chocolate is a verb

colors, flavors, whims and other growing things

twenty-one

1932 - Dottie on beach
I examine each of these many photographs of my mother through two magnifying glasses — one literal, that allows me to see the physical details, and one figurative, that focuses on the image through the lens of all that I know, and don’t know, about her.

In this tiny torn photo, Dorothy — “Dottie” — was 21. It was the Fourth of July, 1932, a beach party on Lake Michigan. She looks much as she would look for the rest of her life: small frame, slender shoulders, wide hips, her features strong. And yet there is something incomplete about her, something faun-like in her pose and her expression.

Perhaps more significantly, she already displays the entwined halves of her self-image: the careful and the devil-may-care.

She would have chosen her clothes with great deliberation — still a little flapper-ish, casual but styled, good fabrics, her curly hair nearly tamed by a beret. Her choices made, she would then have gone out of her way to be noticed for her insouciance — her party-girl laughter, her long pants dragging in the shoreline mud.

She flirts with the camera and yet there is still that uncertainty, the part that would ask again and again, Do you believe me? Do you love me?

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4 responses to “twenty-one

  1. Jean-Marcel March 17, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    What a beautiful and delicate way to look at your mother, both literally and figuratively, yet with love and respect. Inspiring.

  2. noellevignola March 17, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    Loved this piece. Beautiful and very grown up reflection on a woman who is also your mother.

  3. jik March 17, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    Thank you so much!

  4. jik March 17, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    Thank you. I really appreciate your comment.

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