Wednesday, August 26, 2009

it begins with a color challenge

this week's challenge was to find a vintage photograph and create a life story for a stranger in the photo.......I tweaked it a little and wrote the life story of the photographer of this photo here it is (from the flickr group post)
I happen to have picked this photo for the clothes on the drew me in then you think someone in the 1940's clicked this photo to show the family members, yet there are the clothes on the line prominently displayed......seems like back then they took photos sparingly and made sure to focus on the subject......yet here we have the background more in focus than the faces
so for my challenge I am focusing on the story of the goes my fiction
this was taken on a summer day with family visiting by a woman! a woman using her husband's new fangled camera, he is at work, she is not usually the photographer, she is the mother of the baby in the photo.....and the woman holding the baby up is her sister, visiting from far away.....the photographer is a new mother for the first time and she herself is young.....under 20 and her sister in the photo is her oldest sister, she is from a large family in the midwest, and she has moved west with her veteran husband, he has taken her away from her family and familiar surroundings for his job, I suspect this is after world war 2 has ended and her elder unmarried sister has come west to see the newborn nephew on her vacation from her job, she began working soon after high school and continued to this day, now in her 30's and husbandless and childless, living at home with her elderly widowed father.
back to the photographer, her name is Katherine, her hubby calls her katy but her family calls her Kay, Kay married her high school sweetheart, he was 2 years ahead of her in school, and he went straight into the service upon his graduation, she married him after her high school graduation when he was home on leave that fall/ was like marrying a stranger, he had been away all of the years she finished high school, but she thought he was handsome in his uniform and it felt patriotic to marry him.
Kay stayed with her father and 3 older sisters when he returned to the war, she also had 2 younger sisters and 2 older brothers, they were a family of 9 children, one had died before she was born, and her mother had passed away when Kay was 10, but with the 3 older sisters she was never lacking in mothering love, she was the first sister to marry.....both boys had also married and had children and were living their lives away from the modest family homestead......Kay was 20 at the time she took this photo and overwhelmed with the duties needed to keep house, tend a baby, care for a ladder climbing husband that kept inviting suave people to dinner for drinks and cards on wednesday nights.....she was expected to keep a perfect house, prepare gourmet faire, have her son in bed and asleep when her husband returned from his day at work...all on a meager income that seemed unable to keep the lights on, she felt alone and had longed for her family to her sister was visiting and she wanted to savor the visit but still had the mounting chores to do, I think in this photo she is unable to not focus on the clothes drying since they are her work, her pride, her proof of worth to the family back home in the midwest....she had sent them birth announcement photos, professionally taken, they had seen her cherubic son, and here she can share the cuddly one with her older sister while she is able to do her housework
Kay went on to have another child, a little girl after her husband returned from the Korean War, she spent those years of his military service in the company of her older sisters, who had moved west after their patriarch passed away and it was somehow easier with the four women and children in the house and slowly they found their new house in California to be home, but when Kay's husband returned from the war the second time, it was stressful trying to balance time for him with the sisterhood time, Kay always felt pulled in every direction, there were few photographs taken of her because she was always busy tending to someone......her greatest joy was seeing 2 of her 3 older sisters marry and stay in the neighborhood, albeit late in life and without children, her sister's husbands came into the marriages with children so there were children for her 2 kids to play with at holiday parties.......and what parties they were! One of her brothers in laws, Sid, came from money and spared no expense when family gatherings occurred, he would provide catered goods and staff to let the family relax and visit, all of this seemed nice but still added stress to Kay's life having to listen to her husband complain that Sid was showing off and making them stay in their place.......but she could see how happy her sister was with Sid and that Sid was just jovial and goodnatured and never mentioned the money......but marital strife always followed these family gatherings for Kay, to the point that she began to dread the holidays.........that dread continued for 10 years, until that bright day that she became a Grandma for the first time.........seeing her first grandson be spoiled with a rented santa claus and lavished with gifts as the first grandbaby amongst the extended family....was priceless......and from that point on Kay seemed brighter and happier about the holidays
She never was a great homemaker, her sewing and laundry skills were good but her cooking and time management were always lacking, her husband discovered that he could tolerate her cooking much better AFTER 3 cocktails.....and so was their life until they found themselves nearing her husband's retirement from a middle management position where he could wield his power ego at work, as the months quickened to his time at home with her full time she began to dread every DAY......until she saw an ad in a lady's magazine for beautician's college......before her husband retired, she approached him with the smart idea that she could get training and work to help earn money while he enjoyed his retirement golfing and fishing with his veteran buddies......he balked at the cost, but she had the numbers crunched and suggested that if she worked full time she could recover the school fees in the first 2 years! He agreed, she excelled at her chosen late in life profession......she loved being with the ladies in the salon all day, chit chatting and looking glamourous, it was the 60's after all and she was still young enough looking to pass for 30, her continued education in the beauty world led her to attend many hair shows, rub elbows with Vidal Sassoon, train with him and be hit on by him, she was married and it made her smile to think that someone found her attractive of such fame and glamour....she went on to become a favored hair stylist to the stars and was soon enough not working the floor of a salon but on call to homes, studios, movie sets and award celebrations!
While she moved with the times and seemed to be gone alot, she still was there for all of her grandson's events and her children knew she was enjoying her time away from the kitchen.......funny how in the 1960's and 70's she seemed to wear ALOT of dry clean only designer clothing and mini dresses that required no IRONING, her husband never felt wanting since most of his retired buddies had wives at home that were more than happy to have another to dinner and keep their husband's out of the house golfing, fishing, playing cards.........Kay became more than she ever dreamed she could, and her grandkids still talk of the day gramma met rock hudson and doris day on a movie set, kay is still setting hair and performing makeover's in her current residence at sunset acre's retirement village, the ladies still request her, she has enjoyed seeing her grandson's have children and occassionally misses her husband, he passed away from lung cancer 5 years ago, but she does not miss that clothes line!

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Oh my goodness you did a lot of thinking on this one! Great job!!