For Mother's Day, I posted a photograph that to this day I count as one of the best shots that I ever took as an amateur photographer. It is a photograph that stirs both a joy and a poignancy in me, because of the two people in it. Taken on a hot summer's day by chance in downtown New York City in the late 70's, it depicts an elderly women standing next to a young girl, presumably her granddaughter.
They were waiting for a bus and the protective stance in their body English makes you realize that the older woman instinctively shields her girl from the urban landscape - and as a parent, I know that the safety of my children is always in my mind when I am in public with my kids, so to be traveling in such a vast metropolis as New York would have me on heightened alert, since it would be so easy for my child to take just a few steps away from me and be swallowed up in the crowd. Likewise, the girl holds her grandmother and I caught her looking at the camera with a challenge of sorts on her face, as if to say, no one will hurt this old woman.
It is evident that they are poor. It is evident that it is summer, and New York City is not a comfortable place to be during that time of year, as the heat index is high in midtown Manhattan and is exacerbated by humidity. But what is evident is that they have each other. Think of the girl. Perhaps her parents are gone - dead, in jail, or simply gone - and all she has is her grandmother. Or maybe her grandmother is growing frail and she was told, go downtown shopping with your grandmother, make sure she makes it home. I think they are related - they share the same eyes. As I said, when I look at the two, I see St. Anne and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Have you ever seen the photograph by Getrude Kasebier, Blessed Art Thou Among Women? There she is. Or the young latina in the center of the mural at Union Station in Los Angeles? Everytime I would pass beneath it and think, there she is, at the age when she bore Our Lord.
Well, I guess I am blind as a bat, because offense was taken at my image. An anonymous commentator, calling herself Catholic Woman, wrote:
St Anne and the Blessed Virgin??? Dressed like that?!?!? I hope that wasn't really your mother or grandmother. What a shameful way for a woman to dress, at any age let alone an older woman. And to imagine the Mother of God so scantily dressed like that little girl? Where is your head?! Terrible! And if you don't think so, shame ON you. Was that supposed to be a joke? If it was, it isn't appreciated. At all.
Neither is your comment, lady. Go learn something about the world.