Candy Corn-Self

Scan — Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

Today Lauren posed for me as a dead Little Red Riding Hood in my dining room. This is all in preparation for Halloween next week. Her make-up session with her older sister Rebecca was stressful, particularly in that Lauren has sensitive eyes. She kept closing her eyes to her sister’s chagrin.After our session she told me, “Next week I will be a live Little Red Riding Hood with no makeup.”

Since I was born in Argentina and by the time I arrived in Mexico City as a young teenager I have never had much of an experience for Halloween and what it stands for.

Of our early years in Burnaby, British Columbia in the mid-70s I remember my daughter Ale and Hilary arriving all wet and cold from trick or treating. I did understand enough about Halloween to immediately demand booty before it was all consumed and only those lousy chocolate covered raisins remained.

But Halloween has for me an important significance not associated with the day per se but to a candy that is traditional for the event. This is candy corn.

I may have been no older than 6 when my mother brought from a friend who worked at the American Embassy in Buenos Aires a bag of a weird to me colour candy that tasted of sweet wax. My mother would dole out this delicacy in small handfuls. I found this vexing. I wanted more. I wanted all of it.

I noted that my mother stored the treasured bounty in her large armoire in my parent’s bedroom. One day I went in and opened the door and helped myself to most of the candy corn. It was a feast. But then the armoire had a large full-length mirror on the inside. I saw my reflection. I stopped to stare. I looked at myself and suddenly it hit me that I was looking at myself and that somehow I was an entity, an individual like no one else. I believe that at that moment I became human.

Today Sunday I attended an excellent performance of Mozart’s Requiem by the nifty Vancouver group the Postmodern Camerata at Dunbar Heights United Church.

Lauren Stewart(13) -Makeup Rebecca Stewart (18) — Photograph Alex Waterhouse-Hayward October 25, 2015

The pleasantly satisfying and very strong (nicely loud) performance made me think of my long-time friend (since 1977) Mark Budgen’s death last Thursday. It occurred to me how appropriate it was to listen to this Requiem and to Vancouver composer Jocelyn Morlock’s Lacrimosa ( a requiem for her father) so soon after my friend’s death.

It also occurred to me that the concept of imagining and thinking of a friend’s sudden non-existence was not much different from thinking and imagining my own inevitable death. It also occurred to me that this thought, this realization was parallel to the one of suddenly being aware of one’s own personal existence.

That Candy Corn awareness.

Originally published at