Photo Essay

She (Trail of Tears)

The Tears of a Clown

Her face revealed the 'wear and tear' of the many years associated with the hardships connected to enduring a lifetime of poverty. The clothes on her back were raggedy and slightly worn, and all that She had had to show--from this--seemingly-endless--journey on the 'dusty-trails' of this metropolitan, inner-city.

Since upon her arrival in NYC, (Post WW II) this 'child of the West' had struggled daily to survive. She, eventually learned to accept that this type of meager existence would quickly become a redundant and perpetual 'full-time job'--a life that would pay little in return.

Having had no formal schooling and/or vocational training, (therefore, no way of securing or procuring any form of predictably-reliable income) this young woman--from Oklahoma--honed-in on an already ingrained habit of rising each morning (much earlier than the sun dare) in order to seek out discarded scraps of food--sometimes even stealing just enough to keep from starving. Her family of origin 'sold-her-short' on having any real potential at having a successful life; not long after her arrival in the 'East' (dreams in hand), She...became willing to circum to the same self-destructive and imposed belief.

New York City (the only real family she'd ever come to really understand and know) is where She continued viewing herself in the same way as her distant family in the West--maintaining the role of the unwanted and unloved stepchild of socially-discarded sharecroppers. Even though the time and place had changed, the Depression Era followed her; however, the main difference being: here, She could 'trade-in' what little faith and hope that still lingered from her journey. Now all that was afforded her was the same hardened-complacency that had controlled, trapped, and encapsulated her --for more than half a century. In the most desperate of times--early on—She, ran out of heart and soul to sell, and there was no other recourse--in her weary mind--to do much the same with her body. It was within these boundaries that She decided to exist--but not live. She, brought with her...her own 'Trail of Tears'.

James Harmon McQuilkin C 2009

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5 responses

  • Roxana Brivent-Barnes

    Roxana Brivent-Barnes said (2 Nov 2010):

    Wonderful depicted story, the images are outstanding!

  • Roxana Brivent-Barnes

    Roxana Brivent-Barnes said (28 May 2011):

    I read it again, God, you are a story teller!

  • Michele Wambaugh

    Michele Wambaugh (Deleted) said (15 Nov 2012):

    WONDERFUL !!!!

  • Bailey Cooper

    Bailey Cooper gave props (16 Jan 2013):

    Yes James... funny how we think alike. I understand this story.

  • Andrew Dutton

    Andrew Dutton (Deleted) gave props (18 Jan 2013):

    Heartfelt story, haunting photos trigger the imagination...gets my vote...great work!

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