Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Faded Photographs

Even though I have a lot of blog worthy ideas swirling around in my head; I promised myself this week, before I launch back into the world of nursing, I will finish Wally’s scrapbook. It’s about time isn’t it? I thought it would take maybe six months of diligent work but it took me eighteen months! I kept hitting creative or emotional walls and then came summer with the advent of my other writing project and gardening. The picture on the blog is the last image in the album. It was a very weird picture of him standing next to my dresser in my messy bedroom when he was two. Why I took his picture at that moment I’ll never remember. What makes this picture strange is it is triple exposed and in the shadows you can see Christmas as well as a fragment from an image on a deserted highway outside of Taos. Even in the 90’s with point and shoot cameras it was hard to double expose film. This film was exposed three times. I remember talking to the guy at the camera store who told me chances are the film didn’t advance in the camera and it was a small miracle any images were visible.. Much less a collage of images which capture our busy life, and at the time, happy life as a family. The Beav came downstairs Tuesday night when I was laying out the last pages and asked me if this was Wally’s Christmas present. I laughed the idea off because, please, would a 19 year old really want a baby book and scrapbook of their school years as a gift? Beav assured me that Wally has changed so much over the last two months that he would probably think it was “cool” I had finished the book. When I finished this afternoon, I was a little choked up like someone who had finished their first marathon. It was a relief to have completed the task but at the same time I was really saying good-bye to the little boy.

One boy album down, one to go.

I think Beav is secretly hoping I start on his book this winter but I’m a tired of looking at little boy pictures so I think the next project will be to put the very old and very fragile family photos Dad recently gave me in an album. Just a simple acid free album, no embellishments and the journaling will be limited to identifying (if I can) people in the photographs. Some of these photos are unspeakable funny and sweet: my cousin and Sister playing with Hula Hoops, baby me pulling Sister’s hair, my mother and her sisters over the years grouped together, the body language apparent which sisters had just fussed with one another. Many of the photos I’ve seen over and over again but one picture was a surprise. It’s a candid snapshot of my father and mother standing together, he is standing behind her and his face is almost shadowed by her hair blowing back. They are bundled up and probably huddled close against a chilly Kansas wind. Their hands are gently intertwined one with the other making this beautiful candid photo sweetly intimate. I love stealing glimpses at the past before I was born. I also have a set of photos from a particularly rowdy party my parents had when I was about two. Who knows where I was that night, probably locked in my room with my eight year old sister supervising me, giving me Kool-aid and animal crackers when she wasn’t trying to convince me to stick my head between the very wide slats. I’m kidding I was probably not in a playpen but playing with a screwdriver and an electrical outlet [wink]*) Anyhow, those crazy kids were having fun, drinking their very strong cocktails and smoking their strong cigarettes. Those were the days, weren’t they when you could put your two year old in a play pen, get drunk and smoke. Damn, I was born too late.

*for the record, I was at my grandmother’s house and was no doubt being indulged by her and teased by my older cousins.

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