Saturday, August 22, 2015

Mom's Mysterious Photo

     All seven-year-old boys are in love with their mothers. It is a special time. They hold hands unabashedly. It won't be long, however, before such PDAs will embarrass him. His mother will reach for his hand, and he will look both ways to see if one of his pals is watching. All too soon, that sweet time will have passed.
     One winter day in 1955, my sister and I missed the bus. Mother would drive us to school but had to get dressed first and put on her makeup. While Judy found her way to her to fifth grade, Mom walked me to Mrs. Campbell's second grade. She was explaining our tardiness to the teacher when I noticed that some of the kids were looking at her admiringly.
     “Your mom is really pretty,” whispered the boy behind me. “Yeah, she looks just like Marilyn Monroe,” said another. In the 1950s, the famous MM was epitome of womanly prettiness. I remember feeling both proud and a little jealous.

     When Mom died last year at age 92, I was pawing through old photographs to use for her memorial program and came across a rather mysterious snapshot of Mom walking on a busy sidewalk. I guessed the city was Dayton, Ohio, where she and my father lived in the early days of World War II. But I wasn’t sure and there was no one to ask. Her clothing style suggested the 1940s. I wondered who had taken the photo. She clearly didn’t know she was being photographed. She had been shopping; her arms were full of packages. She was in her early 20s, a beautiful young woman, hurrying somewhere, deep in thought.