"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Tomi Ungerer, My Mother, and A Voyage Across the Atlantic

My daughter has been in Norway this week visiting a college friend.  This visit inspired my mother to pull out her photo album of a trip to Europe that she took after graduating from college in 1955.  In her classic nonchalant fashion, my mother slipped this sentence into one photo's description,

"This is a picture of me on the freighter I took home from Europe with Tomi Ungerer and his photographer friend.  There was also a woman who did yoga and her daughter, but they never came out of their cabin." 


My mother is so funny about these things.  She neglected to ever share that she was on a freighter, crossing the Atlantic, for ten days with Tomi Ungerer.  After I composed myself, she went on to share that given that there were only five passengers on board and two never left their cabin, it left Tomi, his friend and my mother to hang out (for lack of a more formal term) for the ten days. During the voyage, they looked at Tomi's art and gave feedback on the book he was writing, which has to be this one:
Tomi's first book
I grew up on a steady diet of Tomi Ungerer's books.  We owned all the
Mellops books along with Crictor, Adelaide and others. My favorites?

Spelunking is such a great word to know
I checked out Tomi Ungerer's Website and noticed that he came to the United States in 1956.  How cool that my mother was with Tomi Ungerer on this voyage.  He was coming to the United States to embark on a new life.  My mother was returning from eight months in Europe to do the same.

Hearing this story has made me yearn for such an experience. There is a grace to this story and this experience that I think we have lost. More on that for another day.

**That classic nonchalant fashion of my mother's I referred to? While driving back from Montreal and listening to a Leonard Cohen CD, my mother said, "When I knew Lenny in college...."  Yeah....exactly what I was thinking..."You just called Leonard Cohen 'Lenny' and you knew him in college?" #youneverknowaboutyourparents

Happy Saturday evening!

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