When I would tell Rosemary that I needed to buy a particular kind of photographic equipment she would say, “If you need it buy it.” I knew that because she was always in control of our purse strings (I could never understand what compound interest was) she would have to adjust her budget to allow for the purchase of my usually expensive equipment.
When we never attempted to save money was when we bought plants for our garden. We bought the best. She was a very good travel agent so when we did travel, particularly with our two granddaughters she knew how to get the best deals.
On my side of all this is that with the exception of the trips she made to Europe with buyers from the company she worked for Mariposa (she supervised the trips) she would buy her own shoes and lovely Italian leather handbags I sometimes did the helping of dressing her up.
|Mexico City 1979|
When we travelled together I liked to play the game that I was not allowed to play in what we would now define as a macho period of the 20th century, particularly Buenos Aires in the late 40s and early 50s. I was jealous of the girls that played with dolls. It was only when we came to Vancouver, and I became a magazine photographer, that I had to find people not only to do the makeup but to supervise the wardrobes of the women I photographed. Finally vicariously, I could dress up grown up dolls.
With Rosemary it was even more fun. From the very beginning she would take my advice on buying dresses and shoes. Her wedding dress, one with blue birds, was one I chose for her. Most fun was buying shoes with her. I would point out the shoes I liked, I would ask her to sit and I would ask for the shoes.I remember taking apart one of her bras and panties and then cutting a pattern . We then chose a black vinyl material and we made her a sexy bikini. I did some of the sewing as I know how.
|Rosemary shortly after we were married in 1968 in the blue bird dress.|
The shoe in this scanned composite photograph is one half of the shoes that we bought at a store on Calle Corrientes in Buenos Aires. The colours and the style scream “my Rosemary”.
In Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, which she began to write two days after her husband’s death she was able to take most of his clothes to a store in NY City where she knew the owners. His shoes remained in the closet and she writes that she feared that if she got rid of them he would not come back, ever.
Some of her shoes our youngest daughter Hilary has appropriated. But these Argentine shoes (all Rosemary that they are) will stay in the closet until I meet my personal oblivion.
The framed photographs, there are many on the walls, too, are a constant reminder of her and I cannot avoid looking at them every day when I walk around our little house. I have a very good memory of how and when I took every portrait of her.
It may have been a about three weeks after I first met her that I remember we were at a gathering at Raul Guerrero Montemayor’s house in Mexico City (we slept in the upstairs loft on the floor) that she was to one side of a fireplace with that little almost smile on her face. I was mesmerized staring at her. That little smile of hers is in that photograph with the paper flower taken by my friend Andrew Taylor at the Botanical Garden of the University of Mexico.
To this day, particularly my Argentine friends ask me how a person like you could have landed a woman like her. I don’t know.
But I was lucky. And even luckier to have her by my constant side for 52 years.