Wednesday, January 21, 2009
When Bob gave my number to Dell Warner, a woman who wanted someone with heart willing to take a few photos for her, neither of us knew what I was getting into. What became a "few shots" became daily early morning phone calls, meetings with guys she wanted to hook me up with and a glimpse into someone who just wanted to tell every story she could and was honestly pissed off that she had cancer and her life had was expiring. She passed away today.
Here are some of my memories:
She hated the Russians in her building. "They're mean, they don't smile, they don't know art, why don't they learn English for goodness sake?"
On buttoning up her shirt before i photographed her: "Oh sure, deny me my sexuality"
On family "my sons sold my Peter Max, took my grand piano, through me in this hell-hole and tried to kill my dogs..."
On her emmys: "See those? I love awards, and that way you know you're not talking to a kook!"
Her cane: "i hate it"
Her help: "stupid"
Often you avoid the loudest, seemingly most difficult senior in the room, but Dell would not be ignored, she knew she was going down, and she wasn't going quietly. It was a characteristic i was fond of at times, i little taken aback at others. But still, you always knew where you stood with her, and i'm glad i got to stand by her for a while.
I still have a message from her on my phone (during our time together, June through Dec. she'd left a few like this): "Elizabeth, it's Dell, i'm not able to reach anyone, there's something about being walled off from the world, please, please i'm not crazy, i'm not crazy, , please, PLEASE don't think i'm crazy, PLEASE believe me, any how please in touch somehow, i love you, i've been sick since an infusion of fluids and since then my life has been hell, please, please help me, please God help me..." I pray he has and she has found peace...