We have three steamer trunks full of old photographs in the closet. Nobody ever opens them, nobody’s ever tries to sort them out, separate the sepia shots from the 60’s and 70’s from my brother’s late 90’s high school portraits. Sort out my parent’s travel pictures from Israel and Ecuador and Peru, or categorize the old silver prints from the turn of the 20th century showing family I don’t recognize or remember. Photographs of my brothers and I running around our swimming pool in Brasil, around our swimming pool in Portugal, around our swimming pool in Spain. Black and white shots from my high school graduation trip through Europe, stark cathedrals rearing up above me in Germany, in England, in Spain. Christmases and birthdays and random photographs of bright, sunny days.
So today I stole out my mother’s scanner, loaded the software, hauled out a chest and cracked it open. Sorted the sheaves of old birthday cards and postcards off to one side, and began to upload pictures in groups of five. And it was great, and sad, and fun, and strange. Places I’d forgotten, but which came swimming back slowly as I stared at the living rooms and bedrooms, the old posters and swimming towels. My brothers at 5, 12, 17. My grandfather, dead these fifteen years, wearing his horn rimmed glasses and turning steaks on the grill. My mother and dad, young and with silly looking hair, wearing improbably wide collars and equally wide smiles.
The picture above is of my Brasilian grandfather and grandmother in the early 70’s, going for a drive in their brand new car. I think that car is totally awesome, and whole heartedly approve of my grandfather’s choice. If I could have that now to cruise around in, I would go for it in a heartbeat. Install some modern sound equipment so I could jack in my music, and just ease on down along the coast, shades low on my nose, a six pack on ice in the back, looking for a lonely spot of golden sand to park by where I could lounge with a book and the seagulls and a lazy afternoon stretched out before me.
I only got through the first third of this trunk. There’s still tons and tons to go. If I find any other photographs which are as awesome as the above, I’ll be sure to share.