The 2011 Imaginary Family Project – Week 1

Editor’s note ~ If you’re new to the RDC, we’d like to suggest you to some time to peruse back through “The Imaginary Family Project” fiction short stories put out each week in 2011.  We loved what our volunteer authors came up with and hope you will as well.  Enjoy! ~ RDK
#1 of 52 : JANICE
2011 Imaginary Family Project Week 1 - Janice
(click to enlarge)

External Photo Clues:
PrintStamp – May 1955

Even as a child, Janice only tolerated tradition to a point.  Her doll stage was short lived and obligatory, and she rapidly moved on to non-fiction readers 3 levels above her grade.  Her 5th grade teacher would play a game with her when she finished her homework much earlier than the rest of the class.  Spin the globe, stop it with her finger, then look that country up in the encyclopedia and read about it.  The words she found interesting – the pictures, truly captivating.

After a college career that ended nearly as soon as it had begun, she towed her boyfriend to Southern India for a year. The year became just a few weeks for her lover, and more than decade for Janice.  It was here where her maternal instinct returned in a non-traditional manner, as she became a surrogate mother to a sizable group of street children in the city of Madurai, just across the waters from Sri Lanka.  Around this time a happenstance meeting shaped a lifelong friendship with G. Harrison.  Thoroughly impressed with her grace and charity, Mr. Harrison financed the construction of a Madurai school which still bears the name of her favorite childhood cat.  Through this school Janice went on to change many lives over the next several years.

In the late 1970’s, a 10-year collection of her photographs were published and broadly well received.  Most of this good fortune was gifted to the future of her school, and served to turn a page.  She briefly returned to the states, then wandered for a while through the African continent with just her camera and passion.  It was in this era that she met her final lover.

Today Janice and her husband call a small village in Albania home, and travel frequently to Italy and Greece.  She continues to work charitably.  Her children are not biological, but legion in number.  She knits, sips a bit of red wine most days, and occasionally smokes cherry tobacco from a most ornate and petite silver pipe.  The subtle lines in her face defy her years, but relate a book-you-can’t-put-down story with several chapters yet to come.  Janice is 62 years old.

About The Author:
Quentin Bomgardner is an Engineer during the day, and a volunteer for the Norman Arts Council and Norman Music Festival in his spare time.  He is also an occasional amateur artist mostly in areas of music and writing.

About the Project:
The 2011 Imaginary Family Project is a year-long collective art endeavor coordinated by occasional amateur artist Quentin Bomgardner and co-sponsored by The Red Dirt Chronicles.  This project is based around “lost” vintage photographs, which have been acquired at flea markets, garage sales, estate sales, and eBay – heirloom collections, with no heir.  Every week a different author will “find” one photograph by creating an imagined history around one of its subjects.  At the end of the year, the collection will be compiled and presented as a group.

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