ON LAUNCHING THIS SITE

Like the world needs another website. If the day is sunny, go out and return to this another time. The site will be here. Ideally, browse during work when you're pretending to be busy.

Yes, the photos on each page are of me with family members at different stages of cuteness, which I've long since outgrown. The pictures often make me wonder about the picture-taker, since we didn't have much money. There was a Brownie Instamatic that I recall, but that came much later than these pictures. My Uncle Solly was a big photo bug, so to him I owe great gratitude, but I doubt that he took them all. If I ask my mother, she slaps me in the ear for asking stupid questions and asks if I'm hungry. She doesn't really do this, but this is still what I imagine because her life has always been filled with real problems and not the intangible kind that I deal with every day. She and my dad didn't have the luxury of intangible.

I don't recall what I was feeling when these pictures were taken, but I do remember always feeling safe at home and in our neighborhood, which could be the work of time that distorts the truth. I've always been one to approach and peek at these truths in less, well, tangible ways. Rather than ask my family what was going on during these shots, I'd rather cling to how the pictures have always made me feel, hold on to the elusive yet real and often sensory memories I do have.

Here's an example of what I mean:  

Attached below is one of my favorite photos of my dad in our old apartment on Ohio Street in Chicago around 1959. He worked in a clothing factory, worked hard, prided himself on paying bills on time and putting food on his family's table. For over 35 years, he brought two salami sandwiches to work each day and never complained. But he worried. Worried all the time. So whenever I look at this picture, I am reminded of the weight of responsibility he carried, and I regard his daily efforts as nothing less than noble. At his 80th birthday party, we displayed several photos, and I asked him about this one, hoping to get a glimpse into his personal woes that he always tried to keep to himself. He studied the picture, then turned to me and shrugged.  "I sleep," he said.  Sleep?  NO!  Nothing noble in sleep. I walked away, a little shattered. Retreated might be a better word. I'm good at that. Retreating into my own world. Which is probably why I write stories. So my dad in this picture, he's not sleeping, no, he's thinking about the arduous bus ride he has to take in the morning and the skyscrapers that dwarf the building in which he works, Hart Schaffner & Marx, and he's yearning for the dirt he left behind in Italia, the literal dirt, the dirt stained on the inside of his fingernails as he helped his family toil in the fields, until they sent him away to work as an apprentice with the tailor in a neighboring village...
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