I originally wanted to use this picture of my mother graduating junior high school as the cover for the book A Girl from the Hill. But technically it’s too small to use – if expanded it will lose its focus and become blurry. I may use a group shot from my mother’s class pic with her picture circled on the front cover instead.
I need for people to see this close up though. It’s the only childhood picture I have of my mother.
Looking at that 13-year-old face today, I see such a pretty girl. Even though she is dark-eyed and olive-skinned, I can so see the roundness of her face being like that of my sister Donna, who is fair and blue-eyed like the Testa side of the family. I definitely get my deep-set eyes from my mother, while my sister Maree has that same wide-bottomed roundness to her eyes.
Dahlia looks like she was probably a good girl, and obedient, for the most part. Something about her expression though, not exactly a smile or smirk, but something that looks like she’s trying to act serious, but it’s a bit of a stretch for her. How true.
As a girl, I remember pulling the large scroll of her junior high class out of the bottom drawer of our dining room buffet on Greenville Avenue. That’s where my mother kept all of the family pictures. I used to unroll it and look at all the girls and try to pick out my mother. The others girls looked so severe to me in comparison. I didn’t think she belonged with such a tough crowd.
Back then it was easy to find her because she looked like the prettiest to me. It was hard for me to comprehend that this was the same person in the kitchen with her “lasagna sweater” on.
What is a lasagna sweater, you may ask? My sister Donna and I remember the white fuzzy cowl neck sweater with the plaid trim around the top and bottom, that our mother always seemed to have on when getting ready to prepare one of her giant lasagnas that could feed thousands. Thus the lasagna sweater was born.
She still had that round face, the thin lips, the serious, and the not too serious smirk. At 88 and a half she’s still smirking. And still a very pretty girl.