Throwback Thursday: A chance to share a photo from the past AND pull the daily themes together in one old photo. It actually made me a little sad when I realized all that was going on in this picture of my grandparents dated sometime in the early ’40’s. Granted, part of what dictates their demeanor, their countenance, if you will, is bone-jarring poverty. Photos were expensive and seldom used to capture a mundane scene or event. Yet, here they are-all raggedy and poor sitting on a wooden porch and having their picture taken.
Let’s start with emotional oxygen, the theme for Sunday’s blog. Body language suggests the area has been cleared of the emotional oxygen. All gone. Used up. Gone. Neither one seems inclined or able to breath some happiness into the other. Ben is sitting with his legs apart-letting Eva and the photographer know that you are in his space and he is dominant. And there is Eva, turned slightly away from her husband, with her legs crossed at her ankles in a position known as the “ankle lock” suggesting holding back, uncertain, maybe even fearful.
Monday, we talked about shoes-it would appear that the shoes of our American Gothic stand-ins are purely utilitarian. They might have found the question of function or fashion odd. I think the front end of Ben’s shoes might be covered with mud. Tuesday we were feeling serious-need I say more? And Wednesday we explored the idea of similar somethings creating a pair. The physical distance between the two just might reflect their difficulty in achieving an emotional proximity. Unfortunately, that played out in the late ’40’s when Ben Garrison sought to find himself and wandered right on down the road and right on out of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas.
I wish I had known both of them better-I wish I knew what Ben and Eva talked about the morning of the photo-had they had a tiff? Or, was the sad reality that the day Ben Garrison sat on a wooden porch with Eva in a photo reminiscent of the American Gothic, he was already half way down that dirt road away from there-already planning what he would take-what he would leave behind, in addition to Eva, his children, his grandchildren. And that day on the wooden porch-it would appear Eva already knew he was as good as gone.
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