Sylvia Plath ephemera including Girl Scout uniform, paper dolls, childhood ponytail, Fulbright recommendation, selection of final letters. Smithsonian.
This show was heartbreaking in many ways, not least because it provided visceral illustration of an obvious truth: she was young when she died.
Quilt made from 432 Whig ribbons commemorating Harrison campaign, inauguration, and death. By Abigail Ann Lane, c. 1841 / Smithsonian
My mother died just before Thanksgiving two years ago. This is what I wrote when I went home to pick up her ashes: eulogy.
Since her death, I’ve been reeling around the world in shock and pain, pretending that I am fine because that is what she would prefer, unable to look directly at the loss. Without her, I no longer know when daylight savings has happened. I never receive government warnings about destinations Americans should avoid. I have nobody to explain the strange things I find in the family photographs.
She always knew, even when I was thousands of miles away, if I was sick. Without her I forget to go to the doctor, or do routine tumor checks, or take the medicine that keeps me alive.
Above everything else, I have no dependable source of lacerating anger and wit to make even terrible experiences look trivial. I’ve been crying a lot, which she would hate. Growing up, I was never allowed to cry, no matter what happened.
My mother was an extraordinary, powerful, strange person. I miss her more than I could possibly convey.
Today I’m thankful for old friends and young folk.
Guests are arriving!
This week we’re finishing a tile job abandoned 90 years ago, with correct historical materials.
The goal is to make it look the way the original owners intended. Restoration, not renovation.