My Most Prized Possession
My most prized possession? I could write about my Cabin – my little RV, my access to heaven on the road to freedom. I could write about my house, that I have loved for 26 years, built a life within, my sanctuary, my cave from the world when it becomes overwhelming. It isn’t my collection of books. Over the years I have learned to let them go and not become attached when I bring home new ones. It’s not my paintings or the binder full of my poetry that records my progress from childhood to the present.
What do I pull out lovingly every so often, pour over for days when I am in the mood, and would want to take with me if I could only bring one thing? I would have to say my most prized possession, is the broken down cardboard box containing the photographs that tell the story of my life, my family and friends.
I know photographs aren’t really possessions, they are tangible but not possessions. Photographs are memories brought to life through technology. A moment in time, stolen for a reminder later in life.
Contained in that torn cardboard box that I have taped and re-taped over the years ares the lives of my parents, my parents parents, my sisters, cousins, uncles and aunts, friends, colleagues and people I don’t even know. They tell two stories. The first one a history of my family. The second story a history of photography. The earliest photos were taken with little brownie cameras, black and white. Grainy tales of a time long gone. The pictures then graduate from polaroid’s to instamatics then to various 35 mm SLR’s and finally to my lovely digital Nikon D60 and the ever durable waterproof bright red Ricoh. I have lost three of the Ricoh’s. If you find them you will know they are mine, they have my pictures on them.
These precious photographs, hidden on the shelf in the basement behind ancient school year books, show farm life, city life, camping life and just life. The pixie cut, the bob, the shag, the curly perm, the relaxed perm, the perm set with infrared lights and the dye jobs. The little white dresses three year olds wore in the 50’s, the mini skirt, the midi- skirt, the maxi coat, bikini, the skort, the tube top, the several Canadian Forces uniforms and a few costumes worn for various stage productions. They take me on a trip around the world. Well, at least Canada. Toronto, Alliston, Montreal, cottage country, Ottawa, the Maritimes, Saskatchewan, BC, Vancouver Island, Alberta, many other cities in those provinces and back again.
Some of these little glossy, matte or fingerprint proof squares are, loose sorted in a not sorted order, others are put inside little photo books and albums, many are left inside their envelopes with or without their negatives.
Yes, these photos are the only things that cannot be replaced. Yes, I can conjure the memories in my mind and reminisce without the tangible reminders, but as long as I can, I will love hauling out that tattered box, and touching every single shot taken of the past.
Cheryle May 2015