Early Works

White Plains, 1983


I took this photo when I was nine. At least, I think I did. I don't remember this house or the particular day, but then I have very little in the way of confirmed memories in general.

I asked my father to fill in the story and he said it was "just a house I liked." We were visiting White Plains, New York. I remember bits and pieces of the trip: the snowy northern winter and a long anticipated introduction to New York City, but I couldn't recall why I was almost 500 miles from our home in North Carolina, in the middle of the school year. (The date was confirmed by the receipt I found tucked in the envelope from the one-hour photo mat.) My mother, he told me, was away "trying to find herself." He had a business trip to go on and there was no one to watch me.

About a month later, my mother left us for good. She would eventually return to North Carolina and even to my daily life, but I would never live with her again.

In the process of growing up, the physical remnants of childhood are inevitably boxed up and stowed, but either in my father's distracted attempts to forget, or my mother's long slide into mental illness, my childhood belongings were simply lost or thrown out. Finding little clues like this photograph are often profound to me.

This image reminds me of lines on a palm representing diverging paths and lives about to change.