After my grandmother passed away last Spring, my mom spent weeks going through the house: sorting, organizing, putting things in order. As you can imagine it was a gigantic task and each day brought small discoveries which filled her with every conceivable emotion. One morning she was working in my grandparents' bedroom and inside one of the dresser drawers she found this little hinged wooden box, a 2 inch cube, decoratively carved and delicately painted. Inside was this photograph, a perfect fit nuzzled within the box's golden interior. My reaction upon receiving this surely must have mirrored my mother's upon finding it. Tears flowed freely as I cast my eyes on this secret treasure, long forgotten inside its hiding place, carefully pressed there long ago by the woman I so achingly miss.
I don't remember the exact taking of this photo, but I remember many days that it could have been. We'd taken the bus downtown (my mom, grandma and I), browsed around some stores, stopped for ice cream at the mezzanine of Lippman's department store, and headed across the street to Woolworth's for some little trinket for me. There we stepped into the photo booth and the moment was frozen, recorded forever in black and white. I usually took pictures with my mom or dad, or later with my brother, or much later with my friends. I didn't know I ever took one with her. I don't know what happened to the rest of the series. We probably divided them up and I used tape to stick them to my mirror, or the wall next to my bed. But what I like best about this one is the way her whole beautiful face smiles. On the outside she could be very shy, and didn't really like having her picture taken. In most of our family photos she's looking to the side or off into the distance, although always with a smile. But this is the real her. This is exactly the face I see in my minds eye when I think of her. The most beautiful, loving, smiling, laughing, sparkling, elegant, graceful face. And I really, really miss it.