Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My Rarities

My mother and father, Jonas, whom I never knew, on their wedding day, 1926, I think.
This is the only photograph I have of my father.
He died in 1939, six months before I was born.
Regina Nestle, c. 1960s, my only picture of her from my years, in the last apartment that made sense to her, on 18th street and 6th Avenue, so she could be close to her work place, a sportswear company, and its boss, with whom she slept on Friday nights before he went home to his wife and children.
I am at that time when memory becomes history, moving away from the body that lived it, taking up residence in what we call documents and theories and investigative searches, in worn photographs and taped messages. Younger friends have taught me how to use blogs, digital images, to trust the web of human concerns. I do. I have so few documents of my early life, ironically, for someone who gave most of her life to building a home for a people's images, but it is this paucity that moves my heart. I offer them now to an endless stream of human lives in this boundless world of shared cyberspace, a living heaven without gods. The woman who has spoken to you on this site, the woman who cannot live with Palestinians loosing their homes to jack hammers and exclusionary national strategies, the woman who stands with all those who know the terrible pain of the Holocaust cannot be succoured by the death of another people, the woman who has loved other women and queer men, the woman who struggled against the bullies of every decade of her life--at least what she perceived to be the uncaring face of power or of narrow minded certainties or the fear of shameful things, the woman who taught and taught and loved the moments when in that classroom of over 30 years, wonders would walk through the doors and we all learned together the force and courage of words, in the books and from their hearts. My lovers who had to leap over so many of my impediments. My friends, whom I wear down. My words, my words.

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