The Past is a Foreign Country…

…They do things differently there.*

In this particular province of the past, Dymphna smokes a cigarette. Indoors. And in an art gallery, no less.

Those were different times. The poets studied rules of verse, and all the ladies rolled their eyes.

Our Russian commenter Elena requested that I post a photo of Dymphna when she was young. This is among the best from those early years. It was taken in 1982, when she was in her early forties, at the opening for one of my art shows in Washington D.C.

The photo of Dymphna holding the puppy (posted here) remains my overall favorite, but this one is a close second.

* L. P. Hartley, from The Go-Between

19 thoughts on “The Past is a Foreign Country…

  1. In 1982, I turned 12 years old. I think I liked Walter Scott then.
    In Russia, too, we have complete madness with cigarettes – the media irritated the population for several weeks, saying that they would legally ban smoking on balconies, but they did not.
    I increasingly recall the Daniel F. Galouye Simulacron-3 book (1964). There, just this detail is mentioned.

    • and was 29 with the bottom of the construction services market falling out from beneath me.
      Dymphna looks to me to be a rather stern Southern woman of Irish extraction. Do you have a photo of her smiling?

      • The one of her holding the puppy, click the link.

        She was just stressed. Both of us were. Openings were like that.

  2. You have beautiful memories, life full of experience(s), your voice is being heard: despite of all the current adversities: great life, Sir.

  3. 1982 was my favorite year. Everything about it was perfect. Vicious geopolitics, exploding art, music and pop culture. Superb fashion. Real men and women. The climax of the analogue world. An optimal mix of old school and modernization. Moderate digitalization.

    I toast my gin and tonic to you Sir and to this superb woman you so aptly have rendered in her glory and so gently honor in her memory.

  4. The photo shows what she had a fighting spirit. Such a woman is difficult to break the blows of fate. All the more surprising was the gentleness of her last comments.

  5. I was 12 years old too. As you write, a different world. In my memory, my Yorkshire home was very stable, very traditional, rather harsh, very northern English.

    • At that time, my father served in the North Caucasus. We lived in a garrison, but we were taken to a local school. It was then that I realized that I did not like Muslim and Asian men.

  6. I was a sophomore in college. It was the year Princess Grace died. Dymphna looks a tad forbidding, but cool at the same time, like Kay Thomson. Remember her?

    By the way, WHAT art show? You’re an artist TOO??? Is there no end to your talents and interests?

  7. Yesterday When I Was Young by Charles Aznavour

    Yesterday, when I was young
    The taste of life was sweet as rain upon my tongue
    I teased at life as if it were a foolish game
    The way the evening breeze may tease a candle flame

    Yesterday, when I was young
    So many happy songs were waiting to be sung
    So many wayward pleasures lay in store for me
    And so much pain my dazzled eyes refused to see

    Yesterday, the moon was blue
    And every crazy day brought something new to do
    I used my magic age as if it were a wand
    And never saw the waste and emptiness beyond

    There are so many songs in me that won’t be sung
    I feel the bitter taste of tears upon my tongue
    The time has come for me to pay for
    Yesterday when I was young…

  8. How I wish I could have met her- she looks so intent, so intelligent. One just knows that her mind would be piercingly incisive. No fooling this woman!

    In the early 1980’s here in Ontario we were in the depths of a recession – businesses were going bankrupt, farmers were losing old family farms, interest was over 20%. But although our family business was hard hit, I remember going to the Buckhorn Wildlife Art Festival every August. Art can take us away from our daily troubles.

    Would like to see your art again, Baron. I believe you gave us a taste of it once. Please show us again.

  9. Wow! What a model she would have made for a portrait painter. Beauty, intensity, character, and sensitivity. To me she doesn’t look stern at all, just attentive.

    Did you ever draw her?

    This song (“Baby will you marry me”) is actually a belated response to the earlier post you wrote about how you two met. I thought it suited the touching story:

    The Icelandic singer Svavar Knútur creates such a soothing atmosphere. For anyone who needs balm to the heart, ears and eyes I recommend his morning song in his native tongue and landscape:

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