dedication page Nan & I at her 90th birthday I've often wondered who the people are that authors' dedicate their books to, what their relationship is and why they chose them. What a huge decision. But I knew very early on that I would dedicate Shiny Bits In Between to my grandmother (Nan) and Sheila, her eldest daughter. Both women have been muses for me, and many of my artistic endeavors are rooted in their persons. I couldn't have written this book without either of these extraordinary women. *** It was the early 1930's when my curious and fearless grandmother found an advertisement in the newspaper about a job in Brasil. It sounded like an adventure, so she applied and got the job. She boarded a boat in London and crossed the seas to Brasil where she met my grandfather. Nan had children late for the era. She was over forty when she had my uncle, her last child. She had adventures to enjoy, after all. Ethel Kenning (Nan) Nan and She
Photo by Georgina Key Every year Clementine and her father visited Angangueo to honor her mother. On the mountain top, monarch butterflies hung from Oyamel tree branches, thousands of them in pleated layers like discarded quincea ñ era dresses. During Dia de los Muertos, families gathered and brought picnics and shared stories, memories of their loved ones. She watched them laugh and weep and dance and eat while her father stood silently by her side. Him in his black suit and her in a white dress with ribbons that her ni ñera , Maria, insisted she wear—the perfect little daughter. Her father's grief was a silent and endless prayer between himself and God, a conversation she was not a part of. So she waited and watched the butterflies and the families, and wondered what it felt like to be loved. ( shiny bits in between, danaus ).