The Photo Project
So yesterday I started the photo-interview project with my mom. I took out this one, that says "Mas and Kiku, Central Park, 1946?" on the back. She immediately said, "My favorite jacket!" and then she pounded the table. "It got ruined by acid."
She said it had been her favorite red jacket, with white piping down it, and it had gotten ruined when she accidentally leaned on a table during a chemistry lab. "Oh, so this was high school?"
She looked at me as if I was crazy. "No, it was night school! College!"
I blinked. "You went to NYU??"
The things you learn. I had no idea my mother ever went to college. I know she didn't graduate from college, but didn't know she ever took classes.
"Those classes were a pain," she went on. "They let out at 11:30 at night, and I'd be on the subway, only two or three people in a car, and people looking at me funny. I'd run down the platform and look to see where the conductor was, and make sure I got on the same car. Then when I got out at my stop, way up at 165th St., I'd have to walk really fast and make sure nobody was following me. There was a garage, where Uncle Ki (her older brother) parked his car, and I knew the fellas that worked there, so if I got nervous, I could always stop off there and maybe one of them would walk me home. It was a safe place I could stop."
Wow. This was a lot to absorb. My mother, taking chemistry at NYU, at night, and then commuting from lower to upper Manhattan by herself on the train.
"And what was this about the jacket and the ... acid?"
Large harrumph. "Yah, we were doing some experiment with sulfuric acid, and I was leaning on the desk to see what was going on, and when I stood up there was a big hole in the arm of my jacket. There had been a puddle on the table, and it just ate right threw. (sound of disgust) That was my favorite jacket. I had to throw it in the garbage."
A picture tells a thousand words. Was that a thousand?