Horace and Agnes: A Love Story

Photographer Asia Kepka has a wonderful imagination and a sense of fun. Jeurgen Horn pointed me toward a Facebook page dedicated to the characters Horace and Agnes. It was created by Kepka and Lynn Dowling, who tells the stories. They tell us how the characters came about:

On a hot July day, we dressed ourselves up with masks borrowed from a friend and started shooting self-portraits. We were fascinated by these characters and immediately named them Horace and Agnes. Once we gave them an identity, their story began to unfold. They met through random circumstance and their love for each other is literally blind. They exemplify a fairy tale of what it would be like to fall in love with the right person...just because.

Horace and Agnes (and their friends) are made up of all of the people we have encountered through our lives. Their world, though slightly dated, is a tangible one that our characters pass through. We encourage our audience to follow us as we uncover their adventures.

We hope you enjoy it.
Asia Kepka & Lynn Dowling

Now it's your turn to step into the world of Horace and Agnes -and their friends.

Love is Blind.
Horace and Agnes met on a train. It was overcrowded and stiflingly hot. Horace politely asked if he could possibly share the last remaining seat next to Agnes. She moved her pocketbook into her lap and smiled. He gently slid into his seat and smiled back. She was shy at first but Horace enthusiastically engaged her in conversation. They talked for over two hours. So engrossed with each other they both missed their stops.

During the summer months, Agnes and Horace enjoy lounging on the davenport singing their favorite Bobby Vinton tunes. Agnes has an exquisite voice. Horace should probably avoid singing but he plays the accordion so poorly that he drowns out his own voice. It wouldn’t matter to Agnes anyway. She loves listening to Horace no matter what.

Agnes makes Horace's lunch every workday.
Horace pleads with her not to but there she is, every morning, handing it to him with a big grin.
"I hope it's not egg salad," he says as he grasps the handle of his lunch pail. "You know it is," she says before she kisses him. Horace despises egg salad and Agnes never makes it...it's just their morning ritual.

Pleasant Valley
Horace and Agnes were looking to get an early start after their motel stay in Pleasant Valley but Agnes is still poking around the room. When she finally emerges, he curiously asks her what she‘s been up to. “I‘ve been making the bed and tidying up the room, of course,” she answers. Horace looks up and says, “Dear, I think they have people to do that.” Agnes reaches back and closes the door behind her. “I know Horace, but I don‘t want them to think we are pigs.”

Playing Hard to Get.
Horace can get so wrapped up in his bird books that he misses signs. Agnes has been flirting madly to no avail. Exasperated, she gives him a playful swat and takes off running. Horace knows this game. He drops his book and takes off after her. They are laughing and running crazily through an open field. Anyone watching this race can plainly see that Agnes is a lot faster than Horace. She has to slow down at the end so he can catch her. She's playing hard to get, but not that hard.

RSVP Bertie Swopes.
"Agnes Darling...I am soooo bored. You need to throw a fabulous dinner party. I'll help. I promise." Agnes knows that Bertie has no intention of helping. Bertie is fun-loving but easily distracted, especially by shiny things. Her favorite shiny thing is the diamond from her ex-husband. She insists that her ring looks a lot better than the secretary he ran off with. "Just because its younger doesn't mean it works better", Bertie quips as she flicks her wrist in the air. "But you know Agnes, I wish them all the best."

Agnes knows alright...she knows it's time to pour Bertie another glass of wine and start planning that party.

RSVP Humphrey Twins.
Millie and Minnie Humphrey have lived together for years in a tiny apartment above their craft shop aptly named Bits 'n Bows. They specialize in scrapbooking and decoupage. The sisters tend to bicker with each other but they are tremendously kind to others. Millie stirs her tea quietly but then suddenly pipes up, "As you can see, we are NOT identical. Minnie has a much bigger head." Minnie laughs out loud, "If my head is so big how come you're wearing my hat!" They both ponder this fact for a moment and then simultaneously reach for the last biscuit. "Minnie dear, can you fetch some more of those delicious biscuits you baked?" Minnie hoists herself off her chair and heads into the kitchen, "Certainly Mill, but try to refrain from flattery...I wouldn't want my head to get any bigger."

RSVP Marietta Weiss.
Marietta is an editor at Audubon Magazine and has been researching migration habits and murmurations. Horace had written her a letter telling her how much he enjoyed her articles and they started up a correspondence. Now they are all great friends and go on birding expeditions together. Agnes is intrigued by how far she can turn her head. She never misses a thing. Marietta says very matter-of-factly, "Agnes, it just comes naturally. I've always been a keen observer. It's how I live my life. Stay quiet and alert...and don't let anything ruffle your feathers."

RSVP Ferris Twig.
Downtown at the Federal Court House there is a stenotype operator named Ferris Twig. He has witnessed a lot of high profile cases in his 8 year tenure. He's obsessed with mob related cases like racketeering and extortion…he just can't get enough. His hope is to one day write a best selling crime novel. Every Thursday, during his lunch break, he races to the theatre to catch the matinees. Currently playing is Taxi with James Cagney. From the dark empty theatre all you can hear is the faint nibbling of popcorn and Ferris mouthing out every word.

Vintage Rental.
“Hey Mister! How much to rent the Plymouth?”
Horace has his eye on a beautiful turquoise vintage car. Agnes is just as keen. Her father used to have one just like it. Horace wheels and deals and gets the rental for a song. He opens the door for Agnes and tips his hat, “Your chariot, my dear.” She climbs in while Horace runs around to the other side. Then he revs the engine and leans in towards Agnes and asks, “Ready for vintage driving vintage?”
She sweeps her scarf around her head and laughs: “Speak for yourself, Horace—I‘m a spring chicken.”


Follow the continuing adventures of Horace and Agnes at Facebook.

Horace and Agnes are available on various 2014 calendars at Kepka’s Etsy store. There will soon be prints available, too.

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