My great aunt Mary Magdalene Horton Baker was a hoot. She was divorced young and never re-married or had children of her own. My father, uncle and cousin were HER children, of sorts, but mostly it was ME. She was a leather-tanned wild woman with bleached hair, skin-tight jeans and a bikini top well into her 60s. She was the life of EVERY party, and EVERYONE was invited. I remember the devilish smile and the pooh-poohing of the convention espoused by all the other adults in my life.
So, as a kid in our family, all I really wanted to do was wait until she got off the swing shift to pick me up at midnight in her convertible with the leopard seat covers. We would make our way to her feather painted bedroom & climb into her bed with the red velvet headboard & watch the then, new-fangled “cable TV” & eat cocktail shrimp out of the can.
In July 2005, Maggie B. died of acute respiratory failure due to a 3-year battle with emphysema. She was a social smoker for 60+years but never seemed to have a health concerns. Then at 78 her body just stopped co-operating & said “Enough” despite the fact that she wasn’t done living. I love her so much. This is a pic of her (late-1970s) at approx. 55 years old.
The piece inspired by this photograph is entitled “Bated Breath,” and the show of which it is a part, Do I Know You? opens in July of 2014 at The Balcony Gallery at The Emporium Center in Knoxville, TN.