Sunday, March 15, 2015


I don't know how this proud, and perhaps slightly anxious boy is. This tiny photo, part of a contact sheet of three pictures taken at some kind of carnival/amusement park, was one of the things in a folder full of vintage photos from my grandmother's things. The sign in German (Eilt-sehr! -- Very urgent! so, caution for sure) makes me even more perplexed; this was the grandmother who did not come from a long line of Germans and Austrians (that was the other grandmother).  Her ex-husband, my beloved Papa Paul, was born to a German father and Irish mother -- but everything about the age of the photo wouldn't make sense and I have no reason to think that Paul would have ever gone to Germany as a child (and lots of reasons to think that never could have happened). My grandmother's things are mostly about my dad, her only child -- and he's the most reasonable boy to suspect except for the part about the signs being in German (he definitely didn't travel abroad as a child).

Most of the photos in this particular stack are without any kind of labels on them and I'm limited in the people I can identify.  I can distinguish family members I knew or knew of, and don't know which are photos of friends.  Makes me think about how it is that junk shops/antique stores end up with boxes and boxes of old photos; if the people who end up with them don't know who's in them, then the photos seem worthless.  Given that I'm the sort of person who buys old photos from junk shops and sometimes online, I'm going to hold on to these.  But, it's a good reminder to start labeling so that Dean doesn't end up with cartons of photos that seem worthless.

Meanwhile, I'm delighted and relieved to have him home after his month in Panama.  I am listening to his stories and looking for signs of change; it is the kind of experience, on the bring of turning 17, that dictates all kind of change.  I'm mindful of how hard it can be when you are growing up to know that you are changing -- to reach for and embrace change on the journey to becoming -- and yet to feel constrained in time and in being by your family.  We play a role in our families that depends in part on our being who they think we are, and that can be difficult to deal with when they don't see or acknowledge when we've grown past their vision of us.  I want to honor and see the person he is becoming, even as I acknowledge all the difficulties in that for me (I age less, for one simple matter, when he doesn't grow up).

"Riesenrad" -- that's Ferris Wheel.  Held in place, going around but coming right back. Moments held in time as people move on. I hope it was sunny that day.