They Never Smiled
Saturday, October 28, 2023
By a quirk of a pleasant fate I married my Rosemary in 1968
and had two daughters. One of them, Hilary, had two daughters.
|Hilary and Alexandra on the Royal Hudson
Because of that I have amassed over the years what I believe
may be one of the largest collections of children portraits.
There are two photographers of the 19th century
that I have admired for years because of their portraits. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson
in this century would be pilloried even though we know he had a third person
(usually Alice Liddell’s cousin or friend) on his boat with Alice.
Julia Margaret Cameron had the protection of being an older woman
when she photographed children.
Both Dodgson and Cameron rarely photographed children
smiling. I believe that part of the reason is that in Victorian times, children
were seen as little adults, and many worked terrible hours in unsanitary
|Lauren & Casi
Thus, this photographer, by virtue of being a father and
grandfather, had the luck of having willing (sometimes not so willing) subjects
until my Rosemary died on December 9 2020. Since then my two granddaughters
never call and I rarely see them.
There were those halcyon Saturdays when the doorbell would
ring. I would open the door and there was Rebecca saying, “¿Cómo estás papi?”
How was I to know that those pleasant Saturdays with Lauren, Rebecca and Rosemary would cease as soon as they grew up? Would Rosemary alive be able
to round them up for a visit?
Part of my loneliness is further affected by a broken heart.
The Two Blondes in My Life
Friday, October 27, 2023
from my one week in Mexico City on Thursday 19th minus my suitcase.
I was in limbo until Sunday when it was delivered. Since then I have been
spending lots of time with my cats Niño and Niña.
avoided reading in my NY Times hard copy anything about the present wars or
about Trump and most of American or Argentine politics.
I have been
going back to my memories with the awful realization that most of the people in
them are dead. There is one memory that haunts me. In 1957 the film Raintree
County with Elizabeth Taylor, Eva Marie Saint and Montgomery Clift was introduced.
Late in that year my mother took me to Austin, Texas to the St. Edward’s High School
where I would be a boarder for 4 years. When she left to return to Nueva
Rosita, Coahuila, this 16 year old boy cried.
was one sunny day on Congress Avenue that I have always seen with a smile in my
imagination. My mother took me to the Varsity Theatre, on Congress Avenue, to
see Raintree County.
Elizabeth Taylor was beautiful. But my eyes were all with the blonde Eva Marie Saint.
In my pantheon of women I fell for, she was only second to Grace Kelly.
How was I
to know that in 1967 I would spot a blonde woman, with long straight hair, in a
mini skirt, showing the most sensational legs I had ever seen? And better still, a month and
a half later, we were married in Coyoacán, in Mexico City.
It is this
memory that keeps me sane as I navigate my life three years after having been
married to that blonde for 52 years, who died 9 December 2020.
I am not
superstitious nor do I believe in fate. And yet, Raintree County and my mother
(who Rosemary and I watched die in 1972) somehow all became a neat combination
of events that will be with me until I meet my oblivion.
Rosemary and I had two daughters, Alexandra and Hilary. I am happy to report that Hilary is a sensational blonde (the other one while not blonde is sensational, too).
A Cheese Sandwich and an Old Flame
Thursday, October 26, 2023
|Susana Bornstein - Buenos Aires - 1966
In these pages I write often of my idea that what makes us
human is our enhanced ability to associate disparate ideas. I call it our Bunny
Watson. This blog is a Bunny Watson blog. Here,below, is a link explaining the term as
writer Bill Richardson explained in his radio show.
My Rosemary would gently tell me to do stuff around the
house. “Alex the kitty litter box smells. We have to change it.” “Alex make the
bed neat, so that Niño and Niña can sleep on it.”
Rosemary would hint at stuff that was bothering her. For
many years she placed breath mints on my night table when I used to smoke. In our last years here in Kitsilano before she died, I
would run out of shaving cream. I would always find an extra one in the bathroom cupboard.
She always catered to my needs.
I remember her now especially when I change the kitty litter
or make up the bed in the morning and stretch the bedspread nice and tight.
Doing stuff for the cats does not replace me taking care of Rosemary but it
does help to keep me with the distraction of dealing with felines that somehow
are more human as days go by.
|Niño & Niña with bed not yet made neat
I was thinking about this today when Susy Bornstein suddenly
appeared in my thoughts. She was the second girlfriend I had in Buenos Aires in
When I would visit her, as I was about to leave for my
pension in the evening, she would open her fridge and lovingly would make me a
Swiss Cheese sandwich. She knew I liked cheese. I would then go to wait for my
bus. I never did tell her that the buses would be on unannounced strikes and
many a time I had to walk a long distance home. With my two dollar a month (not changed since around 1902)
Argentine Navy military pay, I could not afford a cab.
Susy or Susana as I sometimes called her, thought I was an uncultured philistine. She
persuaded me to attend two operas at the Teatro Colón, Prokofiév’s The Fiery Angel and Gluck’s
Orpheus and Eurydice. She took me to see Help! and to see a troubling but
wonderful Japanese film The Woman of the Dunes.
Susy & Ástor Piazzolla
One wintry and rainy Buenos Aires she called me tell me to
never contact her again and that I would always be uncultured and would have
no future. When I returned to Buenos Aires in 1987 I rang her door bell. When
she opened she said, “Aren’t you going to kiss me?” Susy died of cancer a few years later.
I often told my Rosemary that I never stopped loving my
former girlfriends. I never dumped any of them. Only Susy dumped me.
I remember that loving smile when she was preparing my
cheese sandwich. And I remember Rosemary (and then Susy) when I change the
kitty litter and make the bed neat.