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Thoughts on a picture

Through the miracles of the web I obtained this picture. The woman is my aunt Cathy, the sister of my father. The man may be her husband but I am not sure. It is too many years since I have seen him.

It was taken on State Street in Chicago in 1935.

It seems to tell a story but I already know the ending. Cathy was a deeply unhappy and bitter woman. I liked her a lot when I was younger because she was smart and seemed "together". I'm not at all  sure she ever was  together. Her mother neglected her in favor of her son, my father, and  she seemed to bear the scars for her entire life.

And yet, even knowing this, even thinking how bitter and even borderline nuts she became later, I can't help but think of this as a lovely picture that could be saying a lot. I look at how she clutches her bag and a scarf, at the large buttons on her dress, the flare of her coat. I look at the smile on her face, on his face, how they look at each other, perhaps sharing a little private secret. I see his hand in his pocket and wonder if they knew they were posing at the time. Does it matter? Their lives seem to be opening in front of them, the whole world, the joy in each other. Perhaps they felt it would last forever.

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