Barbara Grau died a few weeks ago. I photographed her last year for the official Temple Anshei Shalom’s President’s Wall. She had just gotten over her latest chemo/poisoning. We talked as we shot. She said she was satisfied with what she had done with her life. More importantly, she thanked me for making her feel beautiful again.
So, I was going to shoot older members of Temple Anshei Shalom, people who no longer could make it to pray, but were instrumental in the building of the congregation. No much of an interest from anyone.
I pursued Anita for a couple of months. She was ill. She didn’t feel well. She had a therapy appointment. Her hairdresser was away. Then I got my chance.
We talked. She liked my new camera, telling me her husband had a Leica. We shot for five minutes after she finished breakfast. She couldn’t decide if she wanted to sleep or do the crossword puzzle.
I asked her how it felt to be 99? “You can be too old,” she said.
Two weeks later, she died. Two days short of her 99th birthday.
So, I am walking out of a diner and I see this beautiful woman with her home care worker. I ask if I can take her picture. The home care worker says yes. She tells me the woman’s name is Gussie and she will be 100 in a week.
I take a picture with the home care attendant.
Then the daughter appears. I take another picture. The daughter asks me if I will come to the birthday party and take pictures. I say no, I don’t do events, but if you come to my studio, I will make portrait and give you a print at no charge.
I give the daughter my card. I tell her if she sends me an e-mail with an address, I will send her a print and a digital file for no money. Haven’t heard from her. And, don’t know her name.
Maybe it’s the time. She might think I am some kind of nut. Who after all would want to make portraits of old women?
They work their whole lives, some at jobs they hate. Put the kids through college where they didn’t go. They stay too long at their jobs, because they don’t know how much money they will need. And then they retire to Florida to play golf and eat at early bird special.
The work took its toll. Bad diets. Stress. Passivity in the face of managerial terror. Ill conceived marriages. A little tax cheating here; a little all cash there. Skiing on the ice. And bad hips.
Death comes quicker than they thought. No one wants their mismatched, cheap clubs, used skis or crutches. That their precious goods would end up at Goodwill or Faith Farms as estate tax deductions was unexpected, but predictable.
So, we went to see the Cubbies. An hour and a half to get there. $20 to park. Tickets $150. $40 for two franks, a beer, a pretzel and a bottle of water. Hard to find seats. And, the Cubs played lousy and lost.
Some fans can get pretty crazy about their team.
I got to see Ichiro.
But, the game is boring. Too many pitching changes and guys scratching their balls or spitting. That’s why they have these races and dumb music. It keeps the kids involved. But, I would rather watch on TV where I can lounge around, go to a clean bathroom and eat normal food.
Now if I were only younger and stronger, I could shoot the game. Now, that would be fun.
So, Norman isn’t the first survivor I have met or photographed. His willingness to speak about the experience, along with his eloquence, was new. He shares his story tirelessly with groups in the Palm Beach County area in hopes of keeping the memories of the dead alive. Those who hear him and see his mementos must feel as touched as I did.
How he survived is not so important. Those who lived through the hell of the Holocaust all have a tale. He cannot explain why he survived and others didn’t, except to say it was an act of providence. The violence and hatred he saw is unimaginable. That he and others can live without overbearing pain and paralysis makes him and his fellow survivors super human. That is important.
But, what is more important is that we never forget them and that the carnage will never be repeated.
So, we are shopping at Bed Bath and Bath and Beyond the Fringe. I have a coupon, which if you don’t, you should not shop without a discount. At the counter, Sharon donned this tiara. The sales woman said no one had bought one. Not surprising, in light of the comedy of the Republican party, supporting a neo-facist who doesn’t realize who he is, because he isn’t smart enough and neither are his supportes.
Sharon said she hoped for America, so long as trumpolini didn’t survive. A woman standing at the next register, said, “Amen.”
Thanks to Fox news for this shot. Even they know what a fool she is and what an idiot she is. Otherwise they would have published an image that made her look less nuts.
Let us not forget that she ran for Vice-President on the Republican ticket with John McCain who, this week, has also distinguished himself, again as Republican scum. It they were elected, McCain would have been outed as the mean spirited fool that he is, forced to resign and she would have gotten the codes.
Palin called my President, a man whom I respect dearly, a “special kind of stupid.” She’s so stupid, she wouldn’t know stupid, even if she paid attention to what she, herself, says which even the most stupid and uneducated know is ridiculous. And, anyone who listens to her or has her support is also stupid as are those who support someone whom she supports, like trumpoli, is also stupid.
But, here is a problem for you to solve. Ever watch “After Midnight?” They take photos and ask the panelists, comedians, to answer questions about the image, sometimes giving choices. Your chance.
Sarah Palin has this look on her face, because:
(1) Donald Trump has his finger up her ass?
(2) Marco Rubio has a finger up her ass?
(3) Ben Carson has a finger up her ass?
(4) She took an AK-47 on a hunting trip and her husband, Todd, asked her what the hell she was doing in the woods of Alaska, hunting moose, with a weapon designed to kill people on the battlefield.