Ancient History, Part One

A few weeks ago, during one of my manic tidying frenzies, I thought: okay, I’ve done the clothes, the books, a lot of the other household crap, I’m ready for photographs. I thought – stupidly – that this would not be a difficult task. Yes, I have a LOT of photographs (my father is a photographer and the first 10 years of my life are well, if not overly, documented). But….not THAT many, surely. So, I pulled all the boxes of envelopes of photos (Marie Kondo would have you throw these envelopes and the negatives away. No, no, no! Do not do this!) out of my closet, along with the many albums. I also had a two-foot high stack of framed photos. I took these all out of the (falling apart) frames and was left with many huge piles of photographs and….then….something major in my brain, like the mother of all synapses, fried to a cinder. There was an audible snap, like when you hear a transformer die on the next block. I could see that nerve ending whipping around in my skull like a live wire cut from a light pole in a storm. I had to leave the room for a minute.

What the HELL was I thinking? How in the WORLD would I even start? Maybe I could sort them into three categories: before I was born (all time until 1966), before my children were born (1966-2000), photos of my kids (2000 to present). After about 5 minutes of this nonsense, I couldn’t take it and shoved all the loose photos into shoe boxes and shoved everything (neatly, tidily) back into my closet. Next big snowfall, maybe I’d revisit this. Or, maybe not. Who were they hurting taking up all that space in there? Nobody.

In the process, though, I drug out a box containing a carousel of slides. You remember slides, right? If you don’t, you’re too young. Go google it and get back to me.

I thought at first it would be slides of my mother’s paintings. She took a million billion trillion photos of her art (as did my dad) which were turned into slides which were then sent in to galleries when submitting applications for art shows and such. And job applications. Crazy 20th century stuff.

But I was wrong. I discovered a missing piece of my past. All the slides covered a few slices of time between about 1971 to about 1974. Give or take. I’ve never seen any of these photos before and that is saying something. I took them to a camera place and had them put on a CD so they were useable and shareable.

I thought I’d start with the beach photos because my mind is thinking BEACH these days and this is where my beach romance began. I date these to the summer of 1972 because my sister was 6 months old and may have still had the chicken pox. I can’t remember. I think, because my grandmother is with us, that we were in Nags Head. Now, if you’ve been to Nags Head lately, you’ll understand why I can’t go to the Outer Banks any longer. Because THIS, my friends, is how I remember it and how it was supposed to have stayed. Had it not been for rich people needing to grab every square inch of the Atlantic coast line and build towering teetering mansions along it. (And if I’m horribly wrong, and this is Virginia Beach, I feel the same way. I vacation down the road in Sandbridge now. It’s built up but it’s not teeming with millions of people.)


Nana, Mom, and me. I remember this bathing suit. I had many but I loved this one. Look at all that NOTHINGNESS behind us. Sure there are cottages behind the dunes but they are low slung, all the better to ride out hurricanes. Look at all the NO PEOPLE! Bliss.


Aw, here’s me and my sister. She was actually pretty terrified of the ocean back then. Just like Red was at that age. But while she looks apprehensive here, it might have been the discomfort of the pox more than the waves.


Me at my happiest. As long as I was coated in salt water with a crotch full of sand, I was good.


My dad. Yep, it was the ’70’s for sure. He’s probably hunting for shells.


My sister hidden under netting, similar to the way I protect my tender garden seedlings so that bugs and birds don’t eat them. Maybe a seagull looked at her funny. Fortunately, she’s alive and well so that seagull had to find his dinner elsewhere.

There are more and some of my mother pregnant with my sister and looking stunning. Like I’ve never seen her before. Perhaps part two will be all photos of her. I’m sure her house is full of surprises like this but I won’t know until I have to dig it all out one day. Until then, I’m satisfied with this small time capsule.


7 thoughts on “Ancient History, Part One

  1. Screw Marie Kondo. Most stuff IS just stuff, but photos are the real deal. Take your time and enjoy the trip(s) down memory lane.

    • Ha! Yeah, I mainly want to organize them, not get rid of them but that was just beyond me. I’ll have to chip away at it slowly.

  2. The data scientist in me says “no! no! don’t throw away the negatives! that’s where the information is!” Pictures curl, tear, and fade. A well kept negative (or a good scan of one) will let you make as many paper photos as you want, for as long as you want.

  3. Man, I am envious! I wish I had such well-preserved bits of my past – my childhood. I long to know about what kind of child I was, exactly. As a child, you look so much like your little one. (Hope my eyes aren’t playing tricks on me.) You have your mother’s confident shoulders/stance. I would totally rock her swimsuit- good for my curves.

    Those images are gifts. There is amazing insight in them. Take care of them, my friend.

  4. Yes, great pix. And that suit your mom is wearing, with the buttons, is killer. I mean, you could wear that today, no prob.

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