Sunday, April 6, 2014

My Uncle Bobby - Memories and Images

"Everything has it's wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in , therein, to be content."        Helen Keller

Uncle Bobby

My Uncle Bobby was a very handsome man.  Ironically, past the age of 32 he could no longer see himself as he had gone blind as a result of diabetes.  This was before the sophisticated markers monitoring blood sugar levels had become prevalent. As his eyesight failed it was he who did the comforting of my aunt,(my mother's sister).
To this day this is the scene I remember:  I was entrusted to walk him a few blocks down some city streets to the local barber shop. Not paying attention, he went smack into a red, white and blue swirling barber pole attached to the outside of the shop. Although I received some admonishment from the adults (and rightly so), I have (miraculously) not carried the blame all these years.  He was to die from a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 40.

It was decided I was too young to attend the funeral.  Instead, I was sent over to my Aunt Bessie's. She sat me down at her massive mahogany table where I was given crayons and sheets of white paper. There I sat doodling in my child's scrawl as her parakeets chirped in their cage and she kept watch behind me.

Did this begin my long fascination with Barbershops?  My compulsion to document my sons' haircuts at every length? The photographs I would quickly snap before my son or the barber would become annoyed. The photos from Rocco's, Tony's, Carmens and Sal's all turned into etchings and drawings and paintings.

Aunt Bessie and I were immortalized in several different versions of painting and print. Though she and her parakeets are long since gone, I am still able to recall the day in "living color"
Afternoon At Aunt Bessie's

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