30 April 2009

I'm not a doctor but...

We're off to the market in Selles-sur-Cher, 10 miles upriver from Saint-Aignan, this morning. It's not raining and Thursday is the day over in Selles. It's the biggest market around (except maybe Loches and Amboise, which are farther away).

About that picture of me in jail with a stethoscope in my hand and a whitel lab coat on, let me say it wasn't a complicated story. But it was a fun day. At the time — 1988 or '89 — I was working as managing editor of a trade magazine called UNIX Review, published by a company in San Francisco.

Another magazine the company published was Medical World News. The editor was preparing a story on antitrust issues that were affecting doctors and wanted to do a cover on the theme of doctors landing in jail. He needed somebody to be the doctor for a photo shoot.

Now you have to realize that all these magazines were published on shoestring budgets. If the editors could get anything for free, they jumped at the chance. So for the Medical World News photo shoot, the editor and publisher started looking for free "talent." And I was the "talent" they found. I was probably about the only editor in the building who was old enough to look like I could have had time to make it through medical school. I was coming up on 40 years old. And we were at a point in the editorial cycle that allowed me to take half a day off.

As for the prison, that wasn't a problem. We — editor, photographer, and some other hangers-on — took the cable car down to Fisherman's Wharf and then the ferry over to Alcatraz. For the photo, they put me in a cell and slammed the door shut. There was much joking and laughing, which didn't help me because I was supposed to look forlorn about finding myself in prison.

It was my one and only modeling gig. And all I got paid for it was my normal salary as a magazine editor (which was peanuts). It was also my one and only trip to Alcatraz.

Okay, walk the dog, get a shower, and head for the market.


  1. I'm chuckling away :)) Thanks for the fun story.

  2. haha....let's hope france doesn't decide to stop allowing flights from the US before at least monday due to the swine flu scare....i am paranoid about not being able to get to the cheese!

  3. did you change the picture at the top of your blog? the church in your town? Well done!

  4. Love the new photo and love hearing about when you were a doctor in a photo shoot.

    Melinda, I hope you get to your cheese, it's a good thing you weren't planning a trip to Mexico.

  5. Yes, Dale, I changed the picture. What you see now is the church and, behind it, the château in Saint-Aignan. I like the old terra-cotta tile rooftops of the town.

  6. How many folks can say they've been a model or been behind bars at Alcatraz? You are a rare one, Ken Broadhurst.

  7. Such a forlorn version of you behind bars, Ken. Oh, the things we do to earn the mighty dollar.

    Granted, that was something you did for your job twenty years ago, but I can assure you that in today's America, people are being asked to do 2 and sometimes 3 jobs in addition to their regular one, and they comply for fear of being let go or thought to be lacking sufficient team spirit.

    I have so enjoyed your posts of late, especially the ones relating to feeling "bien dans sa peau" in one location but not at all in others. Who can say why? I still feel an attachment for central Illinois where I grew up although more than 30 years have passed since I lived there. I've lived in the Boston area since 1977 and generally like it here, but I could do without the cold, snowy winters and the hot, humid days of summer (nothing like Illinois, of course).

    Now, if I could just find a way to get baguettes home-delivered here in Sudbury, that would go a long way to ratcheting up my good feelings for this area.

  8. Hi Ken,
    Thanks for enlightening us on the 'modelling' gig.

    Was your trip to the Selles-sur-Cher market a profitable one? Did you get anything special? I do loooove markets in France. There is so much fresh produce. The colours and aromas are wonderful and life seems so relaxed. I can't go to France without visiting a market or two. I can't wait to get back to the Loire Valley ... pretty soon now! Martine

  9. Ken and Walt - There's an article
    in today's U.K. Guardian which says
    the English can expect a very nice
    summer this year. Apparently the
    ocean waters in the Pacific are
    warming which influences the jet
    stream. I bet it will bring warm
    temps your way too.


  10. *Love* the new photo! To answer Ginny, all sort of people are models and I'll bet there are still some folks alive who spent time on Alcatraz before it because a park. However, only our Ken can claim both!

  11. Your new photo of the church and château is just great -- and a totally new sight. I have hundred of (mostly) antique postcards od StAignan and none of your predecessors has ever discovered that great point of view!

  12. Michel, it's comforting to know I was not the only one who found it hard to love California, despite the natural beauty. I always thought I must be crazy.

    Sheila, thanks. I will keep my hopes up for summer then.

    Martine, we went to the market in Selles-sur-Cher to buy plants: poivrons because the ones we tried to grow from seed failed, and then pétunias, impatiens, and surfinias (pétunias retombants) to plant in pots and windows boxes. We also got some asparagus and a nice pain au levain, since we missed yesterday's bread delivery by being out shopping. The market was crowded and busy since it was the day before a holiday weekend.

    Hi Bob F., I'm glad to hear from you again. I have a spot in my heart for central Illinois too. I had some very good years there, but at the time Paris beckoned constantly. At first I thought Champaign was the at the ends of the earth, but the place really grew on me.

    Evelyn, Ginny, Susan, I'm lucky the rangers at Alcatraz didn't throw away the key.

    Melinda, good luck and have a great time in Paris. The weather is beautiful today. Predictions look pretty good for the coming week I think. We are going to plant seeds and set out plants in the garden today and tomorrow.


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