This is the big one but I only have the energy for a small portion of it today. I took my sister to help me figure out some of the details I was missing. We visited the old neighborhood I grew up in and the house we moved into when my dad was remarried. The houses in the neighborhood, (including our house) look a lot better than they did in 1986 so I’ll just use old photos to complete the project.
It was strange going around taking these Polaroids, people were out in their yards making it difficult to take these photos undetected. I had gone up to an older man who was eyeing me suspiciously. He was wearing a ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ tee shirt and I thought it could go either way whether he was going to let me take a photo of his house or not. I went up to him and immediately started crying and told him why I wanted to photograph his home. I told him that after my mother had died, the people who lived in that house basically adopted me for the summer. It started out as me spending the night and every night I’d call my dad and ask him if I could spend another night. I don’t remember much about them other than the fact that they made suckers and sold them to the families in the neighborhood. I also remember Mrs. Craig being like a mother to me, they were my second family.
The man told me, after I’d explained this to him, that I had the wrong house. He said his wife lived there for 33 years. I thought that I must’ve had the wrong one and as I went to set up to take a photo of the house next door (that didn’t feel was quite right) his wife came out. She said that she’d lived there longer than her husband and that maybe she could answer my questions. I couldn’t remember the name of the family but as she listed the names of the people who had lived there, I recognized the name Craig. That was it, that was the house. They allowed me to take the photo and told me that they were friends with the Craig’s on Facebook.
I recognize now that living with this family was probably my way of coping. I didn’t want to return to my house that now had a huge void. I didn’t realize the finality of my mother passing and I think I was running away from something I didn’t quite understand. I’m glad that my father allowed me to process in that way.
I am torn about being reacquainted with these people from the past. I feel a deep connection with them as a part of my story and I feel a deep love for them but I wonder whether things might be better left in the past. Maybe it’s because I don’t feel like I can express in person what they mean to me and I don’t think I’m very good at being able to maintain a relationship that has this much importance to my story without diminishing it somehow.
I have probably two more stories left from this trip and maybe a few more for the overall project. I’m not sure what this will turn into, if anything. I’m not sure how to organize it to make it a fluid story, but my memories aren’t fluid, which is why I chose polaroids to document it. I’m not even sure if anyone is interested and still reading, but I promised a friend that I’d finish, and even if it ends up being nothing it’s still important to me.