3:43 p.m. - 2005-08-30
When we visited my mom in July, one of the many things we came home with was a large box full of slides, a slide projector, a screen, and a projector table. Talk about a home entertainment system. . .
I’ve been putting off this particular task since we returned. The thought of going through several decades of slides felt like a daunting proposition. Some of the slides would be from trips I had been a part of in the 60’s. Some (which … shhhhhh … don’t tell my mom …..went directly to the waste bin) were of Cub/Scout Jamboree’s that happened over 20 years ago. Some were family weddings and gatherings filled with faces that have long since left this earth, and were now mere faded memories.
But like gallant troopers we hedged onward and set to work on disentangling the history of my family. On one hand it was wonderful to re-live certain parts of my life. But on the other hand certain shots reminded me of unhappy times as well. How many of these people had passed on, and were no longer able to tell the stories. With each slide that went into my Spongebob waste bin a little more of my history went with it. T was determined that ANY pictures that had even a hint of me in them be saved. I on the other had was determined to hide, dismember, trash, eliminate, excise any semblance of unflattering as I could manage. Some things are just not meant to be kept.
With that in mind there was a set of slides I am determined to keep. For what reason, I do not know. But the little Kodak box with the date September 1955 firmly stamped on the inside lid will be put away into the archives of my family. This little box of approximately 24 vintage slides, slightly aging to orange with age, captivated my attention. It seemed that in the fall of 1955 a family friend took portrait photos of my mom, my dad, and my two brothers (at the ripe old age of 5 and 7), all individually. As I sat putting the slides in order into a slide tray, I would take small glimpses to make sure of my alignment. While in this process there were a few pictures that caught my attention in particular. These were mostly ones of my mom. She would have been 33 at the time, and I wondered how much of a reflection my hubby would see in me, albeit I am 10 years older now than she was then. As I looked at her in different 50’s style satin cocktail gowns, and sailing outfit her bright “Lucille Ball” red lipstick stood out the most. Until … that is, I came across more …. ah ….. very … ah ….artistic …. poses … (?)
I was not prepared to see my mom in her birthday suite, so to speak. And she would be mortified if she knew that I had found them. I am sure that they were long since forgotten. And for what purpose they were taken is anyone’s guess. She was not model material – then or now. She had no distinctive beauty that begged to be captured on film. My mind whirs with the question Why? And yet fascinated at the (often forgotten) realization that even my parents had lives, and functions, and emotions, and feelings.
The question I am now left with is … what should I do with them? Keep? Destroy? Send to good ol’ mom? Possibly reproduce them and have them blown up and framed as Christmas gifts for close family members? Wouldn’t the grand kids love to show off their grandma in the buff? OK, maybe not. I think I will keep these 60 year old slides, and stash them away for some other family member to stumble upon when I pass away.
For me – this weekend was definitely stranger than fiction.