Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Freezing of a Frame & the Tethering of Time

If the decision was mine to make,
and Time was mine to tether,
I'd snap a picture of this moment now
and freeze this frame forever...

I would if I could but I can't so I shan't.  

While in Florida last week, Kara, Jill, and I looked through a lifetime of Mom's memories, which she had preserved in photographs that I do not believe I had ever before seen.  Any number of them were extraordinary.  One, however, was something more than that.  It was stunning. 


Mom was born in 1928 and presumably she graduated from high school in 1945 or 1946 when she was seventeen or eighteen.  I know not whether you suffer from the same infirmity but I have difficulty imagining people who I know from a certain point in their life forward as they must have been prior to my making their acquaintance.  In an instant I was reminded that long before she was Mom, she was Joan Kelly. Mom as a kid.  Who would have thunk it? But there she is, with her perfectly-coiffed hair, smiling at the camera, immune still from the ravages and heartaches of life that awaited her as they await us all.  

Hers is a face that bespeaks, perhaps, innocence and, most certainly, a sense of hopefulness. She was born less than eighteen months prior to the onset of the Great Depression and was a World War II teenager, growing up not in "post-war America" but as war raged in Europe and in the Pacific. It is an extraordinary photograph.  I must admit that I had never thought about it until I saw it but Mom, herself, was part of the Greatest Generation.  In retrospect, I do not know why I would have ever thought differently.  There could not have been a more perfect fit. 

Yesterday, while I was at the office, Margaret and Joe spent some quality time with Suzanne and Maggie.  As she does during her daily visits to Suzanne's, Margaret sent me photos of "the Franchise".  I share them almost reflexively with Jill and Kara.  During Mom's final, eleven-day stay in the hospital, Kara would, in turn, share them with Mom.  It occurred to me before Maggie was born that there was an excellent chance that Mom would never meet her in person. I wanted to make sure that Maggie was not a stranger to Mom.  To that end, I bombarded her with photographs.  She loved them.  And she loved the great granddaughter whose acquaintance she never got to make. 

Margaret's "picture of the day" yesterday was one for the ages.  It starred Maggie and Joe, looking at one another with a look that says all that ever needs to be said.  A look that spanned four generations and eighty-four years as if neither was much of an obstacle. A look that said right there and then nothing else in the world matter one damn bit.  Not to him.  Not to her.  


In a world full of rough customers and less-than-pleasant experiences, it is nice to be reminded what love looks like.  And it always makes me smile when I see it.  

Yesterday, I smiled twice.  That is one hell of a good day.  

-AK 



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