Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Waiting Audience

"Smile (snap)," the photographer said. "Let's try that again. Everyone look at the camera."

Photographs. I have baskets full of old photos. A big black trunk holds boxes of family photos. Old worn out albums full of pictures of people I don't know sit in a corner. History. Memories. A opportunity to share.

My grandfather always kept a basket of old post cards on the table in the living room. As a small child, I would shuffle through the pictures looking at cards sent when my parents were small. Some of the cards were photographs of relatives and friends. Time after time when I visited my grandfather's home, I sat with the basket in my lap shuffling once more.

I now have the basket. It is full of current pictures. Time and time again my granddaughters will pull out the basket and remember. It wasn't until recently that Sydney, age eleven, began asking about the family history. Pictures have now become more interesting to her. She loves when we open the big trunk.

"Can I go through the pictures, Grammy?" she asks. Questions come with each picture. A history is passed on.

"Look at the clothing they wore back then," I tell her. "Be sure to look at the place where the picture was taken."

Soon we are looking at the mode of travel, a barnyard, a foot bridge, a baby in a wicker carriage. The past unfolds in many ways. We are drawn together in this time travel. My granddaughter was young when my mother died. My father was already gone. Through these old photographs, she is learning to know them. She sees a child with a birthday cake, a woman as a flapper, a grandfather as a performer. In this pictorial journey she learns.

Remembering a past, learning of those who went before, stepping back in time to the Model T and goat carts can be a very special time between a grandchild and a grandparent.

We are the story tellers with a waiting audience.

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