The Neugents: “Close to Home” by David M. Spear (review)

Mamie and Lee Neugent from The Neugents: "Close to Home," published by the Jargon Society. Reprinted with the permission of author and photographer David M. Spear.

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The Neugents: “Close to Home” by David M. Spear (review)

by Pamela Grundy
Southern Cultures, Vol. 1, No. 3: Spring 1995

The Jargon Society, 1993.

Eighty-year-old Mamie Neugent leans over her kitchen table, plunging her head of long white hair into a metal bowl of water at the newspaper-covered edge. On the bowl’s rim, above the dampened print, she rests fingers swollen wide from age and use, their shape betraying the same kind of long working life as the wrinkled dress that falls about her shoulders. Around her the camera has fixed details of a southern rural home: an ancient door; a stained refrigerator; an unused radio, coiled electric cord; crackers; Quaker Oats; a smooth plastic bottle of White Rain Shampoo. To one side sits her son Lee, hands on his head, seeming to smile to himself.