Tag Archives: photography

True love lasts a lifetime

True love lasts a lifetime, Emma Thompson declares in Love Actually, (my second favorite movie) referring to her love of Joni Mitchell, a love I share.

My favorite movie, though, is Dirty Dancing, and I have loved it since it was first released in 1987. Dancing-in-the-basement was part of my teen years in my working-class neighborhood in Detroit, and, well, Patrick Swayze as a dancing, working-class hero hooked me.

Soon after the movie was released, a woman I knew through work wanted me to apply for a job in Atlanta, where she lived. Atlanta didn’t particularly attract me, but this woman had grown up in Houston, near Patrick Swayze, and had taken dance classes with Patrick’s mother. She actually knew Patrick Swayze!

I said that if she could arrange lunch with Patrick I would move to Atlanta (my decision-making criteria was fairly superficial). She could not pull that off, but a few months later, this picture arrived in the mail.

travel-Italy-Patrick Swayze
The inscription is faded; it reads “To Madeline, Best wishes, Patrick Swayze.”

I was in heaven. A signed photo from Patrick Swayze. I have carried this picture with me through all my moves and placed it on my desk at every job. True love does last a lifetime.

All of this came back to me when I was in Lucca, Italy, buying a scarf at Zazzi Dalamano. Vladimir is one of the company’s owners, and he was in the store the day I bought my scarf. When Vladimir discovered I was from Michigan, he gasped and said his favorite singer is from Michigan.

“Who is that?” I asked.

“Madonna,” he said, with a sigh that reminded me of how I say Patrick Swayze’s name—somewhat dreamy and wistful.

The person I was travelling with, also from Michigan, actually lived near Madonna and went to the same high school although not at the same time. This information brought another gasp from Vladimir—his connection to Madonna had just gotten closer.

He then told us the story of how he has loved Madonna since he was eleven years old and how he took the train to Rome (about three hours away) to see Madonna in concert when he was eleven. He didn’t say he used his First Communion money, but where else would an eleven-year-old get money to buy a train ticket and a concert ticket?

Anyway, he told his mother he was going to Rome to see Madonna, and she didn’t believe him. I can imagine her rolling her eyes and saying, “Of course you are going to take the train to Rome to see Madonna,” her voice dripping with skepticism.

But he did it, and he has not missed a Madonna concert since then.

I offered to try to connect with Madonna and have her visit his store the next time she is in Italy.

“Oh, no, don’t do that,” he said. “I would have a heart attack and die if Madonna walked into my store.”

Okay, then, I will try to get a signed picture.

True love does last a lifetime.

Photos on the Book Store Wall

Before I bought my house in 1997, I moved around a lot; I used to joke that when my windows needed to be washed, I would just find a new apartment.

The exception was my college apartment, where I lived for three years. It was the third floor of a twin house; a kitchen, bedroom and bath—three small rooms with ceilings so slanted I could barely stand up straight. The apartment was just adequate, but the location was fantastic.

It was in Ardmore, PA, one block from the Suburban Square Shopping Center—stores, restaurants and a train station.

I was running in those days, and my morning run ended with a stop at a local book store, where I would buy the morning newspaper and chat with the guy at the cash register. In addition to his love of books, Al also loved photography, as evidenced by his collection of black-and-white photos adorning the book store walls.

Soon after I began stopping at the book store, Al asked if he could take my picture for his collection. Although I was flattered to be asked, my answer was a resounding “no.” I explained to Al that I was planning on becoming an FBI agent after college and I did not think the Bureau would look kindly on an applicant who had her photo displayed on his book store wall.

The prospect of having an FBI agent’s picture on his wall made photographing me all the more fascinating to Al, and his request became part of our daily conversation. He pleaded and cajoled in an effort to change my mind.

The problem was not so much having my picture on his wall, but rather the style of Al’s photography.

The photos were all of women who had been into the store; the backdrop in each photo was the store’s large picture window. The window was covered with blinds, and Al used the morning light and the angle of the slats to create interesting lines and shadows.

The women were photographed from the waist up and their bodies were only covered by the shadows created by the stripes of the angled blinds. That’s right, only shadows; no clothes.

The photos were artistic and beautiful, but, I thought, not FBI material.

“I won’t tell anyone,” Al would assure me, but I was not convinced.

Al never took my photo, and I never became an FBI agent. And now, after living in the same home for sixteen years, I am scouting out new neighborhoods to live in and hoping for someplace fantastic.