Monday, February 23, 2009

Memory Video .... stunned....

My cousin just brought down and shared a video made for her birthday by her husband's family. Evidently the cousin came in and commandeered a tote full of family photos... kind of like the tote in purple at my house in the corner of my "used to be" closet. Photos tumble in a maze of black and white, vintage, family treasures, odd shots of children I can't remember that once were tucked into Christmas cards... just a jumble of memories. The last time I looked at mine, I was quickly and painfully sorting through it to make the collage boards for my Daddy's funeral.

Something about the bluegrass/tinny music and the evaporate/fade technique of these photos made my mind go into a warp of its own. (Okay, I'll admit, it isn't that hard to do, but still...) Tonight we viewed about 850 pictures, many of my grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins... me, my son as a baby... tractors, horses, ruined barns, old Studebakers... Just a montage of people and dreams, snippets of time preserved forever by a quick shot of the camera. No organization pervaded this video, so the years flashed back and forth kind of like our minds do as we reminisce.... I have often thought about this technique of journaling, and I once made a photograph album like that with my gramma's pictures. I remember that my mother didn't like it because I had shots from the 20's alongside my graduation in (ahem!) '72. I liked it then, and I like it now.... but I'm not sure I could stand many hours of it at a time.

We build our lives in layers, spiraling through events, Christmases, new cars, first dates, marriages, and cemeteries. The layers melt together, intertwined with our loved ones and their events and friends, their families, their pets. I saw many shots of my cousin's parents as they celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary, and all I could think of was, "That was the day I started going steady with my first husband." We walked downtown to a drug store after school, ordered Lemon Sprites, and he handed me his ring. Long gone. I rarely think of that person, and never with any kind of animosity.... That part of my life actually never existed, or so it feels... My son long ago told me I built way too many rooms in my mind, closed far too many doors... He cautioned me not to live in the attic as I do now, but to come down and enjoy the whole house... (He didn't say it quite that way, but almost.)

These photos of my parents amaze me. They are so beautiful. They look so innocent, so happy... and they got to do their whole lives that way, or at least my Dad did... I love to look at that pretty hair on my mom, those strong shoulders on my Dad.... and, thinking of my own life... I wish.... for what? I haven't the wisdom, courage, or inclination to verbalize it, even in my heart, but I wish it.

So, thank you but no thank you to long videos down Memory Lane.... I am glad to have seen it, but for tonight, I even took my computer off of the screen saver slide show... Give me the solid straight-shooter shot of my good old geese at the pond... Ahhh... set my mind on stunned, and get some sleep.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm, lots of thoughts swirling around you right now, good and not so good memories, yearnings for good old days and for days not yet lived to be filled with something -- more?

Maybe your dreams will point you in the direction you need to go.

Laurie S.

Julie said...

Not sure what to think about your post - it leaves me feeling sad. When I dive into historic family photos and remenis - it leaves me eternally thankful to God...but then again I was adopted and totally understand that my life was hanging on a thread.

Lisa said...

I feel like I just had a conversation with you sitting in your old sitting room. You're the best.

Lisa said...

Okay, I meant to also add, I'm kinda feeling this way too. A friend of mine and I are getting pictures together for two different retirements. Today I just felt blah, very sad and had to fake everything I did. Remember Dodie always saying, "fake it, just fake it, no one will ever know". I just wanted to sit a cry for a spell. Life changes and there's just not one damn thing I can do about it. I love you rebel girlfriend!!!