Filed under: Vintage Photo Album | Tags: 1970s, fragments, mother, photo booth
There aren’t going to be any fuzzy moments around the fire as my sister and I pour through my mother’s photo albums exchanging memories. It’s going to look more like the two of us sitting at my sister’s kitchen table, elbow-deep in mounds of photos tossed into boxes. Giant U-Haul boxes. After the 70s, it looks as if my mother gave up assembling the images of our lives into any kind of order. Her attachment to these photos has caused a few family arguments over the years, which in retrospect makes me laugh. My stepmother once brought an old photo album of my dad’s to my nephew’s birthday, and when my mother saw it, she grabbed it from my hands and ran out of the house with it to lock in her car. My uncle found his high school yearbook missing two pages; my mother had torn them out for her albums. In cleaning her cedar chest, Jeff found stacks of them ‘like bricks of gold’ hidden underneath a pile of quilts. During the week that she died, my sister spent hours looking for that giant U-Haul box of photos, only to discover it a few weeks later in the office closet, bound in duct tape, “memories” scrawled across the top. In that box, I found a tiny blue leather photo album filled with photo booth pictures. There are no dates, but I’m guessing by her hair styles that they are from 1970-71. It was a challenge to re-assemble them in chronological order, and so I gave up. Looking through the photos, I wonder why, if they were so important to her, she treated them so poorly, why she wouldn’t share them with us, why she hid them away from the world. She may not have realized that she left me the gift of piecing together the fragments of her life through my own stories.
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