A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

August 31, 1942 - August 31, 2013
Saturday, August 31, 2013


Aunt Inez & George Alexander, 1942


Twelve months before my first birthday, I was present for an occasion for which I had no choice. I have no memory of it. My mother says I took a long time and that she had a painful delivery. It also seems that she had to try very hard for a few years before I came along.

From my album I have found what seems to be my earliest picture. I am being held by my father’s oldest sister, Aunt Inez. She had divorced her first husband, Ralph Barber and married a man from Mendoza called Alejandro Ariosa.

In those strange circumstances that devout Roman Catholicism brings to such events as births, my Aunt Inez who wanted to be my godmother, could not because she was divorced. So it lay on her daughter Inesita, 19, a Catholic free of all legal sin to be my godmother. While Inez could not hold me in the baptismal font, her husband Alejandro did (he was not divorced) and that is why my middle name is Alejandro.

Shortly after my birth my surrogate godmother, Inez gave me a Mappin and Webb birth spoon and a very large sterling silver medal with St. Rose of Lima on the front and on the back it says George Alexander, August 31, 1942.

Alas today I looked everywhere for that medal but I did not find it. Until I was 8 or 9 that medal hung in a hook over my bed.

I grieve at its temporary loss but on second thought, once dead, if anybody found the medal in my belongings it would be devoid of any significance to them.

Of late, depressed as I usually get around my birthday (I miss al those of my past who are now all dead), I have been thinking that as one nears death, one’s belongings should be given away or thrown away. I believe that death and memory go hand in hand. That medal brings to me instantly the voice, a mezzo voice of my Aunt Inez and the smell of the rain coming down on or near my birthday, that ever so famous Tormenta de Santa Rosa.


The second picture here, of a very young me, is one that comes with absolutely no memory attached. On its back there is the seal of the photographer called Muska whose address is Bartolomé Mitre 1970.

 The third picture in that odd deck chair is dated simply in white ink by my mother, Buenos Aires, 1943. Who could have guessed that the anonymous photographer used Dupont film?  

The fourth photograph dated August 1944 is significant in that I remember vividly the gate and the yellow colour of the tiles of the sidewalk in the Buenos Aires suburb of Martínez. It would seem that the first signs of self-awareness where latent.

It wasn’t until around 1948 when I was 6 that I went into my mother’s armoire to purloin candy corn that she had obtained from the American Embassy. She would hand me a few at a time every day. I wanted more. I opened the armoire and helped myself to the whole cellophane bag. The armoire had a full-length mirror on the inside of the door. I stopped to stare at myself. I remember as if were today that I looked and thought, “That is me. I am me. I am me and nobody else.” Consciousness was not latent on that day. I was now fully functional, for better or for worse. 
 
 And lastly here is my perennial birthday picture except that this one was not taken on the 31st but on Wednesday the 28 which was the day I had to return the black box (silver, not black at all but it was inside a black cloth pouch) that had monitored my heart beat for 24 hours. I had to return it to my cardiologist. I thought it fun to shoot it with my new Fuji X-E1.



 



     

Previous Posts
St Rose of LIma, A Storm & Perhaps An Omen

Shooting Under Stress & Who's The Boss?

A Studebaker & The Wondrous Sweep Of The Milky Wa...

La Cuarentona Fulfills Her Years

A Memory Bank In The Making - The Virgin Suicides

JIm Taylor & A Perfect Strawberry Ice Cream Soda

The Crypt Thief Speaks To Me In A Clipped English ...

Thinking & Then Shooting With A Fuji X-E1

The Elephant's Journey & My Black Raleigh

A Timex, A Fake Rolex, Viveca Lindfors & Rachel Ca...



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7/31/16 - 8/7/16

8/7/16 - 8/14/16

8/14/16 - 8/21/16

8/21/16 - 8/28/16

8/28/16 - 9/4/16

9/4/16 - 9/11/16

9/11/16 - 9/18/16

9/18/16 - 9/25/16

9/25/16 - 10/2/16

10/2/16 - 10/9/16

10/9/16 - 10/16/16

10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16

12/11/16 - 12/18/16

12/18/16 - 12/25/16

12/25/16 - 1/1/17

1/1/17 - 1/8/17

1/8/17 - 1/15/17

1/15/17 - 1/22/17

1/22/17 - 1/29/17

1/29/17 - 2/5/17

2/5/17 - 2/12/17

2/12/17 - 2/19/17

2/19/17 - 2/26/17

2/26/17 - 3/5/17

3/5/17 - 3/12/17

3/12/17 - 3/19/17

3/19/17 - 3/26/17

3/26/17 - 4/2/17

4/2/17 - 4/9/17

4/9/17 - 4/16/17

4/16/17 - 4/23/17

4/23/17 - 4/30/17

4/30/17 - 5/7/17

5/7/17 - 5/14/17

5/14/17 - 5/21/17

5/21/17 - 5/28/17

5/28/17 - 6/4/17

6/4/17 - 6/11/17

6/11/17 - 6/18/17

6/18/17 - 6/25/17

6/25/17 - 7/2/17

7/2/17 - 7/9/17

7/9/17 - 7/16/17

7/16/17 - 7/23/17

7/23/17 - 7/30/17

7/30/17 - 8/6/17

8/6/17 - 8/13/17

8/13/17 - 8/20/17

8/20/17 - 8/27/17

8/27/17 - 9/3/17

9/3/17 - 9/10/17

9/10/17 - 9/17/17

9/17/17 - 9/24/17

9/24/17 - 10/1/17

10/1/17 - 10/8/17

10/8/17 - 10/15/17

10/15/17 - 10/22/17

10/22/17 - 10/29/17

10/29/17 - 11/5/17

11/5/17 - 11/12/17

11/12/17 - 11/19/17