Monday, January 09, 2006

Some of my earliest memories are of playing with Monkey. At the time my father was still helping win WW-II in the South Pacific. He returned a couple of months before I turned three. For 60 years Monkey always sat on my bureau in the bedroom, sat next to my hairbrush and whatever else was there at the time. A tangled mess of neckties, fishing tackle, cameras, turquoise and silver Indian jewelry, a pile of clean socks waitingto be sorted and put away. He just sat there and watched and waited.

My own son and daughter, Jonathan and Elena, saw Monkey and asked about him but never seemed interested in playing with him. They had their own new shiny toys to play with and Monkey looked old and his nose was missing. I remember being told that I'd pulled off his nose while I was still a baby.

When I started shooting the self-portrait project a couple of years ago I was lookingfor something to use when I wasn't with other people, something to add interest to the photographs. It was almost as if he called out one morning as I walked past "me, me, ME! Take ME!" I carried him out to the truck. It was the first time he'd been out in many years. I got a few frames of him riding next to me on the seat. I was stopping by my ex's house and took Monkey in with me. She thought I was nuts! I explained the project but then she REALLY thought I was nuts, and was worried about what people would think of a grown man walking around town with a toy monkey.

Well, Monkey has been to the Post Office and the supermarket, the drugstore, the park, even city hall, and nobody thinks I'm nuts. They either assume it belongs to one of my grand children (I don't have any) or they think the project is fascinating once I explain it. I'm having fun and Monkey is enjoying his newfound popularity. The ex? She still thinks I'm nuts!

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