Hello, this is ya Mama
“hello, this is ya mama, if you’re coming back to the house… can you stop and get me a small cheeseburger… I want no lettuce tomato and pickles and stuff on it, just mus tard and cheese. Get the smallest one you can get cause I got $2 to pay you back… call me back… just mustard and cheese on it… and I got $2… thank you …. call me back… bye.”
“this is ya mama.. will you please call me.. I’ve been calling you you wont answer your phone at all whats going on… are you mad at me or something, I dont know whats going on with ya babe but I wanna hear your voice…. call me back.. are you watching the football game… how bout them cowboys (laughter) okay call me back…..”
For the past year, I’ve received voicemails from an unknown elderly woman who’s desperately seeking to connect with her son. Despite my repeated attempts to inform her that she has the wrong number, she remains persistent. She grows sad as time goes on, and continues to beg her son “baby cakes” to call her back, and that she misses him dearly.
In these voicemails, she also shares glimpses of her life, from watching football games to attending jury duty, and moments when she’s feeling under the weather. Her emo tions fluctuate during these calls, ranging from deep sadness and concern to occasional bursts of laughter.
I often find myself pondering what this woman looks like and where her son might be. Does he, too, leave voicemails for an unknown recipient with a mistaken number? Does he miss her just as much? Lastly, I can’t help but wonder if she ever got her burger with just mustard and cheese.
The QR code provided allows you to listen to some of these poignant voicemails, pro viding a unique window into the life of this unknown woman. The image above, creat ed through the collage technique, features only the etchings and drawings produced by students during the Paprika Launch Exquisite Palimpsest, adding an artistic interpreta tion of this unusual connection I’ve forged through these voicemails.