Born in Iowa and raised in Nebraska,
I come with the sensibilities of a
but with an East Coast attitude.
Before I came to Boston in 2005 my summers were typically spent “up at the lake” in Minnesota.
(Lake Pepin, for those of you playing along at home) at my grandparents’ cabin. The days at the lake were generally filled with fishing and waterskiing, but in the evenings one of my favorite things to do was look through my grandmothers photo albums. She had the old flip over kind, you know with the brass rungs and the leather cover with the wood base. There were two of them, both
filled mostly with pictures from long before I was around. No matter how many times we’d been to the cabin, or how many times I’d looked through those albums, it was never enough. I’d meticulously flip through every picture occasionally removing one from its cellophane sleeve so I could better inspect the yellowed 4×6 print. The ones with the rounded corners.
It’s been years
since I last touched
But many of those pictures
remained burned into my memory.
Like the one of my mom in her rainbow tube top and my dad in his cut off jean shorts driving the boat. I think they were leaning in for a kiss. It was before they were married. As tends to happen with the youngest kid, there weren’t a lot of pictures being taken
any more by the time I came around.
I think I’ve always
for a time
I never knew.
Like when my mom wore bell bottoms and my dad had a mustache. Or any hair on his head at all. Or my grandpa Noel mowing the backyard with his John Deer tractor, freshly lit cigar clenched securely between his teeth. Or the parties in the backyard with all my grandparents gathered together and stringers of walleye awaiting the fryer.
I wasn’t there for any of that.
But touching those old pictures –
I could imagine
the smell of the grass that
the feel of the late summer
breeze coming off the lake.
I loved those old, yellowed, rounded corner pictures with grandma Alice’s handwriting noting the month, year and location on the back of each one.“Noel and the kids at Maiden Rock.” And while I felt sad that I wasn’t there for those memories,
touching those photos
always made me feel
a little closer to that time I
So maybe that’s what this is all about.
Being a trusted witness to these fleeting moments in a family’s history, being able to create something for them that they can touch and
hold those memories forever.
Or maybe share them with someone who wasn’t there.
So they can remember or experience what the air smelled like that day. Or the sound of your uncle’s laugh. Or what their hand felt like in yours.