Ellen L Ball – Memoirs –

My respectful eternal lady, mother & sister in America and best friend Ellen passed away.
It’s still hard for me to accept the reality, and I have flashbacks to our happy days as though they were yesterday.
As I still cannot come to terms with my father’s death, it is too painful for me to say good-bye to those I love, one after another.

How much we shared together !
Photo shootings, chats, gallery walks, cafes, book stores, beaches…
I also often spent joyous afternoons at her house while enjoying her husband’s home made lunch and wine.

I have many things to learn from her, such as the black and white attire she wore to view art works at gallery receptions.
As I write my Japanese photo essay in Nice America, Her portraits photographed by Richard Advedon casually hanging on the wall,
but it’s been a year since I met her and discovered her glorious past.
She was always a humble and charming lady.

Her husband, painter Ian made these cards

She only loved silver, and was never interested in expensive jewelrery nor brand outfits.
Chieko, look ! I bought this at K-Mart; she was far from being a snob or someone who kept up with the Joneses.
She knew what it meant to be the heroine and play the supporting role in life, as she had learned as once an actress.
Nevertheless, her graceful behavior and manner, subtle scent of fragrance and minimalist approach to good fashion sense, gave her such a presence.
Like a gorgeous peony flower with the common touch; it’s Ellen.

Unfortunately, leaving Miami, I didn’t have the chance to see her again for a long time,
despite her regular invitations to go to her most favorite place in New York together.

And I would like to take B&W pictures of the photogenic Chilean housekeeping woman at her brother in law’s residence.

Whenever she took a trip, to Europe, NY, and TX, she sent me postcards, and brought lovely notebooks back for me on which to write my memorandum.
Here I have the hand-made photo book she gave to me, of images she photographed in New York during the holiday season.
How much she wanted to walk together in New York, to the title of『A Walk in the Central Park with Chieko

She really loved playing tennis, but had been inactive due to bad knees, something that happened after we said our goodbyes.
Once I gave her supplements that were very popular in Japan, and she said they were a miracle and very effective. However, she could not return to the tennis court.
Indeed, she was a very active woman, taking an interest in tennis, photography, art, classical music, campaigns, dog walks and so forth.
So, too quiet a time at home might have accelerated her Alzheimer disease.

I have decided not to focus on her death because she lives with me forever.
Chieko, listen to mom..I can still hear her humorous tone.