The Photograph KeeperLaura Ann Miller
This post is about photographs and a dress and book I recently stumbled across..
My Grandma had to clean out her home of more than 50 years to move into a smaller apartment. There were boxes of photographs in the basement and albums on book shelves and photos on the walls. I had a chance to go through some of those photos with her before she moved. My Grandma told me details about the events and the people in the photos and scribbled names in pencil on the backs for me. What a mix of memories –Great great grandmothers and grandfathers, cousins and friends, birthdays and world wars.
I took a box of the photos home with me.
Then it was my mother in-law’s turn. She took on the task of packing up her childhood home and moving her dad from Buffalo to Florida to live with her. She brought back photographs as well. More life, more memories, more family history, all told through little square and rectangular pieces of paper.
The dress was my mother in-law’s first communion dress. She gave the dress to my little girl. My daughter loved the dress. She wore it around the house playing dress up whenever she had the chance. It made me happy her dress up play had a bit of family history woven in.
When we took a trip to visit family in Buffalo I knew I had to take the dress. I carefully packed up the dress in the suitcase. When we arrived I asked my husband if he remembered where his mom’s old childhood house was located. He did and I told him my plans. My daughter put her dress on and we headed out for the adventure. I didn’t think about the people who lived in the house currently and what they might think. A slight overlook in my plans! I started to think of what I would say as I knocked at the door. Thankfully it was the middle of the day on a weekday. The family and most of the neighbors were gone. My daughter hopped out of the car for our mini photo shoot and I grabbed a few quick shots. I knew these little photos of a dress returned to place would be a sweet gift.
I came across Girls Standing On Lawns by Maria Kalman and Daniel Handler in Anthropologie. Art by Maria Kalman, words by Daniel Handler and old photographs of girls on lawns. -I fell in love.
I immediately thought of the photos of my daughter standing in her grandmother’s dress on the lawn in Buffalo. I wondered about those photos my mother in-law had brought back from her childhood home…
” One morning we found some photographs.
One morning these girls stood on lawns.
We looked at the pictures, and we got to work.”
I think this is possibly my favorite compilation from the book-
“My whole life I have not known where to put my hands.”
This seems like a brilliant solution to me. I think I would very much like to be photographed in exactly the same way.
I spent this past week at my mother in-law’s house. I asked my her about her old photos. I wondered if there were any of her in the dress on the lawn. I went through boxes full of photos. She asked if I wanted them. Of course! She said I was the only one who would be interested in those old photos.
I didn’t find one of her in the dress on the lawn, but I did find other photos. Here are a few of my favorites of my beautiful mother in-law, a girl standing on the lawn.
I have a few old family photographs in frames. I think I would like to arrange the rest of my collection and put them together in a book from Blurb to pass down to my kids. I think this way they would be more easily viewed and enjoyed and not just stashed away in box somewhere.
What do you do with all of your old family photographs?