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Writing Challenge: The Lady In Blue…

24/01/2013

God may be in the details, but the goddess is in the questions. Once we begin to ask them, there’s no turning back.” Gloria Steinem

Writing Challenge: The Lady In Blue...

Writing Challenge: The Lady In Blue…

I like to take long walks on the aqueduct and sometimes by the Hudson River. Usually, I take my camera and take random shots of birds, flora, the river, pebbles and even the Tappan Zee bridge. Last week, I drove to the water front, parked my car, grabbed my camera and headed for the quiet pathway.

Writing Challenge: The Lady In Blue...

Writing Challenge: The Lady In Blue…

About thirty minutes later or so, a huge white stretch limo pulled up and out hopped five young men in black pants,waistcoats and electric blue shirts. I assumed they were headed for the condo building by the river and turned back to my task.  But then, I heard applause… Turning back, my gaze registered  a beautiful young woman, petite, jet black hair, confident carriage and a coy smile… dressed in an elegant blue ballgown with a white fur shrug/bolero jacket draped over her shoulders. The young men circled her, cackling, flirting and teasing her. She was game and flirted back. There was an electricity in the air; the quiet mood of the pathway suddenly elevated by this party of eight.

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” John Wooden

Writing Challenge: The Lady In Blue...

Writing Challenge: The Lady In Blue…

The Lady in Blue, very much a modern day Princess Blue, picked up the bottom of her long full gown, flicked her head back in that defiant way only actresses and models seem able to do well, paused for a moment and then with her five handsome escorts and two photographers in tow, headed for the river for a photo shoot. I watched them closely as they posed, strutted and twirled, moving from one end of the pathway, facing the Tappan Zee Bridge, to the other end, facing the lighthouse.

Writing Challenge: The Lady In Blue...

Writing Challenge: The Lady In Blue…

The photographers took turns instructing their young charges on the next pose; one minute it was the sophisticated princess look, the next the playful Lolita with a few gangsta gestures tossed into the mix… Something drew me in and it didn’t take long before, I too, like one or two other gawkers on the trail, followed the group from spot to spot, camera ready, taking shots like a stalking paparazzi; pretending to be a fashion photog for ___  Soon, I was channeling my inner Annie Leibovitz, albeit without the sophisticated equipment, and lighting staff to boot. More below!

“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.” William Morris

Writing Challenge: The Lady In Blue...

Writing Challenge: The Lady In Blue…

From what I heard others saying, this was a coming of age outing, a Quincenera, a celebration of the transition from child to young adult; and a time fraught with experimentation and exuberance. But she seemed tougher than that, mature in the way she dealt with the young men gushing over her. At one point, emboldened by the excitement of it all, I suggested (imagine the audacity) the photographers let her keep her jacket on and face the river… after all, it was quite cold out. They agreed!

An hour later, the photo shoot was over and they gathered together to leave. As she walked by me, I asked, “What are we celebrating…?” She smiled at me and said in a strong voice with a hint of Spanish, “My Sweet fifteen!” I congratulated her.  With that last comment playing over and over in my head,  I took a last shot of her and her well dressed entourage, and then stood there watching them as they strolled back to the stretch limo and drove off, probably to a party somewhere in town. I replayed the whole scene in my head, remembering my own youth. God bless her heart lucky lady… I never had a sweet fifteen. Darn it!  God was in the details. Stay Inspired. Have a blessed day and thank you for stopping by! :-)

*Please bear with me as I continue to catch up on your blogs. Thank you all for your patience! :-)

Happy 2013! This post was inspired by a prompt from WP Daily Post: Writing Challenge: The Devil is in the Details Your challenge this week is to practice your powers of observation. Take any person, place, or event, and write three paragraphs describing your subject in great detail. Here are three scenes to get you thinking — feel welcome to choose one or more of these scenes and riff off of it, or create your own:A woman walks into a restaurant. Imagine this scene and capture every detail you can in a few paragraphs. Describe the woman: is she old, young, or in-between? What type of restaurant is it: fancy, casual, or a diner? What is she doing? Pack as much detail as you can into a few paragraphs that will help us imagine this woman clearly

Positive Motivation Tip: Jump into each day with a spirit of adventure… Celebrate all your years and create new memories where none exists.  LIVE! :-)

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos: From my Personal Collection

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

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40 Comments leave one →
  1. 24/01/2013 8:33 pm

    i loved the chica in blue even before i read the story!!! well written, and a great story! sweet fifteen – yes, some families go to great expense for those debut cumpleanos celebrations!

    • 27/01/2013 2:34 pm

      TY and I knew you’d love this one as you love the great culture and tradition behind it. I was so taken by the whole experience… It was beautiful and you know, it would be wonderful if all girls could be applauded in the same way. :-)

    • 28/01/2013 12:52 pm

      TY and I still wonder what the greater message of it is… TY! :-)

  2. 24/01/2013 9:00 pm

    What a refreshing post, Eliz…great photos…and so interesting that people would hire a stretch limo and do a photo shoot for reaching age 15. Glad you were there to take these shots.:)

    • 27/01/2013 2:36 pm

      TY Vivian and I have to confess that I have a lot more photos of the shoot but used just the ones I did, out of respect. It was wonderful to share a little bit of the joy and fun they had… :-)

  3. 24/01/2013 9:07 pm

    A debut, coming of age, just like the Southeners. What a detailed prompt, hope you win the challenge, Eliz.

    • 27/01/2013 2:40 pm

      TY Seeker! I appreciate your comment… I didn’t know we were winning stuff… Where’s the money? :lol:

  4. 24/01/2013 9:15 pm

    Love this! The first pic especially!

    • 27/01/2013 2:43 pm

      TY Carla and I really have to take credit for it as I jumped in and opened my big mouth when they were taking shots on that deck, and encouraged the photographers to take a shot like that… They looked at me and smiled and then did it… I was like WoW, maybe I really missed my calling as a fashion photog… Oy! :lol:

  5. 24/01/2013 9:30 pm

    Lucky girl :-) That first shot is evocative of a fairy tale Eliz!

    • 27/01/2013 2:44 pm

      TY and a beautiful one at that… It touched me in many ways Madhu. :-)

  6. 25/01/2013 12:04 am

    Agree with that John Wooden quote.
    Small things makes the bigger things happen
    both when things go wrong and when they grow into huge successes.. :-)

  7. 25/01/2013 12:15 am

    Goodness, it was a great opportunity for you to come across, you did a good job and I like the way you directed proceedings to get the photo you wanted!
    I find the idea of a sweet 16 bad enough but now it’s 15? where will it end? I’I’ve seen a TV show called My Sweet Sixteen and its all about parties that cost enough to – I don’t know, provide shelter for a homeless person for years? It seems to put pressure on families and some of these young people are so precocious it’s scary. I guess I’m just a party pooper. A thought provoking post Eliz!

    • 27/01/2013 2:49 pm

      TY Gilly! The Sweet Sixteen show was incredible. I watched it too… This is different. This is a right of passage, a coming of age and it is part of the culture of honoring young women… Also, many families get sponsors to help defray the cost of the Sweet 15 event. The other one was excess and extravagant spending to compete with others… so, so different. TY! :-)

  8. 25/01/2013 2:38 am

    Well, I enjoyed that and was reading along at a rollicking pace as you do until I got to the end. “15”. I thought she was at least in her twenties and some sort of super model. At 15 I was still fishing by the river bank and dreaming of being a footballer.

    • 27/01/2013 2:50 pm

      Oh you crack me up Peter! I wish I had a coming of age party like this too… Oh well! At 15, I was still thinking of escaping to hang out with my friends… Typical teen stuff. :-)

  9. 25/01/2013 3:23 am

    Great story and amazing pictures. I’ve heard of those Sweet Fifteen celebrations, but never witnessed one. Quinceanera? Quinceanella? Fun.

    • 27/01/2013 2:52 pm

      TY for giving me the name of the tradition… I loved being able to watch and participate ( a little) in the shoot. :-)

  10. 25/01/2013 9:33 am

    Some of these coming of age events make me crazy. Not to be a curmudgeon but the money spent is ludicrous, and often more than the families can afford.
    The photos are very cool Elizabeth, sorry about the rant.
    b

    • 27/01/2013 2:54 pm

      TY Barb! I read somewhere that the families don’t pay for it all but get sponsors to defray the costs, and make it a community event… So that is not bad then. I hear you… TY! :-)

  11. 25/01/2013 2:13 pm

    I love the photo of her looking over the bridge…what an amazing thing to go to such lengths for…we just had a cake

    • 27/01/2013 2:56 pm

      TY Jo! it was delightful to watch I promise… You had cake? That’s a great start too… I had nada . :lol:

  12. 25/01/2013 2:26 pm

    Sweet 15! Just 49 years ago. Thanks for reminding me. (smile)

  13. Papizilla permalink
    25/01/2013 4:00 pm

    Quincenera is the celebration of the 15th birthday in the Hispanic world. I have been to a number of these, it is a “coming out” party, or a presenting the girl to the world as a lady. Huge tradition that they take very seriously. The ones I have been to have cost as much as weddings. I have another few years to save up for my daughters Quince(as they call it) ;) and to learn how to dance appropriately. Maybe I will just hire a dance stand in……

    • 27/01/2013 3:01 pm

      TY for sharing this vital bit of information because it makes it even more meaningful to read about its cultural importance to families who celebrate it. I loved watching the shoot, and I send you best wishes for your daughter’s … I feel it is a blessing to be honored by your family and community in that way… I think that not enough is done for our youth as they come of age. TY! :-)

  14. 26/01/2013 8:37 am

    Looks like you had lots of fun doing this post :)
    I have taken the cue and have tried my hands at describing my observations of a person from my life.

    • 27/01/2013 3:03 pm

      Great Amira! I will stop by to enjoy your observations soon. TY for your patience with my effort! :-)

  15. 26/01/2013 8:39 am

    Beautiful photos of a debut. Very interesting indeed :-)

    • 27/01/2013 3:05 pm

      TY Cee! It was pretty amazing… The young men were terrific too. :-)

  16. 26/01/2013 10:06 am

    When I owned the bridal shop I did tons of quincennearas. It is an amazing tradition where the 15 year old has either damas (girls) chambelanes (boys) or both who escort her into adulthood.

    The celebration was much like a wedding and they usually had sponsors who helped pay for everything and later got mention in the invitations for their contributions.

    Most of the dresses I sold were either pink or white and were pouffy princess gowns. I sure do miss those days. Thanks for sharing. M

    • 27/01/2013 3:06 pm

      TY for sharing this important piece… I can imagine missing the excitement that accompanied the visits to choose a gown… It was beautiful to watch… I love a bit of pomp and pageantry sometimes too… :-)

  17. 26/01/2013 3:39 pm

    Maybe because I saw another photo of a quincenera earlier, but from the first photo, that’s where my mind went. Beautiful photo of an important rite of passage celebration. So much life ahead!

    • 27/01/2013 3:09 pm

      So much life ahead and a wonderful way to honor her and celebrate her milestone.. I’m all for it. TY! :-)

  18. 27/01/2013 1:40 pm

    What a perfect moment you happened upon. Lovely story.

  19. 27/01/2013 3:42 pm

    I had the privilege of watching such a scene In Nashville
    TN…a coming out party with girls dressed in lovely gowns
    and the boys just as dressed but, so handsome…
    Love the tradition …They made their way up and down
    the beautiful staircases in the OPRYLAND HOTEL…
    and laughd and giggled with the immaturity of their youth
    going into the older teen years…
    the colors were so pretty!…and I imagine the photos were
    lovely…

    • 28/01/2013 12:53 pm

      How lovely… I can imagine the beautiful colors on display… TY! :-)

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