservation Society & Fell's Point Visitor Center which was closed down for the day. After exchanging a few words he offered me to step in to discover and share thoughts about a passion he has been pursuing since turning 9 years old. For the last 51 years, Mr. Jim has been building ship models as a selftaught. As a Vermont native, there is no doubt that wood carving has always been in his very own blood. Never short of fascinating stories, he kept telling me about his personal life experiences and long years serving in the US Marine Corps. At some point he got lucky enough not to land on the Vietnamese coast as his battle ship withdrew from its mission at the very last moment. The war had just ended. As Mr. Jim was working on a boat replica ordered by a famous historian, his sailor stories and life philosophy brought an almost mystical atmosphere to the room...
I came back on the day after to soak in this atmosphere one more time and to listen to this very inspirational man for a few more hours. While I decided to leave my camera in my bag on the previous day, he gently let me snap a few pictures as we were talking. Two different men telling the same story with two diferent crafts. One last shot of him smoking outside and my battery died, maybe it was the sign to rush for a plane I would nearly miss. Altogether, it wouldn't have bothered me as I couldn't have any better reason to delay my journey back home. Just one of these days where you feel blessed with life and that make traveling worth the world.
As Mr. Jim reminded me, "a picture is worth a thousand words, don't they say?", so I'll leave you there.