a particular day

December 08, 2005

The tie and the photo in the tin


It's snowing here in Cincinnati tonight. Real nice big flakes. The fridge is stocked and I'm not checking work email for the evening. So I'm sifting through things and photos and I wanted to put down a few thoughts that have surfaced lately.

Visiting my Grandmother in the home over Thanksgiving, I stared at a dresser that sat across from her bed.

Along with those three drawers and the night table, there wasn't much room for anything else.

My Grandmother collected things. She took photos of flowers and footprints in the snow. She even took snapshots of the TV (and we're not sure if that was an accident or intended—though she was also the sort to write down who and when on the back.)

My mother made her a dress and my Grandfather a tie one year. The tie was saved a tin, along with a photo of them wearing the homemade goods.

She saved newspaper clippings and matches. Stacks of books. Quilts. Fabric swatches cut out in quilt patterns yet assembled.

Lots of things.

Those drawers would not have been enough.

And perhaps this thought alone is one of the strong undercurrents of wanting her to be well enough to return home. Her home that she'd whittled down to a jam packed bedroom and storage in the basement at my mom's house.

Three drawers. I keep thinking.

And yet there's a small sense of gladness (even though I require a moving truck these days) that I could whittle my "stuff" down to a laptop and a wireless connection. This line of thinking brings up a host of other issues though. Host being a formidable word.

(continuing tangent)

The conversation began with Jim and the boys a while ago, and surfaced again in this post, "When I'm 94." In short, what will become of all this digital stuff when we're gone?

Hopefully cached somewhere, on servers maintained.

Filed in: Family |

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Comments

beautiful post.

with kodak increasingly moving to digital-only, an important part of our culture is disappearing.
we'll never be the photo archivists our parents were; saving shoeboxes full of musty, yellowed snapshots with date/place/people annotations written in a comforting script on the backs.
these were/are pieces of history, very tangible links to the past. with photos now in digital format and posted to servers, so much is lost. the photos of today lose much of their identities. their annotations are little more than a file name and maybe some metadata. no longer can one speculate on what a relative's personality was like based upon the way in which he or she dotted i's or crossed t's when writing on the back of a snapshot or negative. it's a shame that future generations will never experience the intimacy of a box of photos.

collecting is a lost art; your grandmother seems like an amazing woman. she must have collected quite a great amount of treasure over the years.

Posted by: neal gardner | Dec 9, 2005 2:19:04 PM

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