Thursday, March 11, 2010

family time

Whenever I get home to Chicago, and I'm bouncing all over the place trying to spend equal parts of time with my parents in the suburbs and my brothers all over the city and my best of friends in Wicker Park and some acquaintances that are fun to catch up with and the nice, all-grown-up neighbors I used to babysit and Lake Michigan, no matter what the season, and my favorite breakfast spot (which is a tossup between Victory's Banner, lovingly referred to as Cult Breakfast, and Kopi, and maybe The Handlebar, too) and sometimes also the Village Discount in Andersonville, I always try to set aside a few hours to go through photo albums.

It's sort of strange, really. I've seen them all a million times, and it always feels so new to look at them. It's inspiration, sure, but gives me a distinct feeling in my gut, too. Images just help me get things.

In my parents' basement, in floor to ceiling shelves, my mom has organized the albums chronologically. Some of them are these really rad old leather boxes with gold lettering, some are in fabric-covered super-90s books, and some are just scrapbooks. My mom has dated and commented on almost every photo, which I will thank her for until the end of my days.

My favorites are from the late 1970s, right after my parents were married, to the year 1985, when my oldest brother Tim was a mere 4 years old.
Sometimes I pilfer them, especially the old square prints like these, to inspire me for awhile before I return them.

Both of these photos are so indicative of where I came from, I can't even tell you. The suburban lawn chairs, the grass, the act of taking a photo of taking a photo, people everywhere--arms and legs and hands and jewelry and sleeves and knees in frame, my uncle Jimmy triple-fisting Old Styles, my grandmother's hair, her clasped hands, her blouse, those plaid shorts!, the frisbee.

When I am old I am going to sit down, my grey hair flying everywhere, and get comfortable with my kids or the young people I love and remind them to document.


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