Lauren Of Arabia
Saturday, September 11, 2010
I turned my coal-house into my dark room, and a glaze fowl-house I had given to my children became my glass house! The hens were liberated, I hope and believe not eaten. The profit of my boys upon new laid eggs was stopped, and all hands and hearts sympathized in my new labour, since the society of hens and chickens was soon changed for that of poets, prophets, painters and lovely maidens, who all in turn have immortalized the humble little farm erection…
I longed to arrest all beauty that came before me, and at length the longing has been satisfied. Its difficulty enhanced the value of the pursuit. I began with no knowledge of the art. I did not know where to place my dark box, how to focus my sitter, and my first picture I effaced to my consternation by rubbing my hand over the filmy side of the glass. It was a portrait of a farmer in Freshwater, who, to my fancy, resembled Bolingbroke…
Having succeeded with one farmer, I next tried two children; my son, Harding, being on his Oxford vacation, helped me in the difficulty of focusing. I was half-way through a beautiful picture when a splutter of laughter from one of the children lost me that picture, and less ambitious now, I took one child alone, appealing to her feelings and telling her of the waste of poor Mrs. Cameron’s chemicals and strength if she moved. The appeal had its effect, and I now produced a picture which I called
‘My First Success’
I was in a transport of delight. I ran all over the house to search for gifts for the child. I felt as if she entirely had made the picture. I printed, toned, fixed and framed it, and presented it to her father that same day: size 11 by 9 inches.
Julia Margaret Cameron
Annals of My Glass House, 1874
The above wonderful observations by Julia Margaret Cameron from her autobiography/diary Annals of My Glass House
are here for two reasons. One of them is that Cameron was able to inject into her diary that very enthusiasm and delight when I watched Lauren today dress up. She looked so fantastic that I turned on my bedroom lamp and placed her on my pillow. The soft lighting seemed to be accurately captured by my iPhone and the result you see here has little manipulation except for the vignetting.
The second reason for placing Cameron’s writings here is to help bury/hide both my wife’s and daughter’s statement (made independently at different times) upon seeing the picture today. “You cannot put this picture, it is 9/11.”
It is obvious that my imagination would see Lauren as a playful impersonation of T.E. Lawrence; there is a similarity in names. Nobody would deny that T.E. Lawrence was an important factor in pushing forward the cause of the people who lived in Arabia and who were rebelling against the Ottoman Turks.
Lauren is wearing a little rosary with a broken cross. As a Catholic that I was raised to be, I see no insult to my faith in having an innocent girl use it (so innocently) as a trinket to help her escape into her world of fantasy.
It may be that just a few, (ever so few) are holding us hostage. That should not be.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Guest Blog: Ilse Hable
When I think of ochre, two things come to my mind.
First, I remember the burnt grasses and the sun drenched mountains of Mexico during the dry season. They become especially beautiful late in the day, when the angle of the sun is low and cool, blue shadows reveal their structure. As if that were not an exciting enough color combination, in the State of Jalisco you can enjoy seeing them together with blue agaves, rows and rows of them, adding almost unreal looking patches of turquoise to the landscape.
I made these plein air oil paintings near the town of Tequila.
This region has a very, very long tradition of distilling the juices of the root or “piña” of the agave plant. In the past, tequila used to be consumed mostly in Mexico, but today, everybody knows the drink, which is produced by a long process of shredding, cooking, fermenting and double-distilling.
In a place called “El Tecuane” , also near Tequila, you can still see the open air, stone fermentation pots of the very first tequila factory. The place is hard to find, hidden in a remote valley. Not surprising, if you consider that the Spaniards who conquered Mexico did not allow independent, local production of alcohol that was not destined for the Spanish Crown.
My second thought, when I hear the word ochre, is about painting and mixing the colors to produce this hue. I always advise my students not to buy ochre in a tube, but make it themselves out of yellow, green, red and white. First, mix yellow-orange out of yellow and a little red, next make a dark version of yellow (like how yellow looks in the shade) by mixing yellow-orange and yellowish green together. Ochre is just one step away: Adding white. Depending on how much of each of the ingredients are used, dozens of different tones of ochre can be obtained. Doesn´t make sense to buy all of them, does it?!
Mountains and Agave (oil on linen)
Landscape with Volcan de Tequila (oil on linen)
Photos: El Tecuane Ancient tequila factory and fermentation pots.
Summer Heat (oil on linen)Ilse's Blog
Ilse T Hable is a tall Vienna-born painter who has also designed haute couture. She has a fondness not only for landscapes in plein air,
but for nudes and horses. She met my eldest daughter’s godfather, Yorkshire-born Andrew Taylor at choir practice in Mexico City around 1974. Ilse and Andrew Taylor live in Guadalajara Mexico. They have two daughters.
When I first found out about Ilse’s blog on painting I was hooked on it but unfortunately she is a busy painter and teacher so her blog comes in ever too small bites that whet my appetite for more. This guest blog from her came as a special request. I have often written in this blog how I miss the ochres, browns, oranges and reds of Mexico in the winter (dry) season when the cyan/gray skies of Vancouver winters freeze my soul.Ilse Hable's BlogOchresOchre and the agavesAnd more agaves
Thursday, September 09, 2010
Sometime in 1971 in Mexico City, our boxer Antonio became too sick so we took him to the SPCA to be put down. Our neighbours later revealed that they often wondered who the Antonio we either shouted at or beckoned for was. A few never suspected that our Antonio was not human but a dog. At the SPCA I determined that the best cure for a dead dog was a brand new one so Rosemary and I went to a compound full of dogs. They all barked at us (“Take me home,” perhaps?) but one gray black mutt (not too pretty) with some terrier blood looked at us forlornly. She was our pick and we took her home. When we left Mexico in 1975 my compadre (my eldest daughter’s godfather) Andrew Taylor kept Mouche until she died of old age quite a few years later.
When I look at our present cats, Casa (Rosemary’s 18 pounder male cat) and Plata my lithe and very beautiful snow-leopardish female cat I impute upon them my ideas of masculinity and femininity. Since Plata is a female, everything that she does must somehow be similar to the attributes of the women I know. Is she loving? Is she fickle? Is she possessive?
It was in 1986 that we purchased our first Audi. It was an Audi 5000 which had the reputation of being most independent to the point that it would go places even if you chose it not to. In all the years that we had (Her? Him? It?), the Audi never went anywhere unless we stepped on the gas pedal. And the Audi always stopped when stepped on the brakes. This entity of mechanical bits and pieces, of hydraulics and of electrical parts was obedient. Surely that had to be an almost human attribute.
On the Audi’s (notice how I am avoiding that it
) last day, some 8 years later its transmission gave out on Cambie and 6th Avenue. I pondered what to do. Then I discovered that (and I must reveal here that Rosemary called her Audi Sophie) Sophie could still move in reverse. I gingerly maneuvered Sophie back to our home near 41st and Granville, through back alleys and the loneliest roads I could find, in reverse. It seemed that even on her (and Sophie was most definitely a she) last day she performed her obligation of getting me home.
Since Sophie I, Rosemary has leased Sophie II, Sophie III and finally Sophie IV. Sophie IV will not be ours anymore on September 16. Rosemary is sad. I am not. I will explain.
This morning I told Rosemary how we had anthropomorphized our Audi A-4 into Sophie and given her the characteristics of a woman. I tried to explain that to diminish the pain I had been consciously (and perhaps unconsciously, too) de-anthropmophising her. I have been actively detaching myself from any connections to the car. I have been thinking, “I must remove all six CDs from the CD player, not because I might forget in the end, but more like by removing the CDs from Sophie, Sophie will become less us, less human. Parting will not be as heart wrenching. In the past Sophie II was instantly replaced by Sophie III. The queen is dead! Long live the Queen!
Sophie will be replaced by one of two cars. I can see Rosemary already putting a personality on one of them. It is the Chevrolet Malibu Maxx. The other, the Chevrolet Malibu sedan must be (if logic is used) our choice. It comes with a two-year factory power train warranty and its large lockable and independent trunk is a must if I am to persist in my photographic pursuits. But Rosemary is anthropomorphizing the Maxx (with a name like Maxx can you not?) and who knows what car will soon be parked on our front door?
My Car Follies
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
For any who have been recently reading this blog they might know that Rosemary and I are in the throws of looking for a car to replace the leased Audi A-4 that we are returning on the 16th. There are many words that come to mind including the one that Rosemary is using a lot these days and that is downsizing. There is an expression in Spanish that is far scarier. “Nos hemos venido abajo.” It sort of means we have gone downhill and we are now in the dumps.”
The word downsizing isn’t quite as accurate as it might sound as the car that we now have in our sights, a 2007 Chevrolet Malibu sedan is about a foot longer than the Audi.
As we look at used cars and try to use logic as opposed to gut feeling or antojo
. In Spanish an antojo
is something that you suddenly want simply because you want it. It is something that you buy, try or perhaps eat on impulse. Mexicans call some of their overly rich elements of their cuisine antojitos
, impulse snacks, perhaps?
The search for the car has also made me think of many of the cars in our past. It is almost certain our next car will probably be one of our last car purchases if not the last one. This realization has made me think back. Many of the cars were sheer follies.
We came to Vancouver in our solidly built Mexican-made VW beetle
. It was a great car until one day, sometime around 1977, in a snow storm, Rosemary and I skidded down Renfrew (near Grandview highway) on to a 15 car pileup. After we climbed out of our car in a hurry a huge construction truck slid down and pretty well totaled our VW. This VW was replaced by a Rabbit. It is strange to consider that the folks at VW who for years paraded the fact that the VW as air-cooled and needed no coolant and hoses would then sell a car that had hoses galore. One of these hoses burst just as I was navigating into the old Connaught Bridge (the precursor to the Cambie Street Bridge) which had a central span made of wood slats. It was there that the car stopped when a thermostat protecting the engine reacted to the burst coolant hose.
Another car that we owned was an early four-door hatchback Honda Civic. This one was a good car but Rosemary kept fender bending it.
Rosemary drove the VW beetle, the Rabbit and the Civic. I drove two (one replaced the other) Fiat X-1/9s which in principle were fantastic mid-engine cars.
Because the engine was right behind the two bucket seats this car had two trunks. The front trunk also accommodated the removable roof which transformed my two-seater into a convertible. But like most Fiats then sold in Canada it was plagued by numerous mechanical problems of which the major one was a perennial slipping clutch that transformed the sprightly little car into sounding and reacting like a circa mid 50s Buick with a Dynaflow automatic transmission. Upon changing from red to green I would slowly ease on the clutch and ever so gingerly would I step on the gas. The car would whine, oo-oo-oo-oow!
The second of the two Fiats was blue (the first one had been appropriately lemon yellow). When almost new it stopped most suddenly as I was about to enter the freeway from First Avenue and Rupert (Again, Rupert!). The car had rear wheel drive and one of the drive-shafts connecting to one of the wheels had sheared off. Not long after I was driving on that very freeway near Willingdon and Hastings when I lost power even though the engine was purring ever so nicely. I was able to pull over even though the car decelerated quickly. I determined that the linkage between my gas pedal to the carburetor was broken. I had been shopping at a nearby Safeway and I remembered I had bought a loaf of white bread. I re-connected the broken gas pedal link to the carburetor with the bread tie and gingerly got home in one piece. Waiting for me was letter from Fiat Canada advising me on a recall on X-1/9 models that had problems with gas pedals!
My eldest daughter by then was around 14 and she was acting like a rebellious teenager. I decided that I needed that cliché man to man drive to nowhere to bond with her even though she was not a boy. I purchased a box set of Bruce Springsteen cassettes and we promptly went on a trip south to San Francisco with the top down. On our first night (somewhere in Oregon) we arrived at a motel. The attendant looked at me in disgust. It occurred to me why he was looking at me the way he was. She was 13 and I was in my late 30s. I tried to make the situation better by loudly saying, “Ale you should call your mother.” The man threw the room keys at me with disdain.
Our father to daughter relationship was a tad warmed by the time we arrived in San Francisco. As I was navigating the up and down streets of the city I heard a clunk. I delivered Ale to some of my relatives and went to the last remaining Fiat dealer in the city. The man after inspecting the car (they took the front wheels apart) showed me a cracked piece of metal. “I have good news and bad news for you. The good news is that your problem is a simple one. You have a cracked constant-velocity joint. The bad news (and here he looked at me like a funeral director) is that the part is in NATIONAL-BACK-ORDER. Would you like to sell the car to us? That would get you out of your present fix.”
In that pre-internet dawn where the telephone and yellow pages were king-and-consort, I called junkyards all over California. In some cases all I had to say was, “I have this Fiat…” and the man on the other side of the line would hang up.
I found the part in a Surrey junkyard on Scott Road. I had the part delivered by a taxi (from the junkyard) to the Air Canada Cargo office in the Vancouver airport. I picked up the part a few days later at the San Francisco airport and I proudly and triumphantly handed it to the Fiat “funeral director”. He was brusque in pulling back his hands and said, “Let’s go outside.” We have the policy here of not using used parts to repair our cars. You will give me the part outside on the sidewalk and that way we can circumvent our policy.”
In the late 80s I was making a ton of money with annual reports (day rates for weeks on end to Alberta, for example) and taking pictures for magazines from Vanity Fair, to obscure British magazines like Arena. I told Rosemary, “I am tired of driving a Fix-it-Again-Tony (my mechanic was not Tony but a most Italian Girolamo). I want a dependable car and one that will not be cramped so I can carry all the photographic equipment I want.
I had recently read an interview with Polish write Jerzy Kosiński who had revealed that his car of choice was a wide-track Pontiac. The reporter (and American) was curious as to why a rich author would have such a car, the domestic Pontiac and not a Mercedes or a Ferrari. Kosiński’s answer was a killer, “My Pontiac can accommodate my polo mallets in its trunk.”
“Rosemary I want to buy a brand new Chevrolet Caprice, the one that looks like a bathtub and is used by the cops and by the Yellow Cab Company.” My wife at the time was quite concerned about our image and she said, “There is no way you are going to drive a car that is commonly driven by vacuum cleaner salesmen. Why don’t you buy that used Maserati Biturbo that Girolamo is tempting you with?”
And that is where I made the worst, impulse car purchase of my whole life. The car (it was maroon and it looked sort of like a stylish, almost non-descript Toyota) had a V-6 double turbo charged engine and it accelerated almost like a Corvette. I liked to play macho-man at the light with some idiot driving a Mazda Miata on my right who would try to sneak up and pass me as the light turned to green at an intersection in which the other side the left-lane was blocked by a parked car. It was sheer pleasure. My pleasure was short-lived. Soon fluids were going into places that they were not supposed to go into. Gas was going into the oil, oil was going into the gas and to add insult to injury coolant was filtering into the gas.
The clutch slipped, the transmission clunked, the electric windows would not go up, or go down and soon I realized that the leather upholstery was leather only where my rear end was in contact. The sides and the backs were imitation leather that soon cracked badly.
I parked the car in my garage and closed the garage door. It is still there as a reminder of my folly. We do have a pretty English garden so I sometimes tell our garden visitors that our English Garden Folly (a most English custom) is safely locked in the garage. Like that overdue library book that if you safely keep in a closed drawer and does not exist until the folks at the VPL send a huge overdue notice by the mail, my Maserati does not exist because I cannot see it.
This time around as we agonize over our choice, we are going to make sure our car is an intelligent buy. The only problem is that Rosemary asks me, “Does that Malibu, have heated seats? Does it have a power sunroof, etc? Can you lock the car remotly?”
I sometimes wonder where we would be now had I purchased that Chevrolet Caprice. Perhaps all those Dollars that went down the drain to repair the Maserati would have helped me become rich and famous and rich enough to take up polo and perhaps store them in the Caprice’s trunk.
A Shoebox Of Photos Not
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
My 90 year-old aunt Dolores de Irureta Goyena Humphrey has not spoken to me since my mother died in the early 70s. The reason is that I hold the family album. It has pictures beginning in 1888. Through the years her brother (my uncle) Antonio would visit my grandmother (who had the album) and he would purloin pictures. When my grandmother died my mother kept the album. When she died my aunt Dolores wanted it. So did I. I kept it.
When Alexandra was born in 1968 we had a beautiful leather bound album made for her. We did the same when Hilary was born and I transferred the old family albums into a brand new one (also leather bound). We meticulously kept it up to day until the day we left for Vancouver in 1975. I had spent many an evening in my little bathroom darkroom in Mexico City making little b+w 3 by 2 inch pictures.
Or I would have prints made from the colour negatives I shot. Once we arrived in Vancouver we stopped updating the albums which for in the years have lost pictures to further purloining or perhaps they fell out when the little black corners would unstick.
The pictures I have since taken, made it to our walls in frames and of late I have scanned them and placed them in my blogs of which today’s is an example.
Many of those pictures are not in an iconic shoe box. They are in a Coast Paper box which at one time contained 500 of my letterhead envelopes. Today I decided to surf (and then turf) the box and here are some of the pictures.
The last two sepia toned pictures are of my grandafather Tirso de Irureta Goyena with his factotum and the other of my mother and Uncle Tony with their maid in Madrid. The pictures must have fallen out of the big family album and Rosemary put them into the box.
The New Polaroid For The Old Man
Monday, September 06, 2010
Our ability to produce media has outstripped our ability to consume it. The average photograph now gets looked at less than once simply because there is almost zero cost and effort to producing one.
David Carr, NY Times, September 5, 2010
To my delight and constant amazement, every day I read my hard copy (made from dead trees) NY Times there is something that makes me reflect on my own existence and helps me thrash out in my mind how the rapidly changing world is affecting and changing me.
Reading the above statement in a business article called, The Media Equation, made me think on a lazy and rainy Labor Day holiday on the recent events that are modifying my life and my wife’s so rapidly.
It was last September that a simple financial equation in fluid dynamics that if the water pouring into a tub, does so without a stopper, you will never fill the tub. In the same way I figured out that money entering into my studio in the form of paying work was not exceeding in the least the amount of money I was paying in rent. I shut down the leak and went home.
It took a while to go through the adjustment to the loss of my private photographic space. But as my work continued to diminish the closing justified itself even if I should have done so months before.
For reasons that escape me, the arts editor of the Georgia Straight
, Janet Smith sent me an email requesting I accept the assignment of taking pictures for the fall arts preview issue of September 16.
Let me explain my amazement. When I look at myself in the mirror I see myself. When others look at me they must see an old coot. Why would the youngish arts editor of a still(somewhat) edgy publication contact an old man who is in a profession where youth and edginess will always trump boring and plodding consistency?
In past years I have taken the fall arts preview with crazy themes. A couple of years I asked every artist/actor/dancer to show up with something red and dear to them. The continuous attempt by the Straight to save money (perhaps a smart thing in a city where other print media is bleeding with red ink) has dictated that if there are two dancers, two artist/painters, two musicians, two standup comedians and two actors, that each pair be photographed together. This can be a problem.
Consider that yesterday, in my first batch I photographed the two 24-year-old actors, Amitai Marmorstein and Aslam Husain.
I was stressed out because I had no studio and I had asked the pair to show up in my home where I had set up a gray seamless in my living room. What would two young men, in a tight shot, be doing together and staring at the camera? What would be the justification besides the obvious one that these two actors had bee selected by Straight drama critic Colin Thomas?
I should not have worried thanks to the peculiar (for me) and wonderful (for me) elements of new methods of communication.
The actors and I fired constant emails. “What should I wear?” one would ask. “Should we bring props?” asked the other. I suggested that they try to get to know each other through email. When they arrived (Amitai, who was in Victoria arrived early and was waiting at the door when Rosemary and I got back after looking over a Malibu Maxx in Surrey) they were easy, pleasant and at tea (with German Swiss cheese and Argentine dulce de membrillo
, proving that having a shoot at home can have a pleasant advantage) they found out that somehow they had met before.
I cannot reveal the nature of the photo here as editorial rules specifically prohibit I do so until the day of publication. But I can reveal that the photograph will be an arresting one.
I remember sometime in the early 80s when my Polaroid back arrived from New York. The Polaroid back enabled me to slap it on my 6x7cm Mamiya and take either b+w or colour prints before I used “real” film on assignments. Many years before the advent of the digital camera’s ability to show you the result right after I had depended (almost to the point of it being a crutch) on the Polaroid to tell me that my camera was working properly, that the exposure was more or less the correct one, that the camera was synching with my studio flash and most important it made many of my subjects relax. They knew after looking at the Polaroid what I was “doing” to them. Many of those Polaroid must be in their albums (at the very least on their refrigerator doors) as I made it a rule to give my Polaroids away.
As you can see here, my Polaroid back has been superseded by my iPhone even though the iPhone does not reveal exactly how light will affect my Mamiya’s Ektachrome of Kodak Plus-X Pan. But it does help, like the Polaroid to calm my subjects. They look at the picture on the iPhone and I may ask one of them (and I did) to take off a shirt or to move a hand here or there. They will do it, once they see what we are working on.
While I am still in the dark as to why Janet Smith would have contacted me I am most excited, now that I have one down and four more to go, that the 68-year-old man still has some surprises up his sleeve even if does entail using a living room studio!
Going back to the quote by David Carr, I, too, must resort to reducing the cost of producing a photograph. My venerable Polaroid back and its expensive film pack (still made) at around $38 for 10 pictures is now laid to rest. The expense of my iPhone tests? None. What will take the place of the gift Polaroid magnetized to a refrigerator? I will send my subjects a "fixed up" iPhone picture.
The Old Polaroid From The Young Man
Polaroid SX-70 of Hilary and Silas Huckleback circa late 70s.
The Oily, The Laid Back, The Inscrutable & The Scaredy Cat
Sunday, September 05, 2010
In our present efforts to find a good used Chevrolet to replace Sophie (Rosemary’s leased Audi A-4) we have traveled to Burnaby, Surrey, Mount Vernon, Washington and Vancouver itself. The journey, at times feels like we are talent agents looking for a stable of actors to stage our very own version of Glengarry Glen Ross. We have dealt with the oily, the laid back, the inscrutable and one of which Rosemary said, “The reason he says he doesn’t have a computer at home is that he must spend most of his time in front of his TV with a large glass of booze.”
For me, with the help of the internet, this has been almost fun and most logical if logic can ever be a deciding factor when one buys a new car. The internet has enabled me to show up at a used car lot and to say with precision, “I want to see your 2006 silver Chevrolet Malibu Maxx, the one with 74,000 Km.
While Rosemary finds a few of the salesman objectionable I have been having fun. One in particular (the oily one) is in the middle of telling us why we need a more powerful engine (“You are grandparents so you need more protection. You need more torque!”) and telling us the finer bits of why his car is the one we should buy when I interrupt him. “If my mother were here she would tell you that your stomach and the gastric juices therein are smacking in anticipation for the food delights that will soon be there for them to happily digest. Except that by chewing gum you are cheating on your stomach. It’s bad for you!” The salesman, whom I have interrupted, looks at me incredulously and utters, “We are discussing serious things here and you are telling me to stop chewing gum (he takes the gum out of his mouth and throws it into his waste basket)!” I counter by telling him, “You have your standard selling techniques and I, as your potential buyer, has to show some of my own.” It has been fun but Rosemary finds the whole exercise a strenuous one.
The one who is going through a far more strenuous time is my daughter Hilary. Her daughters, Rebecca and Lauren will not be going to the same school anymore. Rebecca, who is now in the 8th grade, will be taking a bus to a nearby secondary school.
There has been in these last few years the idea that you must know where your kids are all the time. If they are busing to a school they must have cellular phone. On the first day of school which is usually just for an hour or two, Hilary must know where to find Rebecca when she is through. The cellular phone has become the electronic version of those funny leashes which some parents use to keep their young children in check at the shopping mall.
And the phone has to be a phone with no features (or with features that have been blocked). No parent now wants to run up a texting bill in the hundreds. Rebecca cannot text because her phone has been disabled to do so. And she cannot surf the internet for the same reason. That is why a few weeks ago I bought her an iTouch so that she can serf and even text with no cost!
Because it might take at least 20 minutes for a 13 year-old teenager to apply makeup in the morning it seems that Rebecca will be waking up at 6:30. She must be in school no later that 8:30 when classes begin. Allowance must be made for bus-riding time. Bus schedules have been thoroughly scrutinized.
Lauren will now have to fend for herself since she will no longer have the protection of an older sister. I don't worry. Lauren is certainly not the scaredy cat her mother was.
Hilary was a quiet and introverted child who only in the last few years has revealed to us how much she was bullied in school and how alienated she felt in most of her school years.
The picture that you see here is of Hilary on her first day at day-care somewhere in Burnaby in 1975. She is smiling but shortly after I took the picture she began to cry and she broke my heart. I felt guilty leaving her alone.
For a long time after whenever Hilary would misbehave (to my now embarrassed remorse) I would threaten her with an instant trip to her daycare. The word that really would get her going was the Mexican pronunciation of service (day care service) when I would say, “I am going to take you to the sir-biz!”
I now look at all this with an almost fond nostalgia and, yes, tenderness for Hilary, as my no-longer-a-child daughter worries about Tuesday's first day of school. And if find myself also feeling sadness as my other two little girls are growing up and one of them will be on the bus with her cell phone.
But nobody would have ever predicted that one of the most important tasks on Tuesday will be to determine if her not-so- little roller suitcase, ubiquitous with school children these days, will fit in her locker. And I must add here that I do remember, with a clarity that scares me, that on my first day of pre-kinder in Buenos Aires, my nasty teacher sniffed the air in disgust, stared at me, and asked me, "¿Té cagaste?" (Did you shit in your pants?). Indeed I had. I remember my answer, "¡No!"