People are strange |

People are strange

The kudos from my two earlier letters continue along with requests for more, so here’s a new one: at the rear of the gallery are some wonderful little photographs by a noted New York photographer.

They’re filled with humor and the joy of life and, in my humble opinion, are quite beautiful. The subjects are women, often in an ensemble though sometimes alone, usually partially nude wearing flamboyant hats, turbans and pearls, and some admirers of the work have said these photos are reminiscent of early 20th century French boudoir cards. To me they’re a gas.

Last week a family enters my little salon; four siblings ranging in ages from 14 to perhaps 19 followed by Mom and Dad. The kids made it to the rear first but had only a moment when the dad, in a hard voice of a master sergeant, loudly proclaimed “everyone with the last name of Duckworth will about-face immediately and leave the store,” which they did, without a moment’s waste. I was at first totally shocked, but then couldn’t stop laughing.

It reminded me in a way of when I was living in Paris in the late ’60s and was befriended and spending a lot of time with students at the Sorbonne from Senegal. It was the time of “black power” in the USA and there were many African-Americans in Paris just then with giant afro hairdos wearing dashikis and extravagant African adornments.

They would approach these students from Senegal with gregarious high fives and loud greetings such as “what’s happening bro?” and the Senegalese who were my friends would often say to me, “Joel, your countrymen are very strange.”

It reminded me of those days in Paris because there was a couple in the gallery from France when the master sergeant and family did their about-face and the astonished look on the faces of the couple said exactly that to me: “Joel, your countrymen are very strange.”

Joel Soroka