there, I find it amusing to recall a certain hot September day of my seventh year, when I asked my father for ten cents. "
As a teenager she liked to sing, and it was singing she met her future husband, Martin Johnson, a photographer and traveler just back from a sailing adventure with the writer Jack London and his wife; a trip on which Martin had won his place through a postcard to Jack in a magazine contest. Osa had actually met Martin years before, when he photographed her baby brother, but did not remember the confident, worldy Martin. Martin, years Osa's senior, fell madly in love with Osa, who was highly irritated by Martin at first, and acted entirely like a teenager, having hissy fits, sarcastic asides and a generally difficult attitude, which apparently did nothing to dissuade Martin. They were married in 1910, and their great adventure began.
In fact, Osa's autobiogaphy of their life is titled I Married Adventure, and this is how I fell in love with her, and learned of her and Martin's fascinating life. After stumbling across a 1st edition in a dusty, pee smelling used bookstore, I brought home and consumed this unique and energetic life story. Although Martin and Osa began life as a typical married couple for the time, Osa being the housewife and sharply dressed observer of Martin's work life, they could not stay still. Martin was concerned that Osa would quickly tire and leave if he 'subjected' her to a life of travel and adventure, something not done by women of the day, but eventually Osa convinced him that it was possible and so they packed up house and set off. After 7 years of work and saving money, Osa and Martin took sail on a large ship across the ocean to travel, film and explore the Solomon Islands and . They were not sailing on a cruise ship, but instead a hard working ocean ship meant for industry, and although Martin was very concerned with having Osa, a woman, on this ardous journey, she had the stomach of a true sailor, and it was Martin and the rest of the occupants who were miserable while Osa spent time on deck with the impressed Captain.
Met on the ship and on land with incredulous men who could not believe Martin 'let' Osa make this journey, Osa had to prove herself daily, making it clear she could do without nice clothing, proper bathroom facilities, other ladies to socialize with, or any of the comforts of civilization. Again and again Osa impressed men with her hard work ethic, positive attitude and teamwork.
Osa and Martin traveled and met the native inhabitants of these exotic locals- no man or woman had ever done so, and it was debated if these peoples even existed- and came close to death on their first encounter, which ended in a dramatic ( and stomach clenching story to read) run down a jungle mountain hillside to escape onto ship, away from the murderous Chief and his tribe giving chase. Amazingly, Osa did not give up or retreat to the cabin ( I'm sure I would have) and instead the persisted, eventually netting the first ever films of these peoples.
what is amazing to me about this, aside from the rich history, is how you see this exact dancing on MTV and in clubs now!
next post will continue Osa's story