Saturday, April 07, 2012


This is Louisville.
South Hill street at the I-65 overpass.
CSX livestock car, tagged.  07.04.2012
My days and nights have kept pace with my brain of recent.  It is at that time, that I feel I am at my best.  Left idle, my brain seems to grind the meat of me.

I've started a series of photos of Louisville inspired by some posts I've put up elsewhere about Detroit.    I have quite by accident been a promoter of Louisville, inspiring people to make Louisville a place where they either call home, or regularly visit.  Someone once said to me, Louisville is fabulous for three-day visits.  I couldn't agree more.  It's spring break, and that's exactly what I'll be doing with the girls later this week.

The series will evolve, and will be places I see on a regular basis.  Some will be the spots where I take those friends who later decide to relocate or move here.  Louisville is average, random, quirky.  Of all the places I've been, and according to the list I've started keeping on tripadvisor, it's far more extensive than I'd ever imagined, Louisville is lovely.  You find what you look for no matter where you are, and if you're around me, you'll find it to be a grand place.

This is Louisville.
"The Raft," by Armando Marino outside
21c Hotel.  06.04.2012
I've lived here most of my life, save a brief spell elsewhere.  When people ask, what did you want to be when you grow up, it wasn't lawyer... it was international traveler.  Only later, would I shoe-horn working for the State Department into that dream.  I started preparing for the entrance exam, and learned of the women who pass and get work, most were secretaries.  I would not grow up to be a secretary.  :scoff: so at 19, I changed my mind.  If I were to travel, it would be for leisure.  The travel, I most state for the record, was never to get away from Louisville.  It had what I wanted.  This isn't to say, that I didn't want to live somewhere else (too long to list)... but you have to live where you are, and for much of my life, that's been right here in Louisville.  It's kind of funny to think, but it's as if Louisville has gotten better in such a way that it makes me glad I didn't move elsewhere.  Add to it, the internet.  I have been fortunate to have traveled the world, and have what I would define as good friends - kept close to my heart in part by the ease of communication on the web.  I had this fanciful idea of writing nothing but letters the month of February.  (they were written, but I just found them stashed in a shelf recently.  I asked myself a yet answered question: do I still mail them?)  I love the handwritten note and letter.  I am particularly fond of the love letters.  To touch where another hand has touched.  To see the swoop and fall of their pen.  To read the letter before you in tangible form.  Letter writing is lost and that is a sad thing.  But the speed at which I type make my letter writing a rarity.

There is a good history to be found here.  Short, by most reasonable comparison, but proud.  Louisville, has had its economic fortunes and hardships, like anyplace.  For the longest time, it has suffered from trying to be like other cities.
This is Louisville.
Louisville has the most iron-clad facades outside of
SoHo NYC.  06.04.2012

I wish I had been able to stop some of the development that took away forever the character of Broadway.  For example, and I will have to go to the world-class photo archives at UofL to find it again, but there was a stunning mansion at the corner of Second and Broadway.  Today?  It's a McDonald's.  Two stories tall, but still a McDonald's.  If only we had not put down the interstate where we had - robbing ourselves of our waterfront, damaging already strained racial divide in the city by splitting off neighborhoods.  And yet, the strides that have happened, are wonderful.  I could go on writing about this, and for now, let it suffice to say, that the journey for Louisville isn't over. It has more story to tell, unlike say, some of the rust-belt towns of Pennsylvania, or ghost towns of the Wild West.  I think we Louisvillians forget that and over-compensate.  Like an insecure woman needing affirmation, we just need to relax and be.
This is Louisville.
Marker, at the corner of Sixth and Main Streets.

The girls inspire me to find what I believe all people, when nurtured, have at the start.  It isn't until we start to tell ourselves, something's wrong here, and repeat that message, gathering evidence along the way, that our neurosis sets in.  I think people react two ways to that first message. I don't mean to get all biblical, but come on, like it or not, the imagery from the Bible permeates our language and ability to communicate.  People react either like a lamb or a lion.  I reacted like the lamb, and would succumb to the powers that assaulted or threatened me.  I found evidence to support that I was victim.  Others, take on the lion, defending the self, the ego.  Some take the most aggressive trait of the lion and don't just defend, but become the aggressor.

[If you are wondering where I'm going with this, please, as ever, be patient.]

Easter Egg Hunt.
Godfathers Dan and Chris included the girls in their
family's Easter Egg Hunt.  I was trying to get
a photo of Greta Jo and Clara Lou with Dan's
niece Samantha, and Chris' nephew Max.  07.04.2012
Our girls have an innocence.  Well, of course they do, they are just two and a half and sixteen months.  But in that innocence is freedom from the burden of learning that first hard lesson of something is wrong here... and all we do with it the years that follow.  Some never ever get loose from it.  Their perspective of events and the meanings attached are truth.  I was hurt by so-and-so.  Everyone hurts me.  I'm different.  I'm not accepted.  I'm not good/smart/pretty enough.  There are those who live aware that this is their message, this is their truth, and yet do nothing to shake themselves free of it.  They cling to it as if it is who they are.

Seeing our girls, aware of the message I've spent the last 40 some years telling myself?  I know this is bunk.  Who we are -- is innocent little monkeys.  We steal toys.  We want our milk when we want it.  We're quick to smile, play and use our sparking brains in brilliant ways.  All the other stuff?  Unnecessary weight.  It's kind of like taking a thoroughbred and handicapping it with extra weight, keeping it from ever being able to run freely and win.  I'm here to say, and I know this is unrealistic, I aspire that I remove all extra weight that slows me down and keeps me from winning, and that our girls never ever have more weight than they can carry, and certainly none that keeps them from running free and fast.

Clara Lou, 16 months.  Toddling -
with a can do confidence I hope she always has.
Easter Egg Hunt ready.
Trill in her voice resonates
every beat of a strong heart
tumbling giggles turn
a Mother’s self-doubt to wistful smiles
the wobble of her step
gasp not Maman
the tumble taken in stride of next
a way of being
creativity unconfined
these girls of mine
they have today all I would wish
/nmh ©04.07.2011

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