We didn't have as many older buds in Best Day this week...because they were going on vacation! Eleanor's in Toronto, Ann had gone to the beach on Tuesday, and even José went to visit his family in Mexico about a month ago. Now that a COVID vaccine is out on the market, people are ready to travel to visit friends and family and just plain go on vacation. Today we have a few vacation themed stories for you to read, wherever you are:
Ann von Dehsen
Being the season of road, trips my mind goes back to my family’s yearly trip to the Pocono’s for a weeks’ vacation. Now we lived in northern New Jersey and in 1958 the Blue Route and Northeast Extension did not exist making this a 3-hour ride. We were a statistically correct American family. My father in the driver’s seat, my mother in the passenger seat, and my sister Ellen, age 11 and me, about age 7, are in the back seat, free form since seat belts have not yet been invented.
The windows of the very big Buick are rolled down and my parents both light a cigarette as they listen to a radio show called Rambling with Gambling. Not long into the trip Ellen and I begin to sing the entire score of one of many Broadway shows for our parents. And this is how you know we had great parents: they actually listened to and applauded every song despite the fact that we could not sing to save our lives.
At some point our mom would hand out paper and crayons or markers so we could draw the sights outside our window. I proceeded with an even row of green at the bottom of the page and an even row of blue at the top of the page with stick figures and flat boxy buildings. I tried not to get discouraged as I looked over at Ellen’s creation; after all she was almost 5 years older than me. But her drawings featured perfect perspective and shading, realistic people, and animals. Well, this was actually a foreshadowing of her future career as a brilliant watercolorist and muralist.
Well besides being artistic my sister Ellen had a flair for the dramatic. About halfway through the ride she began to mention her hunger and mention it and keep mentioning it and get louder and then finally giving out a dramatic, “If we don’t stop soon, I am going to faint.” So, luckily, we were usually near a favorite little lunch place where they served grilled hot dogs in those little paper holders along with frosted mugs of root beer.
Ellen’s eyes were often bigger than her stomach and she had at least 2 hot dogs and then we’d endure a brief period of her stomach distress back in the car. Eventually things calmed down and we often spent the rest of the trip enjoying travel bingo as we entered the town of Mt. Pocono.
Mariposa: The Butterfly
Hi there, if you walk by 19th St and South you will find us, just walk a few steps to Naudain St. and a little neighborhood will appear. House lined up, one near the other. You can’t see the big differences among them, but there are: the color, the number of floors, the façade, the presence of trees and flowers. This is the front of my house. It piles many details in a short surface, one tree, a stair, one railing, two windows, several pots with plants and flowers.
Come, let me introduce some things around me. I have to tell you that this summer has been interesting, perhaps I haven’t had lots of friends, perhaps I have lost some of them but at least I have done some paintings. I have struggled with my procrastination and impatience to manage some pieces.
I have to tell you that my dear companion in this pandemic is Sofia and Amalia. At the beginning she was attending school by internet but later vacations came and she, looking for companionship, asked me daily to play with her. Our favorite play was her dolls. I manipulated some of them as if they were puppets and created an atmosphere of make believe, there we danced, sang, fought and laughed; our main doll friends were Babas, Bebe and Oso. Sofias invitation/command was: “Pepe let’s play Babas”.
Now the summer inserted us in a lethargic anxiety to feed us with sun and light; our back door was a variegated spectacle; our balcony was transformed in a small garden full of delicious and beautiful promises. Those little seeds Alfonso planted, in few days resulted in growing mass of multiple variation of greens, yellows, brows and even purple and reds. Each day our watering refreshed those tiny growing sprouts.
One morning I was watering the plants at the balcony and Sofia appeared near me saying:” Look Pepe there are some caterpillars” I focused my sight in the parsley and 4 or 5 caterpillars arose, they were devouring fiercely some plants. “Wow” I told her “I hope they have enough food to survive for the next step”;
“What do you mean by that” she questioned;
“ Well caterpillars are eaters, they eat as much as possible because are preparing themselves for the next step.”
“To be cocoons” she yelled raising the voice; “… and you know what Pepe, from the cocoon they are going to raise as butterflies”.
“Like flowers from the stems” I added; “And what happen later?” I asked her;
“they simply fly, they simply fly”.
“Where are they going ?” I asked her;
“I don’t know I never have been a butterfly but I guess the just love to fly;”
“Do you like to fly Sofia?”
“I don’t have wings but those aren’t necessary, If I want I can speak with Babas, Bebe and Oso, If I want I close my eyes and I can be playing in the park.”
One morning attached to the wall there it was a yellow-brown cocoon; It looked so fragile that I thought the caterpillar had to struggle a lot to find the proper place to rest. Several days later Sofia climbed vigorously the stair and rushed into my room saying: “Pepe you have to come, you have to see what happened with the cocoon.”
I follow her frantic scape. A fragile butterfly was there stepped on the cocoon’s empty shell. She was waiting, I guess its wigs were not totally dry, it was just waiting.
“Do you like it?” I asked her:
“Yes” she yelled, “it’s beautiful”.
“Do you know something Sofia, you are like this butterfly”,
“…in what sense” Sofia asked;
“Well you leave a stage in your life and enter in a new stage, until….”
“Until death?” she interrupted me.
“No until you find your real self, later, death is not important”.
“Why?” she asked.
“Because life matters more than death.”
“I don’t understand Pepe….”
“Neither do I, but let this butterfly be”.
And life waiting to flourish is giving Sofia opportunity to live, moment by moment.
Curated by Caitlin Cieri