Do you remember these, those little foldable picture frames that can fit in your pocket? My Mom has one carrying photos of her parents. These are the only photos I have seen of them so young. And I only know about these photos because they are framed printed photographs on display in my parents’ home on a book shelf. Every time I visit my parents, I see these images of my grandparents. I didn’t ever meet them when they looked like that. My earliest memories of my grandma, mostly consist of her struggling with Alzheimer’s. She would yell out of the blue, she was scary for a six year old. My grandpa wasn’t much better. When we would visit them, he would wander around the house clearing his throat everywhere he went. I still can hear the sound of him mustering up a great ball of snot out of his throat with a deep grunt followed by a firm spitting sound. I just thought he walked around spitting everywhere, but I don’t remember ever finding any evidence of that, not that I looked for it.
Now that I am older, many blind spots I had as a kid let up. My grandpa must have loved my grandma so much, as he took care of her himself at home rather than putting her in an assisted living home like so many people do. He took care of her for years. She scared me. But I can’t imagine how painful it was for him, to witness the love of his life lose memory of who he was, and what he was doing for her. His sacrifice isn’t shown in these little pictures my mom is holding, but you can see it in her eyes.
I have thought a lot about this printing fad my parents were a part of. Now we just post photos online, in Facebook or Instagram, and store them on our phones. It is cheap and convenient even for my parents. But my parents still have printed photographs throughout their home. And what if they didn’t? This photograph is the only digital copy I have of these pictures of my grandparents. If these pictures were never printed and framed, I wouldn’t be reminded of them every time I visit my parents, or even know what my grandparents looked like at that age. In this simple way of making a photograph a keepsake, my parents keep our dead alive. Now what once was a fad due to limited technology, is now a Taylor family tradition. My kids won’t realize until they are much older, how much we decorate our home with our favorite family photographs.
Keeping the visual memory of our families alive through framed photographic prints seams dated to the generation I find myself in. Is it really that rare to have framed photographs of our parents? Elise and I have decided to make a short film highlighting this dying tradition. If you have a framed picture of your parents or grandparents, we would like to record you holding it. The older the better. On April 30, please join us at the handball courts by the tennis courts at Lion’s Park (701 W Picacho Ave). Dress nicely, but wear whatever you are comfortable with, and bring a framed photograph of your parents or grandparents with you. The first twenty volunteers to RSVP (in Facebook) and come to the video shoot will receive a $50 print credit from Taylor’d Photography (see more info in facebook announcement). I know I am not the only person out there that has a portrait of my young parents from the sixties. Bring yours and let’s record a little bit of history together.