The sculpture Ayse by Belgin Yucelen. Ayse lives in a plexiglass display box in the Denver airport. According to the Urban Dictionary, Ayse is a Turkish female name meaning “she whom must be obeyed.” Somehow that’s not what I’m getting from this sculpture.
As soon as I post this I’m headed back home to Montana after spending two weeks in Wichita, first attending my father’s funeral and then attending to his affairs and moving my mother into a very nice duplex in the independent living section of a retirement community. Yesterday the last of the household goods she did not move were hauled away from the old house and I put it on the market. There is nothing special about this house, or this story for that matter; it’s repeated every day, everywhere. Except that for me it is special, as your own (perhaps equally unremarkable story) is to you. My parents lived in this house just a few weeks short of 50 years, and I, along with my two brothers and sister, spent most of my youth there. Short of Leave it to Beaver or Father Knows Best, life in this house in the 60s was as quintessentially American as you could get at the time. Today, for better or for worse, the American Dream has moved on I think (or at least fractured into many different dreams compared to 50 years ago). And my family has moved on too, for better or for worse.
This junkyard scene reminded me of a line from an old comedy skit from the 70s, I think by the Firesign Theater. In the skit some immigrants from Europe coming over on a boat to the U.S. are chatting about their hopes and dreams for their new lives in America. One says something about working hard and putting his kids through college; another says his dream was to start his own business and make it grow. The third replies “…and I can’t wait to put a ’54 Chevy up on blocks in my front yard.” Or at least that’s how I remember the skit several decades later. Anyway, there are obviously a lot of dimensions to the American Dream.
A number of years ago I took a photo of an old American flag hanging in a cabin window in the ghost town of Cherry Creek Nevada (you can see it here). I called it Patriot’s Dream, a title which has generated a number of interpretations. Since then I’ve gradually been collecting other photos of real and painted American flags, generally derelict looking and/or in unusual locations. So, I’m starting a series using the Patriot’s Dream title and will post some of the more recent ones as POTDs over the next few days. Most if not all of the recent photos of flags I’ve converted to black and white images, although I’m not sure that’s the best way to present them since the colors of the flag are so important. Any comments on the pros and cons or the relative impact of black and white vs. color American flag photos are welcome.