Another thing you need to understand, and I’ll look for a picture of this in my collection but I don’t think I’ll find one -is just how different my parents were.  They were alike in that they had both been deeply wounded, mostly by their fathers.  The results though were opposites when it came to obeying the law, or even whether to get out of answering a phone call.  If a call came in and my father answered it, no matter what sorts of signs, frantic waving of hands, or just leaving the room; my father would tell the person on the line: Hold on a sec, I’ll get her.

Her being my mother who didn’t generally want to talk with anyone but her closest friends.  And even then.

So my father got his morality streak from the fictional George Washington and the Cherry Tree branch of the family.  His father (my paternal grandpa was a gambler).  My father – oh – is name in this story is going to be Harry, because I don’t think he’d like me writing about him, even tho he’s been dead a couple.

My mother was a klepto.  I mean, she was interested in stealing anything that wasn’t nailed down.  And even then.

She was an abused child (by her father) because of her musical talent, and because of what he wanted to make her into.  That’s a story that will come later as I travel back into their past.  For now, we’re in the Lupus stage, and I’m wheeling her around the hospital.  She’s been through hell and is partly back, but she wants to go to the gift shop.  She’s talking about some People Magazine she wants.

And I tell her, not to play any games.  I have money.  And I don’t feel like getting into trouble in the hospital.

She’s in a hospital gown.  She arranges a coarse yellow blanket over her lap; and as he wheel through the store, she keeps one eye on the cashier (who I doubt could care less what mom did) and she’s also sizes up the mirrors; are there cameras; she’s going on a heist.  She’s puffed up from Prednisone (the last 9 years on the stuff) and I’ve been on that too; and it can make you crazier than usual.  But she’s picking out all sorts of magazines as we wheel around the store; and they’re all going under her blanket accept the one she has decided to pay for.

The cashier is chewing gum.  Not giving a shit.  All these decades later, I remember that.

When we get out of the store, she has a broad smile on.  Doesn’t say a word.  When we get up to her floor, she takes the stack of magazines, puts it on her lap, and as we wheel by the other patient’s rooms she tells me to stop, calls out some woman’s name, and tosses her one of the magazines.  I don’t see who get’s it.  She’s behind a curtain but I hear a raspy old lady rasp.

And we continue down the hall where she’s giving magazines away like a delivery kid on a bike in some fictitious small town.  Until we get back to her own room.  She’s got a nice bed on the 16 floor overlooking the East River.  She still has the People magazine she wanted; and says, she feels a little tired; if I can help her back into bed.


Published by dave

I've been photographing New York, mostly in black and white, for the last 35 years. In other words, I began in the age of Tri-x and D-76 and eventually moved into the world of pigment ink. Enjoy your stay - Dave

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