Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Let It Be

Ruby still life... a different angle.
(Click picture to enlarge)
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"It is through realism that I try to call forth universal feelings... I look for subjects bathed in and sculpted by light." ~ Linda Kooluris Dobbs
During the summer between fifth and sixth grade my eyes went bad. Back in the stone age when I was in elementary school, they did rudimentary eye exams at the beginning of each year. Some of you might remember this... those big eye charts with the letters or the big "E's" and you were to motion the direction of the arms. In fifth grade I passed... in sixth grade, I couldn't see the big "E" at the top and it was off to the eye doctor and the beginning of a lifetime of glasses and contacts. I remember getting that first pair of glasses and the drive back home. It was amazing! The things I saw outside the car window that I had never noticed before! Then at home, details of the house that had simply escaped me.

Growing up we always had a piano AND a small organ in our house, not like the electronic keyboards young people would know today, but a REAL organ. Usually we kept these together, back to back in the living room. My mom is an accomplished pianist and organist. I took piano and violin for several years but they just didn't take me. Still, at the time I spent a lot of time at that piano.

What on earth does this have to do with the picture? Hold on. I'll eventually get there.

There was always the question of what to put between that piano and organ. Finally, my dad came up with the idea to build a large planter and set it between them. In that planter, Mom decided to put some plants. You must remember that this was in the 60's; in general there was a significant lack of good taste in the 60's. Come on, admit it. It was the height of the "plastic" era... plastic plates, plastic utensils and plastic plants. How anyone ever thought those plastic foliage plants looked even remotely real, escapes me; but that is what was put in the top of the planter, plastic plants embedded in a large green styrofoam block. They were all green.... green leaves, green flowers, green stems, and green grapes.

Yes, when I walked in that house and looked at the planter for the first time after getting my glasses, I saw the green grapes. I had NEVER seen the green grapes nestled down in the green foliage between the green flowers before. The planter contents had just been a green blur. This must have been a shocking revelation to a little girl; that her eyes had been so bad she could not see the details of life around her and that the planter contents were so... well, so... ugly!

Fortunately, that planter and the plastic arrangements are long gone. In fact, all the plastic flower arrangements, even the one that made up the base of my favorite bedside lamp, are gone. Hopefully, all the plastic flower arrangements everywhere are gone. With the advent of silk flowers... we've moved on. Right.

Anyway, today we have the advantage of very realistic, fake arrangements. Take my "fruit" bowl. It has bananas, apples, oranges, pomegranates and grapes; not green and not plastic, more of waxy and light weight rubbery... but not real either. Were I a little girl just finding out that her eyesight required glasses, I would not likely confuse these grapes with the apple or pomegranate would I? Not likely. But then again, I might have thought they were real.

Looking back at this post, I have no idea why these grapes brought that memory back. This was just going to be my "still life" picture for Carmi's theme and my "red" picture for Ruby Tuesday. So, let it be.

(end of post)


sandra said...

loved the story, and i do remember those plastic plants and flowers. my mother actually in the dead of winter put bright pink plastic flowers on her dead azalea plant that was viewed from her kitchen window. i thought they were ugly then and still do. she had bad eyes and when she viewed her view while doing dishes (no dishwashers then) she thought it was lovely. we all laughed at her but she loved her plastic flowers.
the red is so vibrant with the light showing through. at first i thought she is taking Christmas balls. NOT. lovely red photo

kim, usa said...

Oh wow this is very beautiful!
Pop corn

Beverly said...

Lovely photo, and I love your story.  But, what I want to know is that if you went to school in the stone age, what age preceded it?  That would be mine because you know I am so much older than you!

Ginny Hartzler said...

What a sweet and poignant story of a little girl seeing the details og life for the first time! My story is the same, I was about nine when they figured out I was nearly blind as a bat. But those first glasses in the 50's!!! Do you have a picture of yourself in yours? Mine were teal blue horned rimmed with rhinestones, and a chain to go aound the neck, egads! 

Raven said...

What a lovely post and photo. The light in this shot is stunning and your story is beautifully written and told. Thanks for sharing it. You are right about the 60s....

mel cole said...

Wow, amazing macro. I thought it's real. Made me drool. lol. Thanks for hopping by my cottage.

kenju said...

Love that photo!

I so remember plastic flowers and plants - ICK!

Col said...

I so understand the wonder of once more being able to see.   Your words pretty much describe my situation after cataract surgery.   Sight is such a marvellous gift.   Thand goodness for the wonders of science that have allowed many to see the world clearly again.   My prayer is that something is soon found to help those with Macular Degeneration.  My Mom has lost the enjoyment of sight because of this condition.   It is hard getting old.. and I think this is one of her greatest losses.

Michelle-Rambling Woods said...

Oh how I can relate to this. I didn't get glasses until 3rd grade and I was just amazed at how different the world looked..of course they were those pointy 1960's glasses, but they worked. For years I hated them and then went to contact lenses until I had to go back to glasses. Now bi-focals. Your story also took me back to my piano lessons and my mother playing.. but not very well..lol.....Michelle

Carmi said...

Your personal stories are always so powerful. I'm glad you took us on this journey with you, as you inspired me to confront my own plastic-infused childhood. And I'm sure somewhere in there I've got similar memories. If only I could paint them as beautifully as you.

You touched me for another reason: Our daughter just got her first pair of glasses, so this has been top-of-mind in our house. Her seeing the world clearly is a major inflection point for us, and as ever you've found a way to connect the blogging community's dots.

The new Thematic theme, parallel, is up. I can't wait to see what you come up with for that one!

photowannabe said...

Fascinating story about your eyesight.  I had a slightly similar situation.  I realized I couldn't see the street sign names while I was driving until I was right on top of them.  When I got my glasses I was shocked at how much I had missed for so long.  Maybe thats whats made photography so fun for me.
Plastic fruit and flowers brings back a lot of memories for me too.  Some of it was so ugly!
Thanks for stopping by my blog.  I really appreciate it.

colleen said...

Are they real then? I thought cherries at first. I love the light on them.  Glad you can see with such detail and that you share them with us. http://looseleafnotes.com

Karen Sather said...

This is a rich shade of red......perfection at it's best.  I missed this from last week.