|Totem. Rockport, Massachusetts. Photo by Bruce Barone.|
All through the night I contemplated the marriage of image and words. And today I continue along this path; meditating on my voice.
|Sunrise at Rockport, Massachusetts. Photo by Bruce Barone.|
The apartment was stale, lifeless and the Jade plant in my Dad’s bedroom sagged from forty years of growth, dry in the sun. I stood there and I stared out the window at The George Washington Bridge and the Jade plant stood there, too; stories I knew she would share with me when she was ready to speak–family stories.
|The George Washington Bridge. Photo by Bruce Barone.|
First I walked from room to room in my Dad’s apartment. Bathroom. Bedroom. Guest Room. Living Room. Dining Room. Kitchen. Bedroom. Guest Room. Living Room. Kitchen. Balcony. The apartment was eerily empty of life: much of the furniture had already been taken by relatives, the hundreds of family photographs gone, the kitchen cabinets bare; strangely, the only room with some sense of normality, of life, was my Dad’s bedroom (My nephew Craig had not yet come for the bedroom furniture.). I had not yet begun to pack but I was already feeling emotionally drained.
The first thing I packed were the Martini glasses and Red Wine goblets. My Dad, as I said, appreciated a good drink and a fine wine and I think this was where I should have started and I did. Of course, I would have poured a drink then and there but it was not yet noon and all the wine and liquor had already been divided up among my siblings and I three short weeks ago. Next I packed the china. Place-settings for twelve. White and perfect. Dinner Plates. Soup Bowls. Salad Plates. Coffee cups and saucers. Platters. Bowls. And then I packed the silverware, and the vases, and the candlestick holders. I packed three boxes of glasses, dishes and silverware for my children, Danielle and Daryl.
And then I packed the car and I had room for one or two more items. I went back to my Dad’s apartment; 15J in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Funny: six or seven years ago when I was selling printing and commuting to NYC from Western Massachusetts and spending one or two nights a week with my Dad, I went the 17th Floor, Apartment J, opened the door and thought “Oh My God. Dad has totally remodeled his apartment!” One or two seconds later, I realized I was in the wrong apartment, quietly closed the door, and went to Apartment 15J. “Bruce,” my Dad said. “You look tired. Put your briefcase and camera down. I’ll make you a drink.”
And that’s the way it was–always. I would arrive at his apartment around seven at night after a day in the city (or he would pick me up at the Ferry Terminal), we would have drinks, watch FoodTV (usually Mario Batali or Sara Moulton), and then go to The Big Red Tomato for dinner (where we were treated like kings; the brother and sister owners, Vincent and Carmella, and the waitstaff knew us very well–we had been eating there at least once a week for five or six years; ah the stories we shared). We would bring a bottle of red and unwind. Father and Son. Sometimes, I would ask a waitress to come outside with me so I could photograph her. Sometimes, I photographed people at their tables.
looking through a cookbook of my dad’s
and clipped recipes marked recipes in
the book and he had marked “meatballs.”
And this his favorite (“Dad,” I said, “How
come you never order something else?”)
Orecchiette Con Broccoli Di Raba. Or
Broccoli Di Rapa Affogati. They are both
clearly marked in “Naples At Table,” a book
he was happy to share one night with me:
“Look,” he said, “Arthur Schwartz wrote
this book.” Tomorrow I will make
Pasta E Lenticchie. I wonder which of
these he may have made (knowing how
difficult it can be to cook for one–yet
I can hear him say “Tonight
I am making Meatloaf. Tonight I am
making Salmon. Tonight
|Meatballs from Bruce’s Kitchen. Photo by Bruce Barone.|