When I went through the box of pictures and I picked this one up, I remembered this day. We were at the beach near our house in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. It was a really hot day and my mother was in the hospital. The reason I know this to be true is not only because the picture depicts my cousins from Georgia sitting there on the stone dolphin with my sister. It's not that. I don't even know where I was while the picture was being taken. Maybe there wasn't room on the fish or maybe I was too scared to play.
I spoke with my mother's older sister Betty once after my mother died. I asked her why my mother was such a liar, why she did the things she did. My aunt Betty didn't want to talk about it. Instead she said "I wouldn't call your mother a liar. I would just say she embroiders the truth." The thing she did say to me that might have meaning is this "When I came to Massachusetts that time when your momma was in the hospital, you were my little baby. You wanted me to hold you every minute."
So maybe I was in my Aunt Betty's arms while the picture was being taken.
i remembered this day because my mother was in the hospital and everyone was serious. I can remember my mother's oldest brother, my uncle Dick being there at the beach with us. He was wearing what he always wore: white pressed pants, a golf shirt, and white shoes. One of his shoes had a two inch sole. He said it was because he was inured in the war. He might have been teasing me. He seemed to delight in my incessant curiosity with it. According to my mother, my uncle Dick picked favorites and I was one of them. He looked like a Southern gentleman, right out of a Tennessee William's play. His black hair was slicked back and he was handsome. He smelled like aftershave and his wrist watch picked up the light. I remember being there with him on the beach and I can't remember my own feelings but I can recall his seriousness. A feigned lightness for our sake. I knew my mother was in the hospital and Uncle Dick and Aunt Earldine had taken the kids down to the beach. It was a hot, still day and even now days like that make me think of death.