chocolate is a verb

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Tag Archives: honeymoon

beginning

DAK - Death ValleyWho was this Dorothy? This boot-clad woman in the sweater I’ve never seen? What rough camp is this, with its big tables and bright windows? She isn’t posing, might be in the middle of saying something, in the middle of relaxing from a hike in the chilly afternoon.

The undated photo is likely from my parents’ honeymoon, December in Death Valley. They would have driven east and north from Los Angeles, across mountains and desert, filled with their own heat and promise, to reach this place of ghost towns and abandoned mines, this not-yet-a-resort. She was from a life of fur coats and Oysters Rockefeller, he the rabbi’s son with too many war years in the Army.

They would find their way, starting in this parched landscape of a zillion stars, set aside the familiar, the comfortable, to begin what might then have seemed the perfect union.

honeymoon…

honeymoonThe funny little clear plastic stand on my father’s bureau held a black and white photo of my parents, trimmed in a circle to fit between two small discs of glass. They’re looking into the bright December Death Valley day and their eyes are squinting slightly against the harsh light. Their heads are together, their smiles wide. They’re dressed casually, collars open, leather jackets.

They’re in their mid-30s and they’re honeymooning, though they look older to me, maybe because they’re my parents and, by definition, old. Maybe because my father has lost most of his hair and already looked much like he would for the remaining 51 years of his life. By 1946, he had seen enough to make anyone lose their hair. But he had survived, and returned, and pursued this smiling woman with the curly red hair.

Her hair is smoothed a bit on the top and clipped back at the temples, giving her long face a heart shape. She’s wearing lipstick and the caramel-colored fringed buckskin jacket that she would wear so much it finally fell apart.

His arm is around her, his fingers gripping her and pulling her tight. It’s that gesture that deepens her smile, makes her feel safe, held, wanted, protected, desired. Beautiful. It was only in the reflection of men’s eyes that she could be, momentarily, beautiful.

And here was a man, a good man, a smart, solid, honest, handsome man, who wanted her, and wanted to stay with her, to make a life with her, for better or worse. But, in those early days, who could imagine worse?