i set out yesterday to visit an old friend whom i've photographed often over the years. in fact, i was telling wookie yesterday i have a photo up in the clinic of her jumping rope when she was about 5. i took care of her mom when she was pregnant with wookie and have taken care of wookie in her 2 pregnancies.
wookie spent this past year in phoenix with her new boyfriend. she admitted yesterday she was with him because he has a car and a place to stay. yet, they got evicted from their apartment and spent 2 weeks living out of their car in the parking lot of the apartment complex where they'd been staying. her kids were with her husband's mom on the rez 5 hours away during this time. yeah, wookie is married still. her husband cheated on her. he's 24 and impregnated a 17 year old high school student.
wookie wasn't certain who her youngest son, owen's, father is. it is either her husband or her new boyfriend. she told me about how a radio station in phoenix sponsors paternity testing if people who call in are willing to share their stories on the air and the results of the paternity test. she called in, got paternity tested and shared her story over the air. she learned that her husband is the father of both her children. it was shortly after this that her new boyfriend dropped her, they became homeless and she ended up moving back to the rez.
she reminisced about how she never really knew her dad. a couple years ago she wrote an open letter to the navajo times news paper asking if anyone knew his whereabouts and through this she found him after a 14 year break. wookie cried about having blown an opportunity to attend college for free several years ago when her foster mom took her to buffalo, new york. wookie's mom was drinking heavily at the time and all agreed it was best for wookie to get out of that environment. she said the day after she got to new york she learned she was pregnant at 17 with her then boyfriend's child, aidan. abortion was never an option for her and she didn't want to put the baby up for adoption. so, within 6 months of escaping the trauma of her home life, she was back.
now, she's enrolled in trade school again in phoenix which is to begin in february. we talked about what it would take for her to realize her dreams, where she'll get money and where she might stay. despite several setbacks, wookie is trying to remain optimistic.
wookie, around age 5
these photos came from hanging out with wookie, owen and aidan yesterday afternoon.