Historic Photo Backstory: Greeting an Exchange Student in Grand Junction
Thanks to an alert viewer, we've learned the backstory of a 1970s photo out of Grand Junction. One of the young people in the photo has come forward with a little info.
This photo was included in a gallery called 16 More Photos From Grand Junction I Found in a Box. The gallery consisted of random photos from late Daily Sentinel photographer Robert Grant. Here's the backstory on this one.
A Never-Ending Effort
I have hundreds of thousands of my grandpa's photos in storage. Most are still on the negatives. Several thousand are in the form of handmade prints. This particular image came from a box labeled "People Unidentified."
One of my favorite activities involves publishing these photos in hopes someone will recognize the people and places featured and share the information. Regrettably, most of the negatives and prints from my grandfather's career come with no information whatsoever. So, it appears I'm going to be busy for the rest of my life.
Here's the Scoop
Moments ago I received a phone call from a gentleman named Cliff Rezak. Today he is a correctional officer at the Delta facility. Back in 1978, he was the young man you see in the photo wearing the ball cap and the numbered t-shirt.
In the bottom left-hand corner of the shot, you see a Japanese exchange student arriving in Grand Junction. Cliff estimates the year to be 1977 or 1978. The young person next to Cliff, the one shaking the hand of the arriving exchange student, is Cliff's older brother, Jeffery. Between the two boys is their mother. Standing two people behind her, the tall man with dark hair, is Cliff and Jeffery's father.
Here for the Summer
According to Cliff, the exchange student pictured came to stay with the family for the entire summer. If you look you'll see signs in the background represent the towns of both Grand Junction and Paonia. Cliff and his family were from Paonia.
The Location Becomes Obvious
Prior to the call from Cliff, I had no idea as to the location of this event, beyond being in Grand Junction. Cliff informed me this took place at the Grand Junction bus station. If you look closely, you'll see the C.D. Smith building, the current site of the Museum of the West, in the background. This shot was taken facing northwest towards the intersection of 5th and Colorado Avenue.
What Became of the Exchange Student?
While they did remain in contact, Cliff says it has been several years, even decades, since they've heard from their former guest.
Another Mystery Solved
This makes two success stories for the week of August 16, 2021. Earlier this week the identity and story of the young lady at the salon was solved. In that case, the framed photo exhibit print has been shipped to her and her family.
With this most recent discovery we've learned the names, dates, locations, and backstory of another Robert Grant photograph. Interestingly, in this case, one of the subjects of the photo, Cliff, was unaware this photograph even existed. He had no memory of a photographer capturing his image during the event.