Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jo Ann Mischler

When I was about 13, with money saved from orchard and bakery work (60 cents an hour, as I recall), I bought my Kokak Panda camera that took square photos, and you looked down into a square viewfinder before taking the photo.  I felt compelled to make "portraits" of a little neighbor girl, Jo Ann Mischler.  I see that in one of the photos I requested that she wear some "cape" over her Hopalong Cassidy sweatshirt.  Her mother lived somewhere else, and she was living two houses away with a Mennonite woman who wore a plain dress, of course, probably fastened with pins, buttons being forbidden, and wearing the standard gauzy white cotton bonnet, strings dangling free.  She was undoubtedly one of the Mennonites whose labors small town citizens could enjoy at minimal wages.  Many years later, I met Jo Ann when she had become a young adult, and she was beautiful and chic, retaining a quick spirit that had appealed to me.  She remembered how being photographed had affected her in some way.    Sadly, I believe she did not live long after that, struck down by some illness.  Click on the photo to expand it -- Isn't that a Mona Lisa smile?:

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