I finally broke down and posted an old photo of Grandma at the beach to this community page which has just over 12,000 members. I was shy to post to such a huge group of strangers, but I finally just couldn’t resist. This is one of those from the ill-fated old negatives they found up in the attic a few years ago.
You know Mom, I think Grandpa was an amateur Photographer, and I got this bug from him. All the photos of Grandma from this time are amazing, but he’s rarely in them. Going through all those old negatives, and looking through these happy times, frame after frame, and he is strangely absent.
Because HE was the photographer. Which I can totally identify with. I always feel self-conscious, and I’m not comfortable being on THAT side of the lens.
To have found all those negatives Mom, and to have lost them so, I don’t know, carelessly I guess. Not even paying attention, and then they were gone forever. Not destroyed, just lost. Hopefully not destroyed.
Hopeful and resilient romantic I am, I’ve always imagined this mysterious person buying them at some auction; probably with the contents of other stuff from my storage. A mystery box perhaps.
I can imagine them opening it for the first time, and slowly holding the old 620 negs up to the light, and they become intrigued by what they see. I hope they cherish them as did I, but I didn’t hold on them tight enough.
That I have what I do, well, I’m blessed. I know.
I know that so many have far less to show for the decades and memories of ancestors past. Few have such snapshots, capturing moments in time, sunny days, laughter, and friendship. Few know the character of their Grandmother in her youth. Few know her sharp mind, her fearlessness, her goodwill and love of life.
And I can see how Grandpa saw you. Rather hard to not gather what he thought of you, since approximately 3/4’s of the blawdy box where pictures of you.
I opened sleeve after sleeve, envelope after envelope, ALL YOU.
Grandpa was good at capturing people, and I wonder if he ever dreamed of becoming a photographer? I wonder. He went to work every day in a suit, spent his days in an office as an attache/executive secretary, or whatever exactly he was. I’ve never exactly been clear on that. I wish I listened more, I wish I’d tried harder to remember all these bits and pieces you and Grandma relayed to me.
Did you know he was two years younger then Grandma? Well, if you did, I didn’t.
See now, I’m starting to piece some of them together, what with the old photos and the genealogy, and in the mix I’ve discovered some tales that had not been told before. And some stories told thru a lens only.
I’m thankful that woman gave me that old box of photos and negatives, even though I had them for far too short a time. Till this day I feel such guilt at their loss…but alas, tis nothing to be done about it now. I being the storyteller, I suppose to I they went, at that time, for whatever reason I may never know.
However, perhaps their purpose is through. They are only things, and I saw them, and took snapshots in my minds-eye, so someday I can relay the stories they told.
Perhaps, as I, he too saw the world differently then everyone else, and struggled to find a way to capture life, to hold the moments of beauty he found.
Love you Mom.