The (not so) Orphaned Images Project: Kindergarten graduation day

22 01 2012

From kindergarten through fourth grade I lived in San Antonio on 155 Farrell Drive in a little white ranch style house. My dad closed in our tiny carport to make a den (and did the same thing in the next house) so we would have more room. Our front porch was long and narrow, flanked by a low brick flower bed full of deep purple Wandering Jew plants.

Directly across the street lived “Aunt Opal.” I’m not sure why we called her “Aunt,” because she wasn’t a relative to any of us in the class or on Farrell Drive. She operated a kindergarten out of her home and had 11 kids enrolled when I attended. She, along with my father, were the first two people to encourage me to draw when they saw my creative potential. I remember one of my first drawing assignments was to draw a rose using colored pencils. Aunt Opal showed us how to draw the petals with a series of crescent moon shapes grouped together. I think I still have that drawing somewhere—temporarily misplaced in a safe place completely unknown to even me, of that I’m sure.

At left is my class graduation photo. I’m in the front row, second from the left, with my mouth hanging open. I certainly don’t look like the brightest of her students, but I’d truly like to believe I was. (Girls in front—as it should be!)

Aunt Opal wore June Cleaver-like, flowered dresses in polished cotton, accessorized with a single strand of pearls, big pearl button earrings, and dark cat-eye glasses. She had perfectly coiffed hair, sparkling blue eyes and looked a bit like the TV character Hazel. She always drank Tab after school was let out for the day. I know this because I shared one with her on more than one occasion while waiting for my mother to come home from work to walk me from school across the street to our house. Ah, my first diet cola—let’s blame Aunt Opal for our affinity for them now, shall we?

After driving by that house a few years ago, I blogged about 155 Farrell Drive in “Pressed between the pages of my mind,” here. You can read about how my younger sister and I staged pool parties in our back yard, sold lemonade to neighbor children and how I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was eight years old. That same plant-filled brick flower bed was where one Valentine’s Day, my classmate, Darren, dropped off a box of chocolate for me, rang the doorbell, then ran away. I’ve been scaring boys away ever since!

I was taken back to that time again recently when I came across the two photos below in a dresser drawer in my parent’s guest room. Now you get to see that Aunt Opal was just as I had described her—perfect coif, polished pearls, sensible pumps and all. Below that photo, I’m on our front porch in front of the flower box, proudly holding my first diploma.

Want to learn more about The Orphaned Images Project? Learn about the origin of the project here. Visit the site at  http://orphanedimages.wordpress.com/





The Orphaned Images Project: Bathing cuties

19 10 2011

Learn more about my ongoing series, The Orphaned Images Project, here and see more orphaned images here.





The Orphaned Images Project: School children

21 09 2011

Written on the back of this photo (I’m assuming the names go right to left in placement in the photo):

Loretta
Beverly
Clifford
Leighton
Harold
Junior





Christopher and Peter Artinian

25 07 2011

I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing Christopher Artinian and his son, Peter, at the Hearing Loss Association of America’s (HLAA) convention last month in Crystal City, Virginia. Chris is the CEO and president of Morton’s Restaurant Group, Inc., and was the keynote speaker during the convention opening session.

The Artinian family is the subject of Sound and Fury, the 2001 Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature. Directed by Josh Aronson, the film tells the story of two brothers: Chris, who was born with hearing, and his older brother Peter, who was born deaf. Both brothers married and both had children who were born deaf. The difficult decision to provide cochlear implants for their children ripped the family apart. Chris and his wife Mari chose to have a cochlear implant for their son while Chris’s brother and his wife Nita, decided they weren’t quite ready for such a medical procedure for their three deaf children. The families finally came full circle and have put the period of “fury” behind them.

Chris and Mari live in Illinois with their five children. He attended Villanova University, and is a longtime supporter of the March of Dimes, Rotary Club and various charities related to children with cochlear implants.

In 2006, Aronson finished Sound and Fury: Six Years Later, a follow-up to Sound and Fury. Click here for an interesting read from pbs.org on director Josh Aronson’s motivation to create Sound and Fury.

Click here to read ‘Sound and Fury Update: A Family Comes Together Again, by Karen Putz, director of Illinois Families for Hands & Voices.

Above, top right: Peter shares his hearing loss experience with Convention attendees. Left: Chris and Pete making their rounds in the exhibit hall at Convention 2011. Below, top photo: Christopher Artinian and his son, Peter. Second photo: HLAA Executive Director Brenda Battat, Christopher Artinian, HLAA Board President Pete Fackler, and Peter Artinian

Photos © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





A writing prompt for The King of Texas

16 07 2011

Hey Dad—remember this photo of me, shot by you after you discovered I had gotten into Mom’s lipstick while she was working (and you were supposed to be babysitting)? I stumbled upon this shot this morning and thought it might make a great writing prompt for you, so I’m sending you down memory lane to write a (lengthy, as always) caption for this photo! (No, your photo won’t win any awards—just look at that green color shift!—but it sure speaks volumes about my strong will and need to be creative, doesn’t it?)

Response from The King of Texas:

This child—this sad-eyed waif—this refugee from a war-torn country is in pitiful condition. Such innocence, such reluctance to reveal who assaulted her and left her in this deplorable condition. She claims that she took a little nap and when she awoke she found lipstick everywhere—yeah, right!

One can see that she tried to cover up the evidence—note the hand-print on the left side of her shirt, and also note the lipstick-covered left hand. Her plaint was “It’s not my fault. Who did this to me?” She places the blame squarely on her father, complaining that as the official babysitter he should have taken precautions to prevent such a disaster.

She even blames the green color shift of the photo on me—oops, I mean on the official babysitter. All her readers need to be reassured that ultimately the wayward lipstick and the sad-eyed waif were separated—it required lots of scrubbing and lots of complaints, both from the scrubbed and the scrubber, but she emerged unscathed and good as new, ready and eager to seek more challenges, and all the while maintaining her innocence.


				




Isabel

6 03 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Isabel & Holly

5 03 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.