half-mourning

Memory + Anticipation = Joy

June 8, 2017
Joy! Corpus Christi bayfront

Both heart and mind are overflowing in anticipation this week. My bags are on their way to Nantucket, and in just a few days I will be too. Already I am imagining moving into my summer home, debating where to go for lunch Saturday (fried clams or lobster roll?), worship the next day in my summer church, brunch with Nantucket friends and then—two days later—the …

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Whatever Happened to Widow’s Weeds?

February 25, 2016
widow's weeds

A portrait of my great-great-grandmother Aurelia Smith Davis Ripley Smith Woodward hangs in the Cabildo at Jackson Square, New Orleans, part of the Louisiana State Museum collection. Neither Aurelia nor the artist was famous. The primitive painting hangs to illustrate a widow in lavender half-mourning attire in the mid-nineteenth century. Aurelia’s third husband and my great-great-grandfather, the father of her two children, was murdered in …

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