The Boys of Summer

A group of boys cool off in the swimming hole at their summer camp. The time is the mid-1930s and one of the boys is Stanley Budleski, the son of Polish immigrants living in Wallingford, Connecticut. Young Stanley was fascinated by airplanes and spent much time at the local airport.  Upon graduating from high school, he would become an airplane mechanic. On April 10, 1942, five months after Pearl Harbor, he would enlist in the Army Air Corps. On December 20, 1943, his plane would be shot down over Germany. He was initially listed as missing in action and his death was not confirmed until March 1944. The timeless quality of this photograph contains no hint of this coming tragedy. I can’t help wondering about those other boys in the photograph. We don’t know their names, but many of them must have wound up on battlefields in Europe or the Pacific.

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