This is my grandfatherâ€™s passport from the 1950â€™s. With a matte, almost linen-like, khaki-colored cover and numbered by hand as â€œNo. 3155.â€ It provides a fascinating glimpse into a bygone era of civilized travel. Forget computerized bar-coding, filament infused security paper, or even GPS tracking chips in the most modern, highly laminated and tamper proof travel documents. This old passport definitely had style, in the same way my Lolo used to go to court in cream colored linen suitsâ€¦
A calligrapher spells out personal details in a genteel script in black ink. And my grandfatherâ€™s name seems to flow on the pages of this document. His occupation, listed as â€œLawyer â€“ Businessman,â€ never looked so appealing as it did in this passportâ€¦ and his signature, done using one of his classic fountain pens, is appropriately elegant, and bizarrely, a bit similar to my own signature today, though mine is sharper and somewhat more harried, with less rounded corners.
An embossed gold seal and various signatures of Department of Foreign Affairs officials makes the document seem more legitimateâ€¦
â€¦and the black and white photo of Lolo is simply stuck onto one of the pages with glue, albeit GOOD glue, as it remains firmly attached to the passport, some 50+ years after it was issued. No lamination or other safety features are in place. But then again, with just 3155 passports issued that year(?) or in that series, I suspect it didnâ€™t seem necessary at all.
And who can forget those yellow â€œCertificate of Vaccinationâ€ booklets that had to be attached to your passports to ensure that you had your shots for cholera, yellow fever, malaria and other diseases you were likely to encounter in your travels to foreign landsâ€¦