When my daughter’s take pictures of me now I can’t help but think about what they will look like to my grandchildren forty years from now. Will they look at them as closely as I look at pictures of my parents and grandparents? Will I look young to them, compared to what they know me as then? I want them to see me with my hair dark and spiked with silver. I want them to see how I look with them, as babies. I want them to see them in my arms and know they were safe and secure. I want them to see life is full with them in my pictures, and me in theirs.
I want them to see a slice of my life and wonder about me, and how my life changed with them in it. I want them to wonder about me when they see pictures of me as a teenager, and wonder about the others in the pictures with me.
I want them to see me strong, young, healthy. If I was to delude myself I would say I would look that way to them when I am 87. I hope to look damn good when I am 87, but I know I will not look 47 when I am 87. I want them to see I was not always 87. But I want them to see the path to 87 and that it changes. And that it is good.
I look at pictures from the past, my past, my family’s past and I look for clues. I don’t know why. But I keep thinking that there are things pictures will tell me that words can’t, or won’t, tell me. I want to have knowledge of people’s history. And by the way- I am thinking I should have become a history major, or even an historian. Or maybe a genealogist. There is so much to know about who we are, where we came from. When I read in the news that the first picture with a person in it has been “discovered” I get all excited. Who was it? What’s his story. I do assume it’s a guy. Did the picture takers put him there? What did the people taking the picture have planned? Did they know that almost two hundred years later people would be contemplating that picture? Personally, I think of those people who take the picture and want to know their story. I want to have a glimpse of it, of their daily lives. What were they doing? What was life like then?
I see pictures from my past, the past, and I want to know more. I want that slice of history to play in my head. I want to live that moment in the 1850’s. The 1920’s. The 1950’s. The moments captured that lead me to imagine stories and take me meandering down wondering paths.
I want my grandkids to look at pictures and wonder. Be curious. I want them to see a slice of a world they didn’t live in and contemplate it. Try to picture it. What was life like, back then, as we live it now. Who are those people? What was it like? I want them to stare at these pictures, looking for clues, trying to see something that a flat one dimensional picture can’t tell them.
Then ask me about it.