Sunday, February 7, 2016

No. 1 Janet's Hats

I recently announced that I was going to try to be more active on this blog by discussing a few of my photographs that I found important, or of interest to me.

Janet and I married in 1974. Eleven years later she had a stroke that left her in a wheelchair for the last twenty four years of her life. In 2000, a second stroke took away her ability to talk. The last few years she gradually suffered from dementia. She passed away in 2010. This month we would have celebrated her eightieth birthday.

As I have often wrote, Janet was an amazingly strong person. She lived a life that would have done most of us in, not Janet. There was no ‘why me’, no self-pity from Janet. As long as she could her primary concern was making my life as easy as possible. She never lost her sense of humor.

This photograph holds many memories for me. There are multiple stories like each of the hats has a story but the most important story is that we laughed a lot. I loved doing anything that would make Janet laugh whether it was being the fool, the clown, court jester, the stand up or the fall guy or both our favorite because it required less pretense, the country bumpkin. She in turn loved to make me laugh.

One day I was sitting at the computer when she came into the room. I turned around and there she was wearing three hats. I had to have a photograph. She was very limited in what she was able to do that would be entertaining so occasionally she would put on some ridiculous outfit.

I guess at some point you are supposed to turn loose of those that have gone on. I don’t know how long that is supposed to be but I can’t. I probably never will. She is with me every day of my life.

I have taken a collection of the photographs, fifteen or so, that I have taken of her and manipulated them in various software programs to be more painterly or sketch like. I will hang them at the Open Studio at Aurora on the 20th. It will be a little early for her birthday but eighty is pretty special so a little extra celebration won’t hurt.

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