Monday, November 16, 2009

Simplicity: It was never simple. A series of portraits in honor of my mother's upcoming birthday


My mother is in her early 30's, and her youngest child is nine months old.  We are going for a walk.  She wears a tight skirt; burnt orange with kick pleats, and a snug turtleneck sweater, black high heels.  My brother is secured inside his stroller that has wooden beads strung across the front. He's gnawed and chewed on them like a small rat.  Drool leaks from the side of his mouth, and we set out in the early afternoon.  We walk along the wide avenue.  Cars pass by and men honk their horns in appreciation of my mother's derriere swinging to and fro as she pushes the stroller.  We pass houses which are variations of ours; one story ranch with contrasting trim.  Five or six or seven children with runny noses and smart mouths.  Too high tuition at the local Catholic school where the nuns are an instrument of torture.  Husbands who work at the factory.

My mother walks fast; as if escaping.  She smokes cigarettes, she chews gum. She doesn't speak.  My brother is quiet. I hold onto the stroller, helping my mother push it up a hill as we pass by the local park.  This is who we are as walk on the avenue.  It's not about where we are going, it's about how we are getting there. We don't have a car.  It is strange to be the only people out on the streets in the middle of the day, the middle of the week.  My mother walks with the knowledge that she is still a good looking woman.  Her fourth child, and she can still fill out that skirt.  Curl her blond hair, walk out in the world with two of her children, and still get noticed. 

advertising from the 1960's: saltycotton, flickr.

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