No Direction Home III
Saturday, November 11, 2023
To be on your own, with no direction home
Bob Dylan – Like A Rolling Stone
Every time I turn off my lights at bedtime, I get this
recurring lyric in my head of Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone. I have already
written two blogs on that theme.
No direction home I
No direction home II
My sense of order, and obligations have all but disappeared.
I must get up to feed my cats, make my breakfast. After that I have to do
nothing until I go to sleep at night. Sharing activities with Rosemary like
going to Safeway or to plan a trip to Mexico are all gone. Philosophically no
matter how many people tell me such neat expressions like “life must go on”.
“find distractions”,"you have your memories", are all moot if you understand
metaphysics. With Rosemary I used to tell her that we were WTD (waiting to
die). Since her death as I prepare to modify my will, get an extra key for my
bank vault so both daughters will have one, I have now modified that to PTD or
preparing to die. There is no public relations expression that can possibly
replace that or to smooth the idea from the reality that it is.
As I wait, I am plagued by problems of this century. My
Epson repairman has kept my Epson printer now for two months telling me that he
must first fix the printers for people who earn their livings with them. He is
the only game in town. If anything that suggests that my photographic peers do
not print and it explains why they show me their sunsets on their phones. I
have to be patient as my only alternative is to send the printer to Toronto.
This present document has lost all its Microsoft Word 10
defaults and I have to manually pick the font size every time I open a
document. I am beside myself in not knowing how to return to my customary
My Thunderbird email program no longer accepts whatever
password I use for it so I must use Google Mail. This problem began a few years
ago (it should have been a national scandal!) when Telus (a Canadian
telecommunications company) ditched its Canadian servers and “migrated” to the
US Google servers. Most of my many
password problems have happened because of that migration.
When I send myself an email from my phone, it sometimes
takes 15 minutes for me to get it on my computer. Telus has not been able to
resolve this. Were I to shift to another company I would lose my now 30 year
old Telus email.
And all this persists with new stuff happening every day. I
remember well how my friend Abraham Rogatnick a year before he died of prostate
cancer told me, “Alex I am not long for this world. I am glad.”
I think I can second that motion.
In this scanograph, illustrating this blog, I have included
a little soap bar from the Buenos Aires Hotel Claridge where Rosemary and I
always stayed. She had this frugal habit which I found charming and endearing
of keeping the soaps and the little shampoo bottles to bring home. I have kept
this little bar to remind me and it does help me to smile a bit even though I
am on my own with no direction home.
Playing With Dolls
Friday, November 10, 2023
Because I am not able to rest Rosemary in my soul,
I find that the only relief that seems to help alleviate my chronic insomnia and melancholy is
to write about her. Most of these blogs since she died December 9, 2020 have
been sad ones. This one will mostly a happy one.
Whn I was
born in that past century in Buenos Aires in 1942, there was a strict division between
what boys did and what girls did. We were not allowed to play with dolls.
I had an inkling
that I had a special talent in that most feminine direction when my
grandmother, Dolores Reyes Reyes de Irureta Goyena, who at early youth kept
telling my mother, that like her, I was an artist. My abue or abuelita, as I
called her, insisted on hearing my opinion on what she was about to wear.When I
was dragged by her and my mother to go to Avenida Cabildo in Buenos Aires to
buy joyería de fantasía (fake jewelry ) I was always asked for my opinion.
Sometime in the summer of 1950 (December), when I was 8, the three of us went to the seaside resort of Mar del
Plata. I did not have a very good time because I had the whooping cough. At
the dinner table, in the fine hotel restaurant, I was told not to cough. On one
of those evenings my grandmother had on some long silvery earrings. She asked
for my opinion. I told her,"Parecen orejas de burro.” (they look like donkey
ears). She stood up, grabbed my hand, and took me to the beach, where she threw
the offending earrings into the sea.
When I met
my Rosemary in Mexico City in mid December 1967, a few days before we were
married on 8 February of 1968, we went to the then almost popular Zona Rosa and
I chose what in our family we have always called “Rosemary’s bird dress”. She wore it when we were married
in the fashionable Coyoacán neighbourhood.
For many years after, until we eventually moved to Vancouver, I was the one who did her eyeliner and other makeup. And we picked her perfume together. There was one that I would buy on international flights called Caleche made by Hèrmes that she really liked.
It was then that I first started shopping for shoes with Rosemary. She had a difficult shoe
size. I was patient and I was always the one that picked the shoes she
ultimately bought. This was fun.
It took our
trip to Vancouver in 1975, and my eventual employment as a magazine
photographer, when I specialized in portraits, that I became aware of the
importance of clothing in them. It was then that I came up with the idea, that
like St. Paul on his way to Damascus I, too was hit by the heavenly light.
playing with dolls!
It was in Mexico where I suggested to Rosemary that we buy some small panties and bra. I carefully took them apart. We bought some black latex. I cut the patterns, imitating the underwear, and Rosemary sewed up the most beautiful latex bikini anybody had ever seen in the few Mexico City swimming pools we went to. And we always went together to look for her nighties.
And so It
has been for our 52-year marriage where we always did our mutual shopping. My Rosemary was my living and walking doll. On Avenida Madero she would go to a little English store run by two old men and she would pick my ties. I trusted her "manly" taste.
scanograph here, there is one shoe of a pair that I remember seeing at a window
on Avenida Corrientes, corner with Florida, in Buenos Aires, some years ago. I
pointed at them and we bought them. Rosemary just looked lovely when she wore
them. In the section of the framed photograph which I took around 1973 in the
famous Bebederos by Architect Luís Barragán a block from our home in Arboledas,
Estado de México, Rosemary (with Alexandra) is wearing a mauve knit dress that
was tight and showed her lovely curvaceous body. I bought it for her (not sight
unseen) when we both saw it a store window. The dress is in perfect condition
as is the bird dress in the background of the scanograph.
There was one article of clothing accessory that was verboten for me to buy. Rosemary had a penchant for very good leather handbags. Any that I ever bought for her she said were much too big or bulky. She particularly liked good leather Italian ones.