my last post was a letter to my love, so what is more appropriate for this post than sharing some photos of my grandparents in love?
Some weekends ago I was helping my parents clean out some boxes from their move last year. We stumbled across some family pictures that I’d never seen before, of my grandparents, George and Alice, on their honeymoon in 1929.
I love this photo of my grandma (the same grandmother, by the way, who lived on the farm in South Dakota). Her high Norwegian cheekbones, crazy hat, and curly hair are so charming, and her smile even looks the same as I remember it. She’s so cute, and so stylish! The 14-year-old me never would have guessed it.
There is so much loveliness to be had in these photos, memories that aren’t my own, but which hold a piece of my own identity.
for my birthday, B gave me a photography workshop, because we have this fantastic camera that i clearly didn’t really know how to use. yesterday, i finally got to take the class!
it was so much fun, and now that i know what all the little numbers mean in my viewfinder, AND i know what range they should be in, i’m able to take pictures that a) aren’t as blurry, and b) look a lot better.
i’m proud of myself. can you tell? so i thought i’d share some of my beginning photos. and since you, dear reader, can’t argue, here they are. enjoy.
the workshop was offered at the minneapolis photo center, and i highly, highly recommend it. they also offer more advanced classes, which i’d like to take as well (pssst! christmas is coming up!).
#1. it’s old and filled with churches.
#2. it’s beautiful.
#3. In Mexico, you get to eat hot dogs for breakfast.
#4.MEXICANS LOVE MARY, TOO!
my mother told me today, about two hours before i left the house for the last time, that cleaning it out was ‘like an embalming process.’ amidst tears, she scrubbed the shower in our basement, explaining that to leave the house in disarray would be a dishonor to it. it is like a fifth member of the family. sixth, if you include our long-departed bassett.
We all dealt with saying goodbye in different ways. My father reminisced, and told stories of trying to sand-blast the fireplace and sheet-rock the living room ceiling. Mom scrubbed, and later allowed herself to be distracted by my brother’s stories.
Mike spoke about new beginnings and being grateful for the time we’ve spent here as a family. And I stalked the grounds for details to photograph, worrying I wasn’t doing our home justice with my mediocre skills; unable to process what life will be like when for us when this home is gone.
I found myself drawn to spaces in our home that I did not frequent as a child. It may be because those usual places are already deeply written in my memory. Or, perhaps it could be that the places I found frightening then are now part its charm. Practicing the piano, in which I took lessons through sixth grade, I used to imagine a ghost would take a step across the living room with each mistake I made. It was a game I played: don’t make mistakes, and no ghost will ‘get’ me. (But problems arose whenever I learned a new song, such that the ghost had to start taking baby steps to ensure my safety.)
Similarly, every time late at night that I would start up our winding stairs, by the time I reached the top I was running up two-by-two. I didn’t believe that a ghost was chasing me up the stairs per se… but just in case one was, I was covered.
i don’t remember when these games i played stopped. and, i don’t remember when i transitioned from thinking about this house as just being the place where i lived to actually seeing it as a beautiful home, with gorgeous woodwork and details that only children notice, creaky and solid and full of space and grandeur and family.
The basement used to frighten me. Daddy-long-legs and shadows inhabited corners, and the floor was cold. But today, even the basement–perhaps especially the basement–reminded me that I was in my home.
In a period of suspension, words fail. Ending this post (oh melodrama of melodramas) is another way of saying goodbye, like my hesitation before I walked down the steps of the front sidewalk the last time. Each moment that passes expands the time between our family home and our family. Everything points to death. The increasing darkness of each fall day seems to be pulling me into death, although not into depression. Simply: the dawn of my life is over. A generation has passed since I was born. And time will not stop. For the first time, I begin to feel the chipping of time into my life. Not everything is ahead of me anymore. And we are all leading to an end.
It is not such an awful thing, I suppose, my own death. What really frightens, of course, are the deaths of those around me. I know I am not the only person for whom death and time are twins, chipping away on our shoulders, exacting the moment in which their two paths will meet. The best we can hope for is noting, and loving, the details in the spaces between.
B and I returned from our Europe trip over a month ago… and since we aren’t moved into our new place (or have any of our new life organized at all), I haven’t really gotten around to posting some of my favorite photos from our trip.