Roswila's Dream & Poetry Realm

SEE ALSO: TRYING TO HOLD A BOX OF LIGHT (photos, realistic to abstract)

Friday, January 12, 2007

AN EARLY SUNSET (Old Photos of My Mother, With A Haiku)

In the previous post I shared old photos of some of my family. Now for the few I have left of my first mother Mary, whom my brother and I called "Mama." My father remarried after my mother died and I still consider Paulette -- now deceased -- my mother, too. In putting this post up I realized that the anniversary of Mama's death is less than a month away, February 8, 1954.

Mary was an amazing woman whom I would have loved the chance to know as an adult. She was not only a visual artist, but a math teacher -- higher maths, like calculus. I have memories of her sitting at night in the living room, grinding the lens for a telescope she was making. Lost with so much else is a fabulous photo of her looking into that telescope in our backyard. She also sewed and knit, and wrote poetry.

The picture below is of my parents, Jack and Mary, on their wedding day in 1943. The original isn't any clearer. In fact, I'm surprised at how well it scanned. My father met her in the Air Force, where she was teaching a calculus class. Mama's mother, my grandmother Julia, gave me that wedding gown when I was in my late teens. It was gorgeous, a very soft satin. I can't remember what happened to it. Probably lost with so much else as I moved and moved and moved around this city. And check out that car in the photo! :-)

This photo was taken sometime before we moved to New York from Florida. I'm probably about 3 here. The other woman with Mama and me is Madam Louise Holmer, whom my father took singing lessons with. I love how the shape of my little hat echos my mother's hair style.

Given the state of the original photo I share below, this picture actually looks pretty good. :-) It was taken in 1949 when we first moved up to Woodside, New York, probably taken in our backyard where she'd use that telescope she'd make. That's my brother, Russell, in Mama's arms. He's about 3 months old and I'm just five years old. "Hey, how's about getting that blanket out of my eye?"

This next is a scan of a xerox of a 54 year old newspaper picture, so I'm very surprised at how decent it looks here. This picture accompanied an article in some local newspaper about my father's career, and especially his appearance as the lead in "A Night in Venice" at the Jones Beach Marine Theatre. I may post the entire article here in the future, but this post is in memory of my mother. My kitten was named Taboo (could you guess that name was my father's choice?). The dog's name was Baby. Oh, and you may note the surname "Russell" under the picture. My father's stage name was Jack Russell; there was already an actor named Jack Kelly, if you may recall. :-)

I'm always surprised at the strong resemblance I bear to my mother when I see this photo. (Not so much now, of course, as she was only 34 here and I am now 63.) You may note the year below the picture -- 1953; as I said above, she died in February of 1954. So this old newspaper photo is among the last ever taken of her.

To close, an old haiku I've posted here before about my favorite of the few clear memories that I have of Mama. It happened not long after the newspaper photo above, in late summer. I did feel loved by Mama, though we were not all that emotionally close. So to be brushing her just washed waist length hair, out on the front steps as the sun set, was more heart-warming than any writing could ever get across:

brushing Mama's
long red hair
summer sunset

Some sunsets come earlier than others.

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‘til next time, keep dreaming,


[aka: Patricia Kelly]

****If you wish to copy or use any of my writing or poems, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)****My other blog: ROSWILA’S TAROT GALLERY & JOURNAL.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A DAY AT THE BEACH (Old Photos & A Dream-Based Haiku)

I started to open this post saying it may seem odd to do a beach post in winter. But given the unseasonably warm weather we've been having, that's not at all the case...:-)

When I took out my photos I was looking for some of my Uncle Dick who died recently (see the introducing paragraph here for a little more detail). I found the only ones I have left of him are from a visit he made to our family at the beach house we lived in the summers my father was performing in a marine theatre. Here's a postcard from those times, at least 54 years ago:

The back of the postcard (which has no year on it, surprisingly) says: "A typical evening scene at the Jones Beach Marine Theatre where thousands of theatre-goers from all over the world attend Michael Todd's magnificent production of 'A night in Venice.' Built by the Long Island State Park Commission, the new Marine Theatre, seating 8,200, is the world's most modern and beautiful outdoor showplace." I just did a very quick google to see if it still exists and it doesn't look like it survived past the 1980's, though I didn't have the patience to really dig into it.* If it's still there, it may be only as a "landmark." (BTW, my father used to sing the lead part in that particular show.)

This next photo is from the same time, outside our beach house, and is of my Uncle Dick (seated), my father, their mother (my beloved G'ma Hill, who was also visiting), and me:

The beach house was on a canal and we had a boat we "parked" in it. Though the boat in the below photo is not ours; if memory serves, ours did not have a "canopy" and was a bit smaller. However, I am sure that is my Uncle Dick happily paddling along in the canal (we were a family of water rats :-D):

I love this next photo. On the left is my father, in the middle is my brother, and on the right, my Uncle Dick. It is so typical of my father to be reaching out carefully to an animal:

This photo calls to mind an old dream-based haiku of mine:

stormy night
my father tenderly cares
for the ailing bird

My relationships with my father, brother and uncle became, shall I say, ultimately very difficult. But I am delighted to have these photos and the warm memories they remind me to cherish. I.e., I need not "throw the baby out with the bathwater;" I can still have what was good about us.

[If you'd like to see a four generations photo that is over 60 years old from this same side of my family, click here.]

*Note of 2-21-07: I stumbled across this reference to Jones Beach Marine Theatre on KPMG's Long Island campus information page: "Jones Beach Marine Theatre — concerts by the sea by the biggest names in popular music..." So it seems it still exists. :-)

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‘til next time, keep dreaming,


[aka: Patricia Kelly]

****If you wish to copy or use any of my writing or poems, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)****My other blog: ROSWILA’S TAROT GALLERY & JOURNAL.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

HAIKU: In Reponse to One Deep Breath's Prompt for the Week of 1/08/07

on the promenade
forsythia buds

The prompt on One Deep Breath for this week is subtle naturally occurring changes, as opposed to those we tend to make or commit to making at the beginning of each year.

With all the warm weather we've been having here on the East Coast of the U.S. -- some people were wearing shorts a couple of days ago -- there have been some unseasonal subtle changes. Such as buds on forsythia branches.

The promendade I mention is along the river side of Brooklyn here in New York City, across from Manhattan. It's a very popular place to stroll, ride bikes, view Manhattan, shmooze, roller skate, etc., and in recent T.V. news segments it looked just like a summer afternoon.

The Japanese glyph above is "winter."

You can visit One Deep Breath (link above) to read the full prompt and enjoy others' responses.

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‘til next time, keep dreaming,


[aka: Patricia Kelly]

****If you wish to copy or use any of my writing or poems, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)****My other blog: ROSWILA’S TAROT GALLERY & JOURNAL