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the Balenciaga ballgown

Just back from the market – the last raspberries, tons of apples, multi-coloured cauliflower, sourdough raison oat bread, freshly roasted almonds, Merchants of Green Coffee beans, spinach – my backpack full. (No meat – I’m going to try to eat even less of it. Thanks, Greta.)

On this most heavenly day. This may be the very best day of the year – bright sun, fresh – because it is probably the last before everything shuts down. The feeder is full, some wonderful bird is twittering madly. Enjoy enjoy my friends.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about young Amelia Purdy, known as Mia, my dear friend Anne-Marie’s daughter who has a photography business on the side, coming to take some headshots of me. I wanted to learn how to pose for the camera, because I regularly look hideous, my face grimacing when I think I’m smiling. I learned to relax my shoulders, to tilt my head, and that I’m better with my mouth closed rather than open.

At the end, before she left, I asked if she’d take a few of me in my ballgown. 20 years ago I walked into the Goodwill on Gerrard Street and there – this moment seared into my memory – on a rack to the right, I saw something glowing dark eggplanty mauve. And then I saw that it was a ballgown, and the tag inside read Balenciaga. I read it again and again – Balenciaga. It was priced at $18. Buying it was, shall we say, an orgasmic experience. I was trembling when I got it home. It fitted me perfectly.

So all these years, I’ve had a Balenciaga ballgown – with a train and a giant bow at the back – hanging in my closet. For awhile I hoped Stephen Spielberg would adapt my Jewish Shakespeare book into a movie – it’d be wonderful, Steve! – and like my neighbour Michael Ondaatje, I’d go to the Oscars. But that does not seem to be happening. I do not seem to be travelling in circles that require a ballgown. But I’ll hang onto it, because YOU NEVER KNOW.

Here are some of Mia’s shots: Lady Sackville, at home, in her Balenciaga. (click to enlarge)

Now to go get some sun.

I asked her to crop one shot.

My New York grandmother’s necklace. My mother’s thin-lipped mouth, my father’s down-sloping eyes, my English grandmother’s narrow shoulder. And yet somehow – moi. (Minus – keep this a secret! – the deep groove between my eyebrows that Mia kindly erased without even being asked.)

PS On last night’s show, Bill Maher offered Trump up to a billion dollars, donated by himself and many other anti-Trump celebrities, if he’d retire. Maher calls his fundraising campaign Prickstarter. I know, dark, but it’s good to laugh. Though he was, in fact, serious. And rightly so.

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4 Responses to “the Balenciaga ballgown”

  1. theresa says:

    The photo at stove — priceless! A keeper. An enlarge and frame and put in entrance hall keeper.

  2. beth says:

    Yes, dear guests, I often scramble the eggs in my Balenciaga… Yes, you're right, Theresa, I should do that. But I don't even know where to get photos printed any more!

  3. theresa says:

    Most pharmacies have the machines that allow you to print from a usb stick. It's easy! Also the Super Store. And probably other places too. It's cheap.

  4. beth says:

    Just sent the shots to the photo store a block away. So, yes, easy, I just haven't done it for years. But now I'll be printing all the time. Merci!

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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