Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Three Generations

This was always one of my favorite photographs of Elena. I guess I should really say "with Elena" because I like it as a picture, not just because she's in the photo. The angles of her arm, my leg, my dad's cane, the slight off kilter of the photo itself all just seem to work together with that little smile and staring eye.

My dad, Donald Kaplan, had a stroke in 1970 about the time he'd turned 53, leaving him paralyzed on the right side. Right after Elena was born we asked him to come here and live with us. He was a defeated man though, too young to contemplate a life of hobbling around with a cane and leg brace for the rest of his life. He didn't want to go anyplace or do anything. He never managed to get the slur out of his speech or use his left hand well enough to easily do the New York Times crossword puzzles that he'd always loved. He and my mom had been divorced for years, she'd been remarried for awhile but was single again, and every few weeks she;'d take hin out for dinner. After about a year he decided that he missed living in Massachusettes, his old friends, the cold of the winters, and moved back up there, spending the rest of his life in a nursing home. He was 73 when he died, about twenty years after having the stroke. My mom, a year younger than him, died the following year.

The camera I used was an Olympus Pen W, a tiny little thing that got 72 pictures on a 36 exposure roll. It had an extremely sharp wide-angle lens, and it was small enoughto easily carry in a pocket. Film for it was "free". When I wouldn't finish a roll on a job I'd develop what I'd used and save the rest, marking the cassette "short roll". In the Olympus Pen I'd still be able to get at least a dozen shots on it.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

interesting picture, interesting story...
robert blu

3:10 PM  

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