I think that this photo was taken sometime in the late 40’s in the Bronx. The women are from left to right: my grandmother Anna, her neighbor and best friend Angie, my father’s sister Antoinette or Gigi (as my grandmother called her), my grandmother’s younger sister Ida and Angie’s other daughter Carolyn. Angie’s family lived upstairs in the same apartment building as my father’s family. Angie and Anna were so close that their families did everything together. Everyone always thought that they were related. It’s funny but I can see a resemblence in all of their faces anyway. My dad always talks about how they would go up to Angie’s apartment before and after school because my grandmother had a job as a seamstress. Angie also worked, she took in sewing piece work and all the kids pitched in to help her get it done. I’ve always loved the expressions on everyone’s faces in the picture. The two mothers look so strong and confident in their bold print dresses.
My grandmother died sometime in the early 80’s. She had beaten breast cancer and was in remission but then developed pneumonia and refused to let anyone take her to the doctor until it was too late. She was stubborn to the very end. Angie and Carolyn both died when I was still a little girl. My great aunt Ida passed away just over 10 years ago. She lived in Queens with the last in a series of younger South American women who were combination roomate, companion and in the end caretaker. Aunt Ida was married once but when her marriage fell apart she never found another husband though not for lack of trying. When I was very young I remember her mod clothes, pearly eyeshadow and orange hairdo. She was the one who bought me Barbie dolls and when I was in college sewed me a lovely tailored blouse out of the blue. My Aunt Ann lives in Connecticut with my Uncle Tommy. Her two children were 10 years older than me and my brother and I went between wanting to marry my cousin Steven and wanting to be my cousin Laura whom I idolized. Nettie and her husband Pierre came to my wedding six years ago and I haven’t heard from them since.