What do you wear when you travel? If you're a kid, red velour and jumpsuits.
I'm here (in velour) with my parents and cousin at Chiang Kai-Shek International, Taipei. I love that my mom's silky blouse has a matching triangle scarf. She looks harried but happy handling us kids. My dad is more relaxed in a blazer and blue plaid socks. My parents' generation seemed to believe in dressing up they traveled. It was a privilege to fly when they were young. No All You Can Jet Blue deals or sweats on a plane back then.
It first occurred to me to recreate our family photos when I got back from Disneyworld, Orlando earlier this year and found photos of my dad there. I had always assumed his photos to be of Disneyland, Anaheim because that's the Disneyland of choice if you're from LA. I looked closer and confirmed that it was indeed Disneyworld, Orlando from this view (below) from the Monorail. I remember seeing the Magic Castle from this angle too.
I also found images of my dad in front of a Florida country club and a model home. I'm don't know how people he was travelling with (at least one since someone had to take his mug) or the purpose of his trip, but he never told me he went to the other Disneyland. Being a Disneyland freak as a kid I would have loved to have known.
I knew my dad was well travelled. But I never paid attention to where he'd been until I started seeing the world for myself.
The following time travel experiment was not intentionally recreated to match the past. But like the photos of Venice, they happened to be very similar.
Disneyworld seems to be the place for time travel. I was able to gaze into the future. From the top of the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse I could see the skyline of Tomorrowland!
Portrait of my mother's hands. I found them in her passport wallet.
She didn't plan on shooting from the hip. My mother was always conscious of being photogenic, so this is a rare instance where I get to see beyond the practiced pose. Above the frame I know she is holding a smile for her new passport picture.
In the first frame her hands are clenched and her is body tense. In the second she shifts and weaves her hands together. In the third she begins to relax, letting her hands lower. She's getting the hang of photoboothing.
The second time around she's perfected the look. She's able to create three identical portraits.
Incidentally, I came across the exact outfit she was wearing in the photobooth pictures. She hung the rose printed striped top and matching skirt together with the belt, as if she had just taken it off. She did that with outfits she liked. Notice all three pieces in the hands portrait.
I found a box of Chinese wusha (martial arts) TV melodramas on VHS, including "The New Heaven Sword And The Dragon Sabre." It's the same genre as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon-- period piece where people in drapey clothes fly through the bamboo forests and over pagodas. But since TV melodramas are low budget, you can actually see the stunt strings when they're flying.
My parents weren't addicted to soaps and mahjong like most Chinese parents. But they casually partook.
When I was growing up, Chinese who didn't live near a Chinese video store would rent them on their weekly grocery and dim sum trip to Alhambra. We usually went on Sundays. It was the day to stock up on all things from the Motherland (or island).
"The New Heaven Sword And The Dragon Sabre" tapes are a decade and a half overdue. Apologies to Chiao Sheng Video of Santa Ana.
Why have one when you can buy two for cheap?
"If it's on sale, it's a crime not to buy," my mom would say. She'd say it in Chinese which made it sound Confucian and full of authority. If she liked something, she'd buy it every color and size. She'd even buy different sizes for those fat versus skinny days.
"Who knows when you'll see it again for that price?" She applied her rule of multiples to all things-- appliances, clothes, TVs, even cars. We have two identical Honda Accords in different colors.
I've always been against buying multiples. I like having one of everything as opposed to twenty of one thing. The repetition seems boring and you don't get to sample.
But after much excavating, I keep finding the same things. I take comfort in knowing that people in the end are consistant and it shows in their tastes. There seems to be a rhythm in the things that emerge. First I'll find loose coins, followed by rayon dresses, then grandmother's paintings, stereo equipment, and back to the coins again. It's a rhythm that is the distinct sound of my family.
For your enjoyment, here are some recently discovered clothing multiples.
It would be a crime not to buy more than one leopard print lapel jacket.
It would be a crime not to buy more than one red dress with gold buttons... and two Honda Accords.
It would be a crime not to buy more than one pastel, off the shoulder Easter Sunday dress, especially if they have giant white bows on the back zipper! Undo the bow, and me and Kozy are Easter presents.
It would be a crime not to buy more than one jewel toned dress made of thick curtain material.
These look like separates, right? The top and skirt are attached! Kozy and Geneva look like tortured bridesmaids here.
This yellow number could be my wedding suit. It's also a one piece! I could have a ceremony in my driveway and the whole affair could be wardrobed by the Infinite Garage. Also, I'm wearing Chanel shoes which I also found in the garage a few years back. Yes, the garage spits out CHANEL!
If anyone wants to outfit their wedding in these dresses, please let me know.
More photos from the recent excavation on Flickr.