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Sheri C

Working as a Guide in U.S. Pavilion

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I'm going to share some photos from Expo 67. I'll try to give them all captions. Forgive me if I posted some of these a couple years ago. 

U.S. Guides were not permitted to visit the Cuban Pavilion. When my father visited, he and I went anyway. What was the big deal? and

I visited it, as you can see, in my uniform. I managed to escape being found out!  There were at least two guides that were sent home

for various reasons. Other than the Cuba Pavilion, I was a good girl!

One of the high points of my time there was giving a PR tour to Ralph Bunche and his wife and kids. What an honor!

These photos were either taken by me or a friend. I'm in the Johnson photo on the escalator (far left). He had just passed my station,

and I reached out to shake his hand but was nearly knocked over my security. In uniform!  and still!  The concert was on the U.S. day.

Each nation had its own special day. I uploaded the concert that took place on that day at Place-des-nations.  AMAZING! that's when I got to

meet my hero Herbie Mann. Outside the pavilion, I saw the Dead and the Airplane. I have photos I took at the Place Ville Marie park. I played

my flute with the best!  What a summer!

I should say that the Marines had all served in Nam. Many had purple hearts and most of them were pretty raw from the experience. They

provided more than security for the pavilion.  Well, I'll get around to scanning more as time permits.  ENJOY!

 

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Dad's-passport.jpg

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Place-des-nations.jpg

Lady-Bird.jpg

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Johnson.jpg

Johnson_67.jpg

De_Gaulle-2.jpg

Dad-astronaut.jpg

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Those are wonderful photos and memories, Sheri.  When you write, "what a wonderful summer," I can only imagine how magical it must have been.  I spent three days at Expo and I can still remember a conversation about Vietnam while waiting in line at Labyrinth.  I was fifteen and wanted to believe the US was in the right but the Canadian kids, my age, standing in front of us sure saw things very differently.  Those were traumatic times.  I remember thinking how a short hour and a half drive north on the new I 81 in NYS would take a person to a place that was not involved in that ugly war.  It seemed unreal to me.

The prohibition against visiting the Cuba pavilion speaks volumes.  I remember going in there but I was with a school group and our teacher urged us to visit every pavilion we could because it might be a once in a lifetime chance.  And it was.

In a sense, I've often thought the USA pavilion reflected the values and achievements we hoped the world would see yet the building security, as you've stated, was provided by marines traumatized by that terrible, seemingly endless war.  What a paradox.

I like the photo of Lady Bird.  I've always admired her. 

PS:  I read an article in the Montreal Gazette about a reunion of guides from the Quebec pavilion this summer.  They gather every ten years, evidently.  Have the USA pavilion guides ever done this?  Please keep posting.

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Lots to respond to and appreciate Jim's insights. I haven't heard about a reunion but I did enjoy reading

this thoughtful article in the Gazette.  When I returned in 2008 and spent time inside the converted birdcage, now the so-called

Biosphere, it was for the most part a wasted space. It had some exhibits and the vision of Expo did not carry into the New Century....alas.

To my wonderful time there (now that I think of it and have been able to review the nice DVDs that Fred Stern mailed me as well) I have to say that

I worked my buns off for 6 months. Four days on with 10 hour days, then 2 days off, worn out. There were no vacations except when we were

sent to locations for TV interviews or work related stuff. I barely had the time to see inside all the pavilions. I missed

some but I am grateful that I was there for every minute. The universe was at my fingertips and I became so much more as a result.

http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/expo-67-50-years-later-still-an-expression-of-the-human-spirit

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As a coincidence, Bill was in Montreal a few days ago and I had the pleasure of reintroducing him to the former US pavillon - he was with his wife Carol 

 

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Along with a Virtual Reality tour of the Labyrinth...

 

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This is basically the view Bill had (photo 2016)

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AH! It's always such a thrill to see my home! I spent so many, many hours there. My last visit 2008 but it was close to winter and there was no

green surrounding it. Lovely! Thanks for posting all of these.  Of course, what is sad to me, tourists don't bother with the dome, they head for

the hideous casino that has disgraced this grounds of Expo.

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Sheri, when I visited Montreal in the 90s (I had not been there in ten or more years at that point), I recall driving over the Jacques Cartier Bridge and seeing the Dome.  It was a thrill to see it again and I made it a point to visit Ile Ste. Helene to see it again.  From a distance, it evokes happy memories but, close up and inside, it's just a shell of its former glory (despite the leaking and other issues you remember from 1967).  It is so unfortunate it hasn't been restored to its full potential.  I've often thought a city as vibrant as Montreal could place a priority on restoring that pavilion as an enduring monument to Expo.

Your comment about seeing your "home" in the photo is wonderful.  It is such a beautiful way to remember your time there.  I can't imagine how many hours you spent there in 1967 but when we were young, time was limitless as was our energy.  Do you have any thoughts about the final days of Expo?  You must have bonded with so many interesting people.  It had to be difficult when it all came to an end.  Do you have any specific memories you might share?

Jim

PS:  If you search for Expo 67 news, there June 27 CBC story on Ontario Pavilion guides reuniting and maintaining their connections.  It's a good article.

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Unfortunately, the Bubble had a lot of design flaws – one the main problem was, as you said Jim, water. Heat had an effect on the structure and it moved ever so slightly but enough to cause water problem when there was hard rain. But a 4/5 sphere represents a lot of air – air that needs to be heated and cooled and there is the main reason why they decided not to rebuild the cover in 1992 when they were planning the renovation.

The plastic covering was not a problem – a few years after the fire, Shoji Sadao, the architect of the US pavilion (and not Buckminster Fuller!) had found new plastics that were basically fireproof. And the cost of re-covering the structure again was not a real issue – it was the extremely high cost of heating and cooling the building that made the architect that did the renovation go another way. But to be fair, the building is still wonderful and respectful of Fuller since the sphere itself is still there. They also repaired and kept all the platforms so if you saw it before the fire, you still get the basic feeling of how it felt to be inside it but without the huge escalator though

 

Here's the pavilion, a few months after the fire in 1976

 

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Great information, Roger. Thank you.  I had not given much thought to the heating and cooling.  I think Sheri stated the pavilion could get quite warm and uncomfortable during summer days in 1967 so there must not have been any cooling at all.  I was there in 1976, for the Olympics, and I remember Ile Ste. Helene was a busy place but that is a quiet scene.  I saw the Dome from a distance and it was scorched as this photo verifies.  We were able to ride the Mini Rail across the channel and through the Expo remains on Ile Notre Dame.  It' amazing how small the trees are in this photograph.  In any event, I am glad the pavilion is still there and in use.  I remember a visit to the Biosphere and looking at the openings where the Mini Rail passed through and reading the information explaining how the structure was built.  And it is always a wonderful sight and symbolic of Montreal's great summer fifty years ago. 

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There was no such thing as heating or cooling above ground. Obviously, below in the dressing rooms, PR lounge, and so forth, we were comfortable. I was devastated when of the fire. When I returned to Montreal, I was staying in Sherbrooke at a mandolin convention, and in the morning, I opened the curtains...and was shocked when I saw the dome in tact. I was sure I would see nothing. What a pleasant surprise when I took the first metro to the dome and found it as I remember it sans exhibits. It did feel completely different. I went up the stairs or took the elevator as I recall. Standing on the lunar platform was weird! That was off-limits whereas all the other exhibits were open to us and I would always go to the Hollywood floor and play on a golden, very out of tune piano. I usually played something from the era. 1920s style. It was so rinky-dink but I played everything I could remember and would spend an evening, after visitors and guides were gone. It was OK with security. My best memories were just meeting people while they cued in line--from all over the world. Chatting them up! keeping them happy with 3-4 hours waiting to get it. We were the most popular pavilion by far! We never had a short line except 20 minutes before we would close.

As to what I recall the most, well, every day there was some dignitary, president of some African country, or the Shah of Iran and his wife, movie stars every day. I'd have to look at my autograph book but celebs would come in all the time. Certainly, being 2 ft. from Pres Johnson at the height of his popularity before the end of 67 changed everything. Lady Bird was like a human parrot in her emerald green coat and hawkish nose!  Cary Grant came and denied ever saying "Judy, Judy, Judy!" He was lots of fun. Of course, I consider meeting Ralph Bunche and being his guide as one of the most cherished memories I still carry. (see above) 

The special U.S. day had every jazz, blues, classical musician on one stage--all day long!  The talent was unbelievable! And being a guide, I meet just about everyone there. One of the other pleasures was being able to wear my uniform, and have all the doors opened to me. I never once stood in a line to see any exhibit. I would just walk up, smile, and the reciprocity took place. It was the same for allowing guides to visit U.S. Pavilion. Guides had very, very little time to wait in line. We all worked long, long hours and would go home exhausted. At least I did. My roommates partied but weren't bad.  Let's see one roommate was a daughter of the Illinois Gov., others were related to senators or someone in Congress. I found out that quite a few got their jobs because of 'their daddy.'  Why, there were siblings who talked about "Lestah"  (Lester)! Why Lestah' said this blah blah blah! They were talking about GA's racist governor Lester Maddox. That's how they got their jobs! They knew Lestah! ;-)  Neither guide could speak French so it wasn't from qualifying for the position, rather it was who they knew. That was true for others. Well, before I get into trouble...and one of my former roommates reads what I wrote, I better stop for now!  ;-) 

 

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Thank you, Sheri, for sharing all of these memories.  There is nothing better than first hand accounts and memories of Expo.  Your stories certainly explain why you "became so much more" while serving as a guide.

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A quote from a former Canadian Pavillon Hostess :  "I think we all turned out better than we thought we would," - That is the main Expo 67 legacy for those who were lucky enough to work there!

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As a souvenir, here's a couple of photos I took of the US Pavillon in 67

 

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A few more

 

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Thanks - all great!

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Roger, your photographs are wonderful.  They are so vivid.  I love that last shot with the people near the lunar display and the skyline of Montreal in the background.  That pavilion was enormous.  You and Sheri have created one of the most interesting and informative threads I've found on this site.  Thank you!

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Laro's a pro and really captured the stunning beauty of the pavilion's interior. Even the hats--representing the multitude of occupations one could enter/be/become in America. Each of these exhibits represents a spectacular example of why visitors stood in line all day to glimpse its hopeful, positive, and symbolic essence. (I wish we could say that optimism exists today. If Expo were under the current administration, I'm afraid we would be totally embarrassed.) Sorry, I'm a bit nostalgic this morning as tomorrow is Canada Day and I always become a little misty-eyes thinking back to it. I memorized all the celebratory songs to Canada and can still sing them and play them. CAN-AAAAA-DA!!

While everyone was going through the summer of love elsewhere, we had our own version of it there. Simon & Garfunkle, Ravi Shankar, and so many others. I recall seeing the Bolshoi Ballet and reading the next day that some had sought asylum. How could you see that magical bubble and not want to dance in it? be a part of it? contribute to its health and welfare? And while they were seeking freedom, I ran into COs hiding out in Quebec hoping to wait out the Vietnam war. I worked with damaged marines carrying pictures of the corpses in their wallets. The walking wounded trying to survive deep, deep emotional injuries.

We were all in it to accomplish one thing.  Yes, it was the image that the government wanted to project at a time when it was becoming kind of icky! to say the least. Even Johnson was very unhappy and did not run because of it. Despite the horrors, I still cling to that ephemeral belief that America can do the most good in the world when it practices altruism, not selfish narcissism. I know that we are capable of it and I pray that future world's fairs will use Expo 67 as the model for that enlightened view.  Thanks for letting me share what's in my heart as I gaze back to 50 years ago.

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Sheri C, thanks for all the eyewitness accounts. Enjoyable as valuable. 

That jazz concert lineup was some major, off the charts, 2 hour concentration of american royalty! Muddy Waters(!) to Theolonius to Brubeck WITH Paul Desmond! Herbie Mann before recording Push Push with Duane Allman.

Roger, thanks for adding those pics here. What are those big silver balls next to LEM? Space balls or art? 

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They are low altitude satellites - a lot of visitor in 67 though they represented the planets!

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We were told they (your space balls) were actually weather balloons. I do believe, there was a sort of drone-like satellite.

I believe I see see one in Roger's photos.

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The were called AIR DENSITY EXPLORER (ADE)

 

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They made the first page of the 1967 RCA Electronic Age magazine :

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Sheri, there is a remarkable photograph of LBJ in the cabinet room siting alone at the huge table.  His head is down, resting on his arm and he is in evident distress.  In the foreground, is a tape recorder.  He was listening to his son-in-law (Charles Robb) reporting from Vietnam.  Robb was a volunteer and a young officer and he sent LBJ frequent first hand accounts of what was really happening.  It was 1968 and the President realized how deep a mess it was, that generals had misled him and there was no easy way to extricate ourselves.  That photo still haunts the viewer fifty years later.  Shortly after the photo was snapped, LBJ halted the bombing of the North and called for peace talks the same evening he announced he wouldn't run again. He did try to end that awful war.  

July 1 is Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation.  I am so glad you mentioned that.  Your most recent post is just beautiful.  Your tribute to the young marines, to Canada, to the glory of Expo and the joy that I clearly remember (I visited the pavilion twice) of that wonderful USA bubble is perfectly stated..  I was 15 but I knew a good thing when I saw it.  I totally agree with your belief that is America's altruism that has made us great and your hope that there will be another fair that uses Expo 67 and its "Joie de vivre" as its guide.  You said it all so very well.  I truly appreciate your words and memories.

Jim

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On 6/30/2017 at 5:30 PM, Roger said:

The were called AIR DENSITY EXPLORER (ADE)

 

ADE.thumb.JPG.d14a2141ec52a2d0d28a7a88116312aa.JPG

 

 

They made the first page of the 1967 RCA Electronic Age magazine :

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Yes, I needed to consult the guidebook. These were called "Explorer Air Density Satellites."  It says they were used to "study the upper atmosphere by gauging atmospheric drag on them."  All the stuff suspended above the lunar landscape were true to size: Mariner IV etc.  Also on the moon exhibit itself, is the Apollo Command module which was actually launched into space, unmanned, on August 25, 1966. (all according the the official handouts guides were given).  The lunar orbiter and Surveyor I were on the platform below.  I've been meaning to scan all the documents into a giant PDF. I think that many of you would enjoy reading the official literature we were given by USIA.  Soon, I hope.  Have 4th of July!

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Sheri, thanks you so much for all the fine memories, and YES, it would be great to see the official literature when you have the time!

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