Saturday, December 27, 2008

Channel-surfing on a break between housecleaning chores, I came across a public access station showing a film of Omaha's recent history. They were interviewing various movers and shakers and wannabes about the Old Market, which started out as a neighborhood of warehouses and manufacturing buildings down by the Missouri River in Omaha's original downtown. My late husband, Bob, was one of the late 1960's "Old Market layabouts"; one particular family had invested in a lot of the area and made cheap warehouse space available to artists and entrepreneurs, and Bob had a photography studio down there, where he lived and worked, amidst many of his friends. Over the years I heard so many stories about their hijinks and escapades. Quite the wild bunch they were, and I know he always felt those were his golden years. I knew some of the people interviewed for this TV film, quite a lot about some of them.There was old footage of hippies hanging out on the curbs, blowing bubbles, and people remodeling some of the old buildings, and working in their little stores. Much of the art that hangs on my walls came from some of those artists, working so bright-eyed and young back then, on the cutting edge of Omaha's embryonic arts culture.

A weird mood has settled on me watching this. So many of those old friends of Bob's have gone now, there must be a great reunion party going on somewhere. The sanitized version Omaha is presenting in this film is not much like the stories I heard. And the weirdness lies in how detached I feel. For a few minutes this living room was filled with voices and faces that Bob knew well - I wouldn't be surprised if he knew everyone in those old home movies - and I wonder what he would have said about it. I'm not sad, exactly. It's the transience of everything filling the room here, I think. This is a sense that's seeping into me more and more since he died. Nothing new or original with me, of course. Just new *to* me.

No comments: