Today is my grandfather’s birthday. I don’t remember the exact year he died but it was around 1988 at the age of 91. He was my maternal grandfather and the only male figure in my life that I really felt was my hero, always being there for me. I don’t know much about his relationship with my mother nor my aunts when they were kids but I knew how he was with me and my sisters. He loved us all. I have so many wonderful memories of him starting with him picking me up from school when I was a small child. My primary school was literally down the street from my grandparents’ house so he would either drive or walk to get me and when it was walking, I would hold his hand. I spent many afternoons at their house and even spent some nights. Most memories centered around food. He would make breakfast/lunch for me and we sometimes went to the docks where he would fish but we would just sit in his car while we had lunch. There were the Sunday dinners that started at 11am and ended at 4 with a million food courses but always ending with a cigar for him, a card game with us and some farting in for a good laugh. There were the BBQs in the summer where he would take a huge sauce or soup pot and fill it to the brim with hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages and other meats. We called it, simply, the pot of meat! There were the neighbors who would complain that he would burn leaves/garbage in a big pit in the backyard. There was the time that he just went into the yard of someone who lived next door to the gynecologist’s office of my grandmother to pick dandelions for cooking that night’s dinner. When he showed my grandmother, instead of yelling at him, she said, “oh good. that will be nice with the sausage”.
When I got older, as they did, they moved into our house. They sold their house for a song to my oldest sister (who didn’t deserve it, quite frankly but that’s another story. It was tough having them live with us but just as funny. One famous story was when he became lazy and didn’t want to change his pants after wearing them several days in a row. My grandmother would yell at him to change them and he would yell back “no!” So one morning, my grandmother came out of their bedroom with her walker, his pants hanging, wet, on her walker and a big, proud smile on her face…..she peed on his pants in order for him to change them!
At some point, he had to go into a nursing home. Both of my grandparents were so sad for that. We took grandma to visit him often but then she passed away. Telling him was one of the hardest things. He loved her so much — 63 years of marriage before she passed. He died only a few years later. I wish time was different and that he was alive now as I am older. So many things I would love to share with him, including cooking. My Sicilian grandpa Vito.
Music has been the background of my life ever since I heard Dionne Warwick playing out of my mother’s Victrola when I was 3 years old. As a teenager, I would play certain songs over and over as I loved them so much and some helped me deal with so many difficult times. And because of that, whenever I hear those songs now, I am brought back to the time.
I was iTunes shopping today and if nothing really new is out from my favorite artists, I always head back looking for the oldies – for me that is mainly the 80s – I was a true and true MTV child even if I did listen to everything ranging from the late 60s and 70s and then while in uni, the 90s. Still, the songs of the 80s fell smack into all of my troubled youth well into early adulthood.
The rock band Boston was a favorite of mine and this song came up which, for some odd reason, I didn’t have anymore in my music collection. This song played every time I was hurt by someone. I would sit in the car crying, sobbing and hating myself (which was often) and I played this. I downloaded this song today, at 51 years old, and over the last half hour, played it over and over. And the lump in my throat came back….
I wanted to create a post today in order to preserve a sense of normalcy in what are difficult times. As the pandemic continues, I think it is necessary to keep doing as we do within the confines of our homes. Here, I continue to create. It is always a necessity for me and why would that stop now? I have also taken time to organize my studio space and print up some tests of my newer work to reflect upon (on the right of some old work). Here are some photos of my workspace from a converted bedroom. It works. Obviously, I use other spaces in which I shoot. (And no, the Gibson is not mine. ;))
Not on the boards are some other images that I could not print yet. I would like to share here a couple more. The Message is unfortunately censored a little for the social media morons.
I also want to take this moment to say to my readers that we will get through this. Yes, it’s scary and makes many of us full of anxiety but, it might sound strange but maybe in a way, this was a sign for us to stop for awhile – stop moving in other places, think, create, be and also to allow nature and wildlife to renew..renew as Spring does. My love to you all.
Between the years 2009-2012, I lost a lot of weight, intentionally and, I thought at the time, spent with my head more in the clouds than usual. I was in weekly therapy sessions for over a year and a half and in the middle of a marriage I didn’t want to be in. I was exhibiting more, giving presentations, going off on an artist’s residency and I just worked, worked, worked.
This afternoon, I started gathering prints that have been in my studio and with me for some time that I would like to sell either online, in person and/or at the photo salon that I will be exhibiting work in next March and I stumbled across this image that created in 2011 entitled “Stand By”. It was part of a photographic series that never really saw the light of day possibly because I was doing a lot of things at the same time. I now know what this image means but at the time, I think I just photographed on instinct. I wanted to escape – my marriage, the neighborhood I lived in, the toxic environment I was in almost everywhere (except where I worked) but I couldn’t. I didn’t have the money, the courage, the will to be strong enough. The only things I was able to control at the time was what I ate and how I worked. At least it’s what I thought. So here I am in this photo, the bird that is my soul, quite literally, I suppose, tied down and I am just holding it and waiting.
I used a Holga to photograph this on the side of my and my ex-husband’s house one afternoon. This print is not part of my Inventory sale via my website as I have been holding on to it but I think now I am ready and would like to offer it to someone who really wants it. If you are that person, contact me.
Seeing this image really put a lump in my throat and took me back to a very difficult time in my life. I am grateful that I was able to document it.