Scene4 Magazine: Claudine Jones
Claudine Jones
chocklit Kleen
Scene4 Magazine-inView

December 2011

I forget why, but I did update my passport somewhat recently (oh yeah, went to Guam. Oops, blocked that out) & so had to get a new photo. It has to 'look' like you. No smiling and no scarves or hats either. I took some trouble to appear 'natural'—not to run afoul of the *shudder* TSA—and yet now less than a year later, the hair is not behaving...yag. I know I've said before that with me it's all about the hair, but really. I'm serious.  When you've lost and won roles over how your hair behaves, or come to blows (metaphorically) with directors & had them curse you or bless you based on your hair...well, let's just say...ENOUGH already. It wants to go somewhere expensive & get chemicals applied or maybe just another adjustment in length.  I've already gone on record that I'm done with photographers, so now I'm applying for my visa to India, and of course they want *sigh* more pictures. No glasses, no smile.

You know, I asked my mom a year or so if she could dig out my childhood photo album, the one with all my school class pictures, my blinding almost Scandinavian blonde hair and such, and she said 'O no, no, no, no, I didn't make you an album. You and your brother Phillip have many pictures that never got organized. Your father took so many pictures and you know he left them in boxes and never sorted them. That was like him. Never could organize things.' And I cut her off and said 'Ma, that may be true, but I'm talking about my pictures, you know. The ones you put in the album. The album I used to look at all the time when I was still at home. I showed it to Gary when we started dating. That was 1969. You remember. Of course that was only for serious boyfriends. And then of course your grand kids got to see it, too.' She interrupted with an impatient gesture 'No. No. No. No. I never made you an album. Your father could never organize things and I apologize for not doing it. I did it for your younger brother, but he always absconds with these things. I'm sure he took it from my apartment. He always takes things.' About this time I'm starting to feel a low buzz in the pit of my stomach. All I wanted to do was follow up with the archive contact at my old elementary school in Sacramento and send him a scan of my 6th grade class for his files. Hell, I even wrote the names of my schoolmates on the backs of the pictures—kinda obsessive about that—and I can tell you the names of all my teachers, K-6: Logsden, Bruce, Coons, Fahey, Cussen, Hernandez, Kinney.  Fahey read us Beverly Cleary books and Cussen...well, the less said about her the better. So, yeah, I know I have an album.

Last week I got it in my head that it was time for me and my brothers to get my mom's extra trunk out of her apartment; when we installed the treadmill in there, the trunk suddenly lost its home and had been sitting on top of the heat register in her tiny living room. Not an optimal thing. So I have to admit, I kind of browbeat my brothers into getting this task done. Plan: drag it out of her place over to Tim's house just down the street and then the four of us would go through it. She put a real premium on whatever was in there and I had one last dying chance to see if that was where my photo album had ended up.

Now, I have to say, the jump-start or maybe it was the addendum to this may have been Thanksgiving or it may have been Tim's latest foray into Genealogy. I'll guess the latter, cause he did call me this week with great excitement to fill me in on a flurry of new information he'd come up with on the paternal side of our family tree.  Seems the old rumor that Great-great grandpa Jones was really a German immigrant who changed his name from Johanns was formally debunked. In the depths of various branches of descendants, somebody on a Genealogy website posted a collection of photographs of their own family and lo & behold, there was Grandpa & Grandma's wedding picture, circa 1858, same picture Tim had in his file of the pictures he'd pilfered from our mother.  The dude's name was clearly not Johanns, since this group of cousins we've never met also had Grandpa's line going back another five generations, all with the name Jones. OMG. Not 1/8 German after all! Seems we're Welsh. My Delilah, hello Cousin Tom! As a sort of side awesomeness, Grandpa's wife Susan appears to have been part Cherokee. Coolness.

Well, the plan was to deal with the Trunk in short order, but as the fates would have it, the old issues of Life Magazine my mother referred to as part of this treasure trove, weighed—hazard a guess here—upwards of 175 lbs. That trunk was not going anywhere. It somehow escaped everybody's notice that it was my muscled 32 year old son & his hulking buddy that dealt with the Treadmill/Trunk move. Us old hippies have passed our prime you might say. This definitely made examination less than optimal because of the cramped environment of the apartment, which is pretty literally paved with furniture (hence the exit of the trunk) and, here's the rub: the history of the four of us being there for any reason, up to and including extracting our mother for medical reasons, has always been fraught. And I had had this primal thought that I could just check & see if the one item that I wanted was there and then leave (hahaha).

This is where the camera pans or pulls out to a long shot, or even better maybe zooms in upon the face of my mother's goateed father, carved, in late 19th C. France, into a piece of walnut as part of a modest wall shelf. He watches. His descendants maul each other for three hours.

And I find my album.

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©2011 Claudine Jones
©2011 Publication Scene4 Magazine

Like an orthopedic soprano, Actor/Singer/Dancer Claudine Jones has worked steadily in Bay Area joints for a number of decades. With her co-conspirator Jaz Bonhooley, she also has developed unique sound designs for local venues. She's also a Senior Writer and columnist for Scene4.
For more of her commentary and articles, check the Archives


Scene4 Magazine - Arts and Media

December 2011

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