Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

Wearing the Past

Saturday two of our friends came over to "remix" clothes together with Kim and Skylar. I deftly steered clear of the needles and thread by sitting in my office revising my Richard Hell piece. But I did step out to chat a few times in order to capture the proceedings in photographs. Some of you may have already seen the evidence elsewhere. Anyway, when the fabulous fashions were complete I was enjoined to document them as well, thereby earning my right to accompany the ladies during their night on the town for Japanese food at Yoshimatsu, reading material at the Book Stop, and dessert at the Santa Barbara Ice Cream Company. All in all, it was a magical day.

Bean decided to wear her outfit again yesterday for the gallery show celebrating the end of her art camp. As I watched her walk around, I tried to pin down a sensation I'd had the previous evening, which wasn't exactly deja-vu, but definitely related. A little while ago, I sat down at the computer and saw the following image in my iPhoto window:

All of a sudden it hit me. The combination of the outfit and Skylar's expression reminded me, both of the odds and ends in my paternal grandparents' bedroom, which struck my elementary-school mind as a space from another time, and of the family photographs I looked through when I was visiting my parents in December. I scanned a bunch of those. Sadly, the ones that most reminded me of my daughter's look were not among them. But I did find a few from the 1920s and 1930s that at least give some insight into why I was "tripping" yesterday and today:

That's my paternal grandmother on the far right, my great aunt Louise on the left, and my dad's older sister Marion between them. Since Marion looks about five or six, this photograph is probably from 1928.

Whenever my dad looks at photos of Marion he remarks how much Skylar looks like her. And I agree with him, though this photograph doesn't demonstrate the similarity as well as others. What intrigues me right now, though, is the way that this old snapshot conjures up the era of Cabaret, the soundtrack for which has been on heavy rotation in our world for months. I look at Bean's outfit and feel like she's channeling a past to which she has no direct access, since it precedes all of her grandparents' attainment of self-awareness. But then I start detecting family resemblances and wonder whether its legacy hasn't reached her by other means.

  • Anti-Climax

    As I wrote the other day, I had been hoping that the Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal semifinal at the Australian Open would be the highlight of the…

  • An Exercise in Futility?

    As a longtime fan of Roger Federer, I was delighted to see him make the semifinals of the Australian Open. Knowing his opponent would be Rafael…

  • Playing Catch-Up

    It's funny what makes a difference at stressful times. I haven't recorded much television, really, since we lived in California. Somehow we managed…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.