My mother & the longing for something new

March 15 | 2021

Pretty well all of us right now are longing for something new—spring blossom, a silken-eared puppy, the freedom to roam. My mother, in the early 1950s, was feeling the same. Already dating my father and soon to become engaged, my mother, a natural brunette, reinvented herself as a blonde. No doubt she was imagining herself as one of the flaxen-haired beauties of Hollywood’s Golden Age—Rene Rutenberg turned Grace Kelly, Jayne Mansfield, or Marilyn Munroe. As I relate in The Smallest Objective,my recent memoir of mid-century Montreal, my mother married my father, Dr. Archie Kirsch, in April 1955. A onetime blonde returned to a ravishing brunette, she was ready, once again, for something new.