Saturday, February 8, 2014

Older Me

Greenwich Village, 1958.

Today I got to see how I might look in a few years, when I’m 13 or 14, maybe? Mrs. Tanya (Sophie’s mom) took us to Caffé Reggio and there was an artist there, and he sketched this photo. Sophie leaned over and looked, saying “Ruby! Come look!”

Mrs. T looked too, squinting up her eyes and saying, “Kind of how you might look in a year or two,” and the man didn’t say anything, just kept drawing and wouldn’t look up. I don't think he made me look all that much older but I liked whatever he was doing and don’t think Mrs. T should have bothered him. Not that he’d  notice much.

I was just CRAZY to be there at all, looking around for a poet or two but no one was in the place. Not sure why the guy wanted to draw me and not Sophie, except she’s usually pretty squirmy and it’s hard to draw someone when they’re not sitting still.

Then Sophie’s mom asked if we had a favorite artist and I guess they thought I’d say Nell-mom. I wanted to, but I don’t think she’s really a favorite; she’s my mom. Sophie says her favorite is Elaine de Kooning and I can see why. She has amazing colors, composition and style.

Mrs. T likes Mark Rothko, which makes sense since both she and Sophie like colors and abstracts and that whole expressionism thing. Nell-mom likes it too.

When I think of who I really, really like the best… (and please don’t tell my mother) it would have to be Marc Chagall. Blu likes him too. I just love how everything looks like it’s in a dream and people seem to be either floating or flying. And even though he barely escaped with his life from the Nazis, there’s something in his paintings that always makes you happy. At least, Blu and I think so.

So all this makes me think about this guy today, at the café, drawing away, making me look sort of cool and like a teenager, and secretly I wanted the drawing but of course you never say something like that.  Except the funny thing is when he was done, he tore out the page and handed it to me. Again, without a word.

I took it home and put it up on my wall and next thing I know, Little Nell and Gary Daddy-o are crawling all over me with questions. But I said, “Hey, it was a guy at Caffé Reggio and he was an artist. He didn’t really talk to me.” Then I asked what we had for dinner and everybody walked away. Asking for food is a pretty good way to shut my family down.

Now I hear Nell-mom talking about how she wishes I'd let her do my hair, if she'd known I was going to have somebody sketching me today, blah, blah, etc. 

But I like how it turned out. Don't you?

--Ruby T.

Drawing: Jackson Muenster