Saturday, October 24, 2009
What is Remembered, Lives
This is one of my favorite pics from my childhood. That's me, the one smiling at the camera. You won't find a lot of pics of me smiling, gazing into the lens. I always have hated having my picture taken. My sister Hannah understands. She always used to say "It is hard to pose for a piece of film going by." Now it's even a stranger experience, being pixilated. Pixilized? Digitized? Digilated? What is the right verb here?
My father was a very good photographer. He rarely took posed pictures of us, and in fact he often told us not to pose. I believe I am smiling in the above picture because, due to my contrarian nature, I decided at the last second to break the rule. I do look adorable, though, as do we all. The tall woman is my oldest sister Karen. Nice coat, eh? She is so MAD MEN, isn't she? Deborah is gazing up at her, as she frequently did, and my "Irish twin" sister Hannah is the other adorable little girl. Look at those cars! Man. I am SO OLD.
Sometimes my father posed us for formal portraits (see below.) Looking at that second picture, I have to agree with my old man: posed pictures tend to make the people look stiff and lifeless, as if posing for a daguerreotype. He felt, and I agree, that it's much more interesting to capture people in the midst of living life.
Karen isn't in the pic below, but my brother Josh has arrived. We're in Kansas City now; it is 1961. Deborah is the tall older sister, that's me in the bad glasses, and my sister Hannah looking somewhat discouraged on the right side of the pic. Becky Gamble, an adopted member of our family peeks over Deborah's shoulder on the left. We are dressed up for Shabbat dinner, something we did when I was young. I loved Shabbat dinners. We all tried our hardest to put aside our cares and worries, and just enjoy ourselves. Clearly though in the pic below, we were all still wrapped up in our own thoughts and concerns. I always laugh when I look at that picture.
My sister Karen died from leukemia on October 28, 1988. She was intelligent, classy, passionate about the arts and politics, so proud to be an intellectual Jew, well read. She was a great cook and loved to laugh - and - she was kind of a snob, too. She had style. I remember and love you, Karen. Always will, I promise. Fly high sister, fly high.