chocolate is a verb

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Tag Archives: Venice

making pictures

Dorothy in Venice, 1963My father, no doubt in sports jacket and bowtie, stands in a precarious spot to capture this quintessential moment of my mother’s Venetian happiness: beret, gloves, Michelin guide and two handsome young men in the picture. This was how she had imagined the trip, and herself in it.

Those months of making notes, bookmarking pages in the guide, asking my father whether he was interested in this or in that. But he didn’t care; this was her domain. In his heart, he would have opted to stay home, to putter, away from the office for ten days.

Though born in Hungary, he had left as an infant and had no nostalgia for Europe. The War — his un-discussed war — was still a raw scar twenty years later, reminders everywhere, even in places he’d never been. Like Italy. But he was a good sport and a good husband and, once committed to a situation, knew how to make the best of it. He enjoyed their travels, this trip a sort of celebration after a prolonged period of work and money difficulties.

Through it all — the belt-tightening, the going without, the slow recovery — Dorothy had continued to idealize each situation, each outcome, and her heroic role in it. The problem was that the reality seldom attained the ideal. She warned me repeatedly against looking forward to anything.

Yet in travel, when she could be anyone, be the person she envisioned, she came closest to the place where the picture in the scrapbook matched the picture in her mind: smile wide, attractive and excited and contented, a woman everyone would admire and want to know.


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