Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's All There in Black & White 

Young Guns
Jake Rogers, Ruth Ross circa 1960

I spent a few minutes rummaging through some photo albums yesterday, picked out a handful of pictures and took them to the local pharmacy to scan them. Those Kodak photo kiosks are a real dog's breakfast of memory card slots, output trays and scanner drawers. Eventually, I managed to scan almost a dozen photos of my parents and relatives taken between 1955 and 1960 or so.

It is odd, seeing your parents at an age younger than yourself. They look so fresh faced and slim. It's so hard to imagine what they would be like if you'd met them. Not in some "Back to the Future" sort of way, but just on some kind of equal terms if you know what I mean. As it is we can never really know them like that. I sometimes think that when we are with friends and they are with their own children. Some day those kids will grow up, and wonder what their parents were like. Will they ever ask you, "What were they like, really?" You wonder what you'd have in common with them. I don't know if I would have anymore in common with my parents then than now. Certainly not music. Dad only ever enjoyed folk or country music of the simplest kind. Mom only ever seemed to like waltzes or Rogers and Hammerstein musicals. Music just wasn't something that occupied them. Books? My parents read, but nothing very contemporary (even for their own time). Films? That makes me laugh a little. They have so little interest in that sort of thing. Work and family. That seemed to be their only interest, their life was defined by work and family.

I've read that followers of Buddhism meditate by concentrating on the "now". On the moment. I've heard great athletes have an ability to focus on the moment better than most normal people. I used to admire that, but if you've ever been under the fog of pharmaceuticals you might know what "living in the Now" would be like. It would be terrible. No past and much worse to me, no future. I think of people with dementia or brain injuries who have lost memory and know that they live in the "Now" and it sounds horrible. I suppose even the phrase "living in the now" is overly simplistic. Living without learning from the past, without the ability to anticipate, that wouldn't be living at all, that would just be existing.

You can see the rest of the photos I scanned here.

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