Monday, December 4, 2017

A Sackful of Memories

I recently came across this bag of images, like, real old time photos, you know, the kind you had to have developed and wait for.  I was looking for a headshot for the post I did earlier this month, Forward Looking Back.  The bag was in a chest I've been trundling about for most of my adult life.

I'm afraid to look at them all.  Is that silly?  I guess maybe a little.  Honestly, I like looking back on my life... usually.  But, I know that these are from the eighties and nineties, maybe the early aughts and, well, I wasn't always happy in those days.  I was lonely and I thought life was not really going my way and, well, sometimes that can be hard to admit, hard to think about.

Also, these days, as a parent with all the activity and responsibility that entails, I wasn't ready for the onslaught of memory that looking through these photos might bring on.  I was afraid I'd cry or laugh or recoil or, actually, be physically overwhelmed by them all at once.

But, I know there is a lot in that bag, images I should see again, just, you know, not all at once.  Let's do this, I'll pull one out at random and I'll tell you about it.

Well... okay then.

I was right, this is gonna hurt a little.  That's me in the fall of 2002.  Marci and I went down to the Smokies and were tent camping.  We had a lovely site, right on a creek that ran through the campground.  It was a beautiful trip.

So, I guess the question is, why does it hurt?

I have to tell you, I had to stop working on this post.  I started it this afternoon and it is now well after dinner.  You see, I couldn't figure out why it hurt so much.  I mean, I look happy, fit, slim, pretty macho there with the water pouch strapped to my thigh.  The photo itself didn't bring up any of the negativity I was afraid it might.  The background is lovely, the creek, the fading fall colors.  I know I was having a good time.

I think I know.  I'm not sure I want to tell you, but, I will.  It's hard, especially as an older parent, to realize that your children will never see you in your prime.  They've always known me wrinkled and gray and heavy and, well, old.  I doubt they'll have many memories of me under fifty considering that they were six when I turned over that half century mark.

They'll never see that I was young once, vital and full of life and energy.  They'll never know that I wasn't just the life of the party, I was the party.  I was funny and happy, hopeful and bright-eyed (most of the time), carefree and careless.  Actually, I sometimes forget that as well which sort of doubles the hurt.

To them, I'm afraid I will always be old, done, tired, sore...

I really shouldn't admit to all this.  I should try to regain that attitude, I guess.  But, I am who I am, this is where I've arrived.  I know, truly, that old isn't the only way they see me.  They see me happy and funny and sort of vibrant, but, dammit, I wish they could have seen me shine.

I did once, you know.

I guess that's all for today.

Hopefully, next time a reach into the bag, I'll get something less, well... sad.

Peace, as always, and, hey, thanks.


  1. Not sad, just honest.
    That's what those photos are for - so they can see you shine!

  2. Thanks Bill For Short, I recently went through a similar experience with Julia's funeral. We brought out all the photo albums to do photo memory boards for the service. The kids helped alot. Julia had also put up about half of the pics on an internet thing called Photobucket. My son Levi went through and picked 40 pics of his mom for the music video that played at the beginning of the service. One day we the 3 of us and two of J's first cousins from Chicago and J's Mom (85) went through about a dozen actual albums pulling pics. Later I went through several on my own and later with kids again putting pics back where we had removed them from. I haven't cried like that . . ever.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Mark. I'm sorry for your lost, but, you know what?, I'm rarely sorry for tears anymore.

  3. It is easy to forget what we once were.
    I know from first hand experience, and the fact that I was just handed a box of old photos my parents were storing. So I was forced to go through them as well. I faced a much younger, eager, fit, and optimistic version of myself - and many of the photos were from my years of Canoe Camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Minnesota. A place I long for, but have not visited since I was 20 years old.