Just before I sat down to write, I was sorting through some boxes in my office that had been pushed into a corner for the last 8 years. Next week we'll have lived in this house 8 years. Seems just like a long minute. Anyway, in one I found a shoebox with a few handfuls of old photos that made me sit on the floor and nearly weep. Amazing how just a few pictures can become the précis of your life. There are some that made me laugh; I was an amateur photographer in high school and my lunch table friends were often my guinea pigs. Since, I am going to have dinner with most of them on the 15th, I'm not showing you any of those. I want to live to see another birthday. Those curling b&w photos that I'd developed myself are priceless, though. They show we've all gotten better with age... There's also a birthday dinner (my 40th) at a long-gone restaurant called Judy's Cafe where I evidently thought it was OK to wear overalls???
There are some, too, that made me wistful. A lot of my friends and family are gone. So these pictures, in a way, are all I have left of them. Little captured bubbles of happy. One of Dad, god-knows-where, evidently over the holidays since it looks like a gold bow is growing out of his head. Another of my father sleeping off a heavy holiday dinner sprawled across a love seat. Dad could nap on a shoestring if he wanted. My little dog, Teddy wearing a life jacket in the cockpit of my sailboat. He loved spending time aboard Karma, but he thought he was a Lab, not a Yorkie and would jump overboard to fetch sticks floating in the Sassafras River. Hence the doggie life jacket with the handle so we could nip him out of the water with a boat hook. There's also one of a dear friend who was always anxious on land, but always beaming at the helm of his boat. Hope he has clear sailing on the other side, all the time.
Nearly all of my pictures are stored digitally now, and it's not quite the same as having them in my hands. Will I still have them to look at 30 years from now? Holding the actual photograph is like holding time in my hands. I'm holding on tight.
|A life on paper.|