Winter in My Childhood Backyard (Accompanied by Barbra Streisand)


A coupe of years ago, while I was working on the Bardo: A Dream Surreal project, I spent the night at my childhood home. My parents were away for the weekend – this was before the twins arrived and they still got away for weekends. The day was cold, and I stopped by my brother’s house to say hello and get sundaes from Fariello’s. When I returned to the house, it was already dark. I shot a few photos for the project – a candelabra was involved, throwing flickering shadows down the hallway and up the stairs. Had I not grown up in the house, I would have been rather frightened by being there alone. As it was, I knew it well, but there is still something scary about being in a house all alone on a cold night in January.

I turned on the television. ‘The Way We Were’ was just starting. Now, gay men of a certain age please turn away, I’ve never been a big Barbra Streisand fan. I’m just not. Yes, she can sing, yes, she can act, yes, she can direct. I’m simply not impressed by much of it. That said, many people have told me that I just need to sit through one of her movies to witness the magic. While I could admit a certain fondness for ‘Funny Girl’ (mostly because of the costumes and that train case), that’s where my time with Ms. Streisand ended.

Yet on this lonely night, when the cold threatened to drive me under the covers and into the darkness, I threw myself onto my parents’ bed and watched the story starring Ms. Streisand and a very youthful Robert Redford unfold. Circumstances and surroundings conspired to put me in the perfect mood for this movie, and I must confess to being moved by it, and some of the music. It took me out of the darkness and into another world, the way only the best movies manage to do. I forgot about any fear in my heart, or anything lurking in the rest of the dark house, and I followed these two characters as they made their way to California and back.

I went to bed comforted, and content. Snow fell during the night, muffling the house from any outside noise. I awoke and shoveled the driveway quickly, then went back to my own home.

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