|Rosemary and Casi - Kerrisdale - Photographs - Amy Chin
|Alex & Paul Leiz - Plata - Kerrisdale - Photographs Amy Chin
Few of my contemporaries would understand what it is like to live in a house full of framed pictures on the wall which I all took. And most are family portraits that parade in front of me the passage of time (55 years of which 52 I shared with Rosemary). Many of my subjects are long dead and yet the smiles of my mother and grandmother appear in my memory.
Rosemary for years had a tocador (dresser) with an oval mirror. She never ever sat in front of it to apply makeup. She always preferred to sit on the floor in front of our closet mirrors.
This dresser contained lots of intimate belongings of hers. She kept copious notes of all our trips abroad and had many notebooks where she jotted about her life in Mexico before she met me. Some of her notes make me blush. With her gone I feel it is okay to intrude on her privacy.
Yesterday in one of the little notebooks in the center (seen here) I found four photographs taken by my friend Paul Leisz’s partner Amy Chin. The pictures she took before we moved to Kitsilano from Kerrisdale some 6 years ago. I know this as one of the cats was my Polilla who died just before we moved and I buried her in our Kits garden. The other cat was Casi. He died of diabetes in our new house before we left on a trip to Buenos Aires. When we returned we went to the SPCA and adopted our orange and white siblings, Niño and Niña.
It is virtually impossible for me to explain the emotion I experience last night when I saw the portrait of Rosemary that I had not taken. It was almost like seeing somebody for the first time. I stared at it and immediately thought, “She was alive.”
Staring at Casi and Polilla was different. I have written many times here how cats have a Platonic essence I call catness or (new just now) felinity. It seems that as soon as a cat dies and one adopts a new one the essence of the former live cat is transferred to the new live one. I see in these portraits (I would never call them snaps) the souls(spirits?) of my present Niño and Niña. That is comforting.
And thank you Amy for this late in acknowledgement gift.