Ruth A. Keitz

Maye in Mexico
mixed media
3.25 x 7.75 x 4.5 in.

“Maye.” Imagine the psychological rape done to her when bits and pieces of her private self were sold in a bundle to me, a person so uncompromising as to pick her remnants from among other caches.

Packets of photographs, postcards, and letters purchased in bundles at a collectibles store gave me a partial view of another person’s life from another time and another place. That which was personal and private fell into the hands of a stranger.

Who made the decision to dispose of such private memorabilia in such a public, crude, and impersonal manner? Did the sender or the recipient, the main character or the other players consider the fate of their lives’ events? Did anyone at any time consider the possibility of destroying the bundles? Were the bundles the hidden contents of some larger piece that had monetary value: a chest of drawers, a desk, a decorative box?

Did no one care about her trip to the Hotel Los Flamingos? Did no one cry for Maye? Did no one grieve for her passing? For some mystical, inexplicable reason, I cared. I found it troubling to think that the memory and cherishing of some departed soul was left to a random stranger and not a loved one. Having become the guardian of a stranger’s remembrance, I decided to open that window into Maye’s private life and give it some sense of structure, meaning, and respect. I gathered her memorabilia and enshrined them in a new home.

© Ruth A. Keitz