It’s Labor Day weekend, 1991. I’m sitting on a bench in a nearly empty gallery of an art museum. 13-month-old Benjamin is standing on his long, wobbly legs, hanging on to the edge of the bench with both hands and cruising slowly along it, the way he’s been doing for a couple of months now. As he moves, his blond head bobs up and down, and he talks to himself and makes little whirring noises.
He comes to the end of the bench. One hand drops from the bench and he pauses. He stares across the wide open space. A look of intense concentration gathers on his face. The other hand lifts slowly away from the bench, and he takes one, two, three steps out into the void. Then, boom, he sits down. He crawls back to the bench on all fours and pulls himself up to standing. He pays me no attention at all; he is totally absorbed. Again he faces out into the room, drops one hand, then the other, and takes NINE steps across the floor!
I’ve kept quiet this whole time, but inside I’m practically going wild.
As we happen to be at the Walker Art Center, I take him to the gift shop and buy him a blue t-shirt with the word “Walker” emblazoned across the front.