I’m coming up on my 50th birthday.
Two years ago I threw Rick a surprise party for his big half century, and when all was said and done I told him it was the most stressful thing, lying, sneaking, pretending…and asked him to promise me he wouldn’t not give me a surprise party. I’m very happy to say that he is honoring my wish and not trying to surprise me. At least with the date, time and place. He’s let me know these details and has forbid me from asking for any other information. If he tells me he has errands I don’t get to ask what he’s doing. If he spends money, I can’t ask what he’s spending on.
Ironically, since I’m the techno geek and the documentarian in the family he asked me to gather photos of my life and put them in a folder. Beyond that, I can’t ask what he’s doing with them. Kills me! Because I have some great ideas!! The last couple evenings I’ve been working on this project, much like I did for Rick for his 50th birthday, and like I did for my Mom a couple years ago when I converted a lifetime of slides to jpg and restored them and gave them to her in a photobook for Christmas. It reminds me too, of last April when I put together photos of my Grandma’s life for her memorial service, and relived my lifetime of memories of her and beyond.
During a project I become consumed with the subject, thinking about him or her during waking hours. I bond with the person I’m ‘working on’ in a weird historical way and get to know them on a different level. I study their expressions and backgrounds in photos, imagine a meal at the same table, try to hear the voices in the background, the laughter and conversations…
So putting together these photos with ME as the subject is a bit surreal. It’s me. I was there. I just don’t have memories of a lot of it. I was the darling little 2 year old, the curious 5 year old, the awkward gangly geeky adolescent. I’ve sighed and laughed and chuckled over these.
Many of the photos from my childhood I had never seen before 2 years ago when I got my hands on my grandparents slides and negatives. I cried when I saw some of them. I’d never seen a photo of my mom and I together when I was a baby, but here was one in the box of slides of Grandma Jo’s that I love and cherish now!
And this one, of my sis, my mom, and I, at the beach on the Washington coast, (Please forgive the over-photoshopped sky, I was just learning and the slide was so scratched and ink-spotted…) I have a vague recollection of that trip, and I love how bad-ass we look, at least Cheryl and I. Mom has never been anything but sweet as a kitten, no matter how sassy she tried to look.
It just kinda makes a person feel like they belonged when they find the evidence that someone knew them back then, back before their memories begin.