One of my favourite photos was taken when I was on my first-ever school trip, which must have been in 4th grade – the grade I entered when my family arrived in the U.S. in 1967. We had been to the Thomas Edison museum in Menlo Park, in New Jersey. On the way back I took a photograph of the driver of one of the school buses from our group as he was overtaking the bus I was in. It’s an out-of-focus snap taken with a cheap camera of a blurry, laughing guy in a khaki shirt. When I come across it, rarely now, in my big box of old photos, it makes me remember exactly how I felt when I took it: a bit silly, very foreign (we hadn’t been in the U.S. long at that point), and very excited by the newness of the journey, exhilarated by the day. I always stop to look at this photo, and think of how rapidly then has become now.
This photo of Joel looking scrunched up, with my mother-in-law Denise looking inscrutable, might be another of the bus-driver sort of photo: not so much out of focus as snapped. I felt a bit silly taking it, very foreign (I always feel foreign here), exhilarated by the day, despite the exhaustion of worrying about everything to the point of having stopped sleeping altogether now. I took it because Denise had clambered over the cement blocks holding the builder’s fencing in place and scurried in to our restaurant, where she immediately sat in the place I know she’d love to spend a lot of time in. That little cup of coffee on the table is the first-ever “noisette” I’ve made for her – an espresso with a bit of steamed milk. I even gave her a practice bill, from our new toy, the cash register. She even offered to pay! She said she liked it!
The builder took the fencing down this afternoon, and people are already looking in with interest. I’ll have to wear lipstick all the time from now on.