By Kate McLaughlin
I remember seeing the graveyard scene in my mind much more clearly than I could express it at the time. I even smelled the damp, dead leaves and wet grass.
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I remember seeing the graveyard scene in my mind much more clearly than I could express it at the time. I even smelled the damp, dead leaves and wet grass.
As a child, I enjoyed autumn. From watching the leaves change colors to cooking Thanksgiving pies with my grandmothers it was always a magical time for me. I wanted my two sons to remember this time of year as fondly as I do. We were looking through their baby book when we found this photograph. I asked them if they remembered when and where it took place. Neither could. But I can't help smiling as I recalled the moment.
We were at my friend Chrissy's house. She and I let my boys out into the back yard to romp after church. They ran and jumped happily in the leaves that were piled deep in the huge yard. Chrissy and I laughed as they threw the leaves into the air and tried in vain to catch them all as they fell. Chrissy ran to get her camera as they continued to toss the leaves into the air. But when she returned, they sat calmly in the pile and began to examine their surroundings. "Now they choose to sit," Chrissy said with a smile. I nodded and said, "Well, we might as well sit and enjoy the rest of the day. It will be cold soon."
As we chatted about this and that the boys continued to sit in the leaves. Then my younger son, Isaiah who was two at the time, exclaimed, "Look Mommy!" He held up a feather that he had found in the leaves. His brother, William who was four, didn't speak but smiled happily at his brother's find. Chrissy stood and quickly snapped the picture. "That was so cute." I nodded and smiled.
As an adult, I am less enthusiastic about the fall. I know that it means dealing with upcoming snow that has to be shoveled off my car, possible snow delay days for school, sick children, lost mittens, and more. However, whenever I get too depressed, I look at this picture of my beautiful boys having fun in the leaves. It always brightens my day.
It's getting cold, I have to put my scarf on, my heat too. I can't go out without my black coat and here me are, a true Parisian. I'm under pressure since I went back to school. I barely have time for myself and everyone around me is walking fast, is eating fast, is writing fast. I don't have the time to take my breakfast or lunch, so I'm eating all the time on the underground and I'm always taking the time to watch around me, to watch the Eiffel Tower everyday.
I've spent a very bad week, I've worked on a big project and the presentation went so bad that I have no moral. I made an animation, a movie opening. For the teacher it was easy, but for us no. It was our first time and it was so difficult. He told me that my opening has no connection with the movie he chosen (Body Double), it's mostly a big reference of Hitchcock and it's not his movie at all, just a reference. He wasn't that happy. Now I'm on holiday. I can relax myself ! I'm free ! So yes. I spent my all day long on Saturday to bed, because I got sick and depressed... Finally, Sunday, my brother's friend told me to go out and join her to an exhibition. She has a German artist friend who's here so I went out to see her. I decided to go by underground but I saw I had no ticket and no money to allow a travel. Okay... I decided to go there by walk. She didn't told me which hour I have to be here. I need to go out and wandering without to know where I'm going. I prefer to let my heart and feet going where they want to. I'll just watch around me. Going out to Paris isn't a bad idea, I need fresh air. Feel the leaf at my feet.
You know about a writer ? The writer never goes out without his pen. The drawer ? Never without his sketchbook. The photographer ? Haa. You understand now. Yep. I already have my camera. Last year I couldn't hang out without my computer, now it's my camera. I take my camera everywhere I go, because I'm very bad at taking picture by phone and my selfies are awful !
With my camera. I walked about two hours in the city of Paris. I went to the Bir-Hakeim/Passy bridge and I walked along the long alley, where we can see the Statue of Liberty. A copy from American, who has their own one at New-York. So yes, I walked by this alley and I was quickly shocked. It's been since June or May I've never come back here and I see the big changement. These leafs, everything is red, orange, yellow, the green is disappearing.
I love going there. It’s relaxing for me because there’s no crowd here, not a lot of people like at the Champs de Mars (where the Eiffel Tower is). There’s not military here, no vigipirate plan and terrorism threat. No car noise, just people who’s wondering, is running, is walking with their dog or kids. Just some boat are floating on the Seine river. I can see the bench each 50 meters, where we feel free to sit here and watching the Seine.
Did I go there when I was kid ? Yeah. Seems to. I have the impression of ‘déjà-vu’ and I don’t know where it come from, but it’s funny. Not because I’ve been here months ago, but it’s the impression of… I don’t know how to explain this, it remind me a bit Scotland after a (very) long biking, I finally made the Dunnet Head, near to Thurso and John O’ Groat under the surprised look of Scottish people and I just sat on a bench, watching the landscape. Like I’m doing right now. I’m sat on that bench and I’m watching the Seine. It remind me when I was in Bretagne, after a long walk about 24km (I don’t know about mile…) I just sat down on a bench. And now I’m thinking about the life on a bench… Which remind me a book of Anne Ponti, le Banc. Which the bench has a name. I remember when I was kiddo, I named all these benches I see, I was so creative to invente these name haha. How did I grew up so quickly ? Well… I have to walk now. I just finished to draw (yes I have a pen, a camera and a sketchbook and a book on my bag) so now, let’s go to a walk !
I was walking near to the Seine, Les quais de la Seine. I didn’t wanted to pass by the Eiffel Tower, I wanted to avoid tourists and I’m glad to do this. I get close to these "péniches" and I love these boats, I used to have a best friend who was living in that boat. I loved to come at her home, it was so original and she could move all the time on the Seine river. She could come to Paris, Rouen and so on. Her boat has a name and it’s Jozina. I don’t understand the origin, I was too young but there’s a story behind that name. Anyway. I was watching these boats during the walk, we find them easily near to the Eiffel Tower or Passy/Bir-Hakeim bridge. I was smiling with myself when I remember of me, kid, I wanted to live on a boat and that I’ll travel around the world in that way. Funny huh ? Kids, we have our dreams and it changes all the time. I remember I wanted to have a boat as a home. I remember I wanted to have a plane. I remember I wanted to have a bike for biking around the world or even a horse ! I remember I wanted to change the world and wanted to delete the cars and come back at the old century : moving, going to a friend’s house by horse.
Oh dear lord ! Wind and some pearl of water ! Rain ? Is it rainning ? Rain ! I love rain ! Oh.. It's not a big one then...! It's just some pearls of water... I just blinked when I saw something. A leaf on a tree. The only one who was fighting. Against what will you ask ? Well, that leaf is fighting to stay on that tree, it seems that he doesn't want to go, he doesn't want to fly because he's scared by the end, where will he end up ? On the water ? On the ground ? Under the car's wheels ? Under my shoe ? I stayed here about five minutes, just to watch that leaf (and taking pics too, damn it this one is moving hella fast !) and wondering when will he let himself go. When I came back hours later, he wasn't here, he just disappeared, somewhere else.
This remind me about real life. We're good, comfortable on something we know well like our job, the country where we can speak their language and we don't want to jump in the unknow and the crazy adventure.
Champs-Elysées Clémenceau, Place de Concorde, Jardin des Tuileries... All these big places. It's also the place where we can go to the big exhibitions, le Grand Palais, le Petit Palais. We can find a lot of paintings, sculptures here, but it's not the same as the Louvre. I remember it's really here with the Musée d'Orsay where my love of the impressionist was born, mostly my love for Van Gogh. This pic remind me a lot about his painting Avenue of Poplars at Sunset. Like I said to Monty on Twitter it's quite the same look I have with that pic, but with more buildings, well... Not a lot finally. Just Henri IV statue. Some people over here...! But I can't help it with the impression of "Déjà-Vu" again. But of course, I've been here since years. I mean, I'm going to Paris everytime since I was three or four years. It's like my second city, where I should feel it's like my home.
But it's not. Paris isn't my home. I don't have that feeling. But that, it's an another story I'll tell another time.
OH. MY. GOD.
LEAFS. A LOT OF LEAFS ! Sorry. I'm gotta go back to childhood right now. I used to go into these leafs when I go to les Jardins de Tuileries with my uncle Olivier. I remember I was crying a lot, screaming and I was so angry because he didn't wanted let me go to play with leafs. I was disturbing the leaf cleaner man, he was doing his job and me, I was jumping in the leaf castle he made. I was surely thinking it was for me.
I always find this amazing to see these leafs fall, to see the evolution of these tree I've used to see green all the time. Yes, I don't usually go to the Tuileries at Autumn. Well, apparently, I have to thank the JamBios Gallery challenge. Mom was so surprised when she learned I went out from my apartment a Sunday. I don't usually do that. I hate go out in an Autumn day because it's depressing for me who's a spring/summer girl. But yes. I have to admit that it's beautiful to see by my photos.
HAHA yes. I couldn't help myself actually. I put my feet on leafs... No castle here. Apparently the cleaner was quick enough. At the same time I was here in the middle of afternoon. They cleaned up the morning !
Mom just saw that pic, she thought it was a tree. She didn't recognize my legs and my Doc's Marteen shoes. She really loves that pic.
Me too. Remind me my childhood and my uncle who was enjoying to imitate me crying (what a guy!)
Okay. This is gonna be the last pic for this chapter. I was going to join my friend and her artist friend. I was going to meet some photographers too, I was going to make an artist network. Like I can start somewhere, it has to be here. To be know as a little artist who know not all this world.
But on my way, I was stopped by a show between a little boy and his parents. I was watching near to the tree and I couldn't help smiling. This is the only shot I've made. Their parents were trying to put him on the air, a bit. The kid couldn't walk alone and he didn't wanted to walk on the ground without leaf on it. He felt all the time on these leafs, he was laughing and he was so happy. His mother was running at the same way he did and she imitates him when he felt. They were laughing and I see how happy they are. They was making fun.
During my walk. I could see Parisians who was wondering, running and biking near to the Seine. Others just enjoy the Autumn, some are taking pics or drawing (yes yes...!). Yeah, maybe for me the Autumn it's about falling, everything's dying and cold is here. For others, it's about red, orange, yellow color, it's about playing with leafs, it's about enjoy the cold after the hard time of heat we've been through this year.
Gold is the sun that shines down upon,
vast forests painted in red, yellow and bronze,
Gold are its beams that shine through the leaves,
silent dancers that perform on the eddies of the breeze,
Gold is the grass whose color soon fades,
from the bright shades of green and flowers of May,
Gold is the light that fills the air,
crisp and cool that grasps at your hair,
Gold are the candles that burn so bright,
lighting the home from oncoming night,
Gold is the hearth that warms the soul,
where families gather and memories are told,
Gold is the color that touches the heart,
when Summer fades and Autumn starts,
My grandmother, Medine , was 14. She lost her father recently and her stepmother also her aunt was hard on her. Her father ( I call him Turkish Robin Hood because he was robbing rich people and giving their money poor people) married her aunt because when her mother died she was only 4 and she had a baby sister and a new born baby brother. Her father thought their aunt could give them love just like her mother but that didn't happen. One day while she was watching outside from window she saw a man on a horse. He was tall , really really tall. And then he noticed her. She was tall to but not like him. He saw her long hair under her headscarf. She gave him a shy smile and he kept his eyes on her eyes. They stared each other until her stepmother called her. One last look for goodbye was a promise. One week later that man came back, he found her near water fountain. He got down from his horse and said with a smile :
' Hello ! ' She didn't know what to do because if someone would see her, it could be really bad for her but she couldn't resist that excitement inside of her and she said : ' Hello ! ' . He felt her fear and he started talking without waiting a second.
' I searched your family and I know who you are. I know you are not happy and probably you won't accept this but , I think I fell in love with you and I know I'm older than you , I'm 25 and you're ...? Really how old are you? '
She couldn't believe this but after a long pause she said : ' 14.'
' Oh... I ... I want to marry you, I mean If you want too ! '
I don't believe love at first sight but I think right person, right time and enough hormones can do it. As my grandmother told me after that conversation he took her hand and they get on his horse and escaped so you can see she said yes. She told me this story while my mother and aunts making rosehip marmalade. She didn't say more but I asked what happened other people . They couldn't get married with civil marriage because she was under 18 and there wasn't any parent to give approval. They made a religious marriage ceremony. 4 years later they had a baby girl and two years later they had a boy and in 1950 they had their second boy.
He was tailor. He earned enough money for his family even Second World War's effects on economy was still there. And then something happened. That was Korean War. He called from army to go South Korea. Turkish Army went to South Korea to help as a member country of NATO.
When he came back, they saw that he lost one of his arms function because shrapnels hit his arm nerves. He didn't lose his arm but his muscles were dead. He was a veteran and he had a veteran salary but he didn't quit being tailor. He was a survivor and he was a good father. In 1955 and 1958 they had two baby girls. In 1965 they had my mother. My oldest aunt was in nurse school and oldest uncle was in teacher school, my other uncle was in police school. My mom always says my grandad said her when they were alone in his tailor shop : ' You're my masterpiece , you're youngest but you're the one who understand me most. ' They were going to Istanbul or Izmir to see big fairs every summer. Every weekend he bought them cinema tickets and cotton candies.They were very happy. He cared education very much and as my mom always quotes him : ' I sell my jacket and clothes on me for your education , you just want it.'
My mother had not known his gastric cancer until he had to surgery. Of course he beated that too because he was a survivor. Bu in 8th September 1980 he woke up and shaved but something was wrong and he felt it he said something my mom to go away and he called my grandmother and then he died. My aunts said my mom tried to wake him and when she learnt that he died, she broke all of windows and mirrors. Her hands was in blood when her brother in law slapped her to come to herself.
Being a widow and living with a 15 years old girl wasn't easy. One night a drunk man came to their door and started to yelling. Until neighbors came my grandmother found old ax and made him run. After that day nothing happened like that.
There was a military coup and my grandfather's veteran salary didn't give to them two months. They didn't have money , neighbors helped, my aunts and uncles helped so they got through that too.
My grandmother died when I was 11. She died from lung cancer. She had smoked for over 40 years. She took care of their home which they build with their hands. There wasn't empty grave for bury her near my grandfather's grave and she wanted to bury in her village's cemetery.
I'm so proud of being their granddaughter. I've never got a chance to see my grandfather but my mother always tells me : ' He'd love you so much and carry you over his shoulders and play with you all the time.' My grandmother was the strongest woman I've ever seen actually she was strongest woman for everybody who knows about her. She was so clever, you could feel that when you talk to her. I'm sorry to not to got their being tall genes. My grandmother was 175 cms and my grandfather was under a few cms from 200 cms but my mother got recessive being short genes. I think my grandfather made just one mistake on his masterpiece.
You can say 'Why did you write this autumn topic? ' You're right but I learned all this stories in September when whole family got together and when I think about them rosehip marmalade comes to my mind because I asked all of trick questions when my aunties and my mom was making it.