Doris Graham Cleage On A Beach

Doris_graham_swim_suitaHere is my mother in a fragment of a photograph. I don’t recognize the beach. We can’t see who is on either side of her.  Her hair is long and parted in the middle. Ribbons tie it on each side. A blanket seems to be behind her shoulders but not resting on them.  Over her left shoulder are some people and loudspeakers on a pole.  Over her right shoulder is a building, a jungle gym and a light on a pole.

I have other photos of my mother in  bathing suits but none look like this one.  She looks young, in her early 20s. I was born when she was 23, in 1946. Was it before or after I was born? The expression on her face reminds me of this photograph taken in Los Angeles in 1944.  So long ago. All of my children are older than she was then.


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31 thoughts on “Doris Graham Cleage On A Beach

  1. Isn’t she beautiful! I find myself doing exactly as you: comparing the age of a person in the photo to someone today. Usually I’m struck by how old and mature the person in the photo appears.

    1. I think my mother would fit right in with my kids and me when I was in my early 20s. She doesn’t seem to be so very old and mature here, as opposed to when I knew her as my mother. She didn’t seem old but always mature and so sure of herself.

  2. Oh it’s not just me then who plays that game with the ages? What always surprises me is how terrbily old my grandparents looked when they were MY age! These are lovely pictures Kristin.

  3. There’s an air of mystery to photos when you can’t see the whole picture. Wouldn’t you like to see the whole scene. I love the way her hair is tied back with the ribbons.

    1. Helen, I would like to see the rest of the photo and why was it cut? I wonder if it spent time in a wallet? Who was with her? Questions, questions, questions.

  4. She does have the same expression in both pictures and looks very happy. I have a few pictures I cut down to fit in a wallet and I sure regret it now.

  5. Kristin, there is something about old, partial photos — sometimes tattered and torn — that just intrigues me. Almost like the cracks and tears are trying to let the story behind the eyes and smile spill out over the years.

  6. Yes they are wonderful photographs. And I do like the idea of using our children’s age as a kind of divider to measure time in a backwards direction. When my father was the age my son now is, it will have been 1935 and the world would have been such a different place.

  7. A shame about the separated companions, but that’s life, I suppose. What an evocative image to have anyway. Yes, I think she looks younger in the swimsuit photo than when she is carrying the cardboard box on her head. Thanks for sharing the delightful images.

  8. Your mom was a beautiful woman, looks like that was a good beach day at the time. Apparently, whoever else was in the picture was cut out in order to forget them. We should honor their choice. Btw I have seen a beach in Connecticut with a similar background about 10 years ago.

    1. I don’t know if she was ever in Connecticut but interesting thought. I have a feeling it was cut down to go in a wallet. I have to admit that if I could find the two parts that went on the sides, I would put them together and not feel like I was negating their choice. unfortunately (or fortunately) I haven’t found those photos so the secret is safe. So far.

  9. A good choice for the theme. This has the look of a photo that was deliberately separated, perhaps as a kind of primitive cropping to put in a frame or maybe because someone wanted to forget the companions. It’s a bit like looking through a keyhole.

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