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:
long red hair
Some sunsets come earlier than others.
‘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.