Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Portrait

16 x 20
acrylic collage on paper

A portrait of her hung above her bed. Painted 70 years ago, I believe she still saw herself that way. Her hair once long and lustrous was now teased and sprayed to hide her exposed scalp. At a quick glance, you might think you saw a baby chick perched on a large egg.
She had her nurse assist her in getting dressed, just as she did every evening. She insisted on wearing her mink stole, even though it was mid June. They kept it very cold in the dinning hall. Plus, it was surf and turf night.
The nurse obliged her for she knew better than to argue.
In her day, she wouldn’t be caught dead in such a get up. She was always quick to point out a fashion faux pas. I knew at a very early age the crime of wearing white shoes after Labor Day. A concept lost on most Europeans, especially the Germans. I know Labor Day is an American holiday, but still.
She took her wheelchair, because she was embarrassed how slow she was on her walker. Most importantly she wanted to get her usual seat .
She made her mind up when she moved in that she wasn’t going to get too chummy with the other residents. Mostly women, their husbands had past years before. She too was alone and wanted to finish her final days that way.
She liked to sit with the woman who lived down the hall. She seemed as close to her kind of people as anybody, but they rarely spoke. This woman also didn’t take notice when she chewed, a big challenge since her stroke. The other women were appalled with her eating habits. They chose not to sit with her ever since the day she reached into her mouth and pulled out a chunk of poorly chewed meat.
I know she too would have been just as appalled. I think as much as her aged mind hindered her, it protected her all the same.
She was one of the first members of an exclusively elite social club in Dallas. Always attending various tea parties, luncheons, and dinner engagements. She was skilled in party planning, a regular, Martha Stewart of her day. Those days were long gone. If only those other women knew exactly who she was.
I bet they’d knock over a few walkers, just to sit at her table.


Norma's Nonsense said...

I love your writings; this one made me think of my mom in her last year. There were tears, but thats okay, because there was a smile too. Thanks. (I do love your paintings too)

Distressing Delilah a.k.a. jenn said...

Very beautiful thorngren!