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Tag Archives: tractor

her tractor years

Dorothy on tractorIt’s hard for me to imagine my mother on a tractor, but there she is, next to a bare-chested and bereted man I can’t identify. She was a fair-skinned redhead who avoided the sun and could never be called outdoorsy, but there she is, in scarf and sunglasses, facing into the wide glare of afternoon.

Her tractor years were the war years, when she worked at Lockheed and was part-owner of a horse. She looks happy in the pictures from that time, unencumbered and unselfconscious. Her face is relaxed, her smile genuine. She has friends and work and, in a way that was unique in her lifetime, worth.

Perhaps the land and the horses and tractors — and the people who tended them — allowed her to forget her feelings of inadequacy and ugliness. Maybe she could stop comparing, stop measuring herself against others and against the lofty impossibility of her mother’s expectations.

A sketchbook always tucked into her purse or pocket, she has dirt on her shoes and the smell of horse on her hands. She has an easy comfort in her body, fresh air on her skin. I wish I had known her.