Matrons at Play

Matrons at Play

Matrons at Play

I’ve been going through old photographs searching for a particular one, but soon found myself on a bird walk down memory lane.  Due to the haphazard condition of my photo storage, I came across this photo that at first glance I thought I had no connection to.  On closer inspection I realized the woman on the right was my own grandmother.  According to the note in her fancy script on the back, the woman on the left is her friend Sadie.  Unfortunately she had not thought to add the date, but if I had to hazard a guess, I would say late fifties to late-sixties?  It is obvious they are sitting in the stern of a boat, somewhere off the coast of Maine, if you look very closely you can see a lighthouse in the background.  The setting seems out of sync with their ensembles and formal poses.  The crossing of arms and the clutching of purses paired with their expressions seems to suggest a dissatisfaction with their current circumstances.  Perhaps, they are disapproving of whatever or whomever is in their line of site, young people in scanty bathing suits?  Both women are sporting hats that must be heavily pinned to their heads, from experience I know the wind would make it close to impossible to retain the hats otherwise.  The next thing I noticed are the oversized pearls, a bit overdressed for boating.  Knowing my grandmother and her impish spirit that lurked just under her prim and proper exterior, I find my initial assessment of the photograph a bit surprising. In my memory which doesn’t really kick in until the seventies, she wore slacks and actual canvas tennis shoes when we went boating.  She would be coordinated but appropriate to the activity.  In this photo she looks ready for lunch at the church tea room.  Another thing that was certainly true was that she did not like to have her picture taken, so that could account for the facial expression.  I guess I will never know the true story behind the photograph.  My grandmother joined the angels back in 2005.  This was just one moment among countless moments in a hundred year old life.  But this one moment could be a marvelous springboard for a novel with many possible plots.  I would like to think of Sadie and my grandmother as two proper matrons coaxed out on a boat outing on a beautiful Memorial Day weekend.  At first a bit uncomfortable perched on the stern bench trying to avoid the wind.  Then as the boat picks up speed the two women begin to loosen up, the hats and purses are tossed below deck,  They make their way to the bow, giggling like schoolgirls as the wind tousles their hair and lifts their skirts.  Two no-nonsense matrons, letting loose and showing there is more to them than what their everyday world sees.  Just two matrons at play escaping from the lives they left behind on shore. Where would you take their tale?

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