Dressing up, but not for Halloween—my mother’s romance with Mexico

October 26 | 2020

In 1970, my parents and I visited the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan, once the largest metropolis in the Western Hemisphere. My mother wore a chignon in the style of Eva Peron, I sported a yellow tank top with a leather peace medallion. Long before the visit, my Jewish mother inclined to Latina fashion. Here she is in her late teens, in an apron with Mexican-inspired pompoms. As I tell in my new memoir, The Smallest Objective, my mother as a young woman adored dressing up yet proved less adept at transforming me. In Mexico City, I was refused admission to a Ray Charles concert because at 10 I didn’t meet the height requirement. Try as she might, my mother didn’t succeed in making me taller.