Do some folks still collect photos and put them in an album, the way we used to? My guess is that most photographs never get printed – they get stored, electronically, in cell phones, digital cameras and iPads.
We used to store them in albums with black pages onto which you would glue the four corners into which you would secure the picture. Some pictures made their way into frames that were put on the mantle or hung on the wall or propped on end tables.
I have some favorites. For example, there’s a photograph of my brother Art and me sitting side-by-side in a goat cart that came to our neighborhood by an itinerant photographer. There’s a date on the front of the cart – in our case it said 1948. I was eight, Art was six.
Art and I were wearing warm coats, but not winter coats. The picture was taken on or near Art’s October birthday. We were living in West Medford at the time. That photo helps me to remember the day on which it was taken, and it brings a rich cargo of memories of those years together.
West Medford was the first place I called home. It located me in space, just as the birthdays located me in time.
Just before Art’s sixth birthday my brother John was born – on my eighth birthday, making a total of six boys. My sisters were born a few years later.
We had a victory garden in the back yard. Most of our neighbors had a victory garden, so called because it was war time. We had tomatoes, corn, string beans, onions, peppers and squash. My mother always put up 100 or so jars of tomatoes, and she made piccalilli with green tomatoes, onions, peppers and spices. Delicious! They lasted well into winter.
We walked to a neighborhood school, the Gleason – Mike Bloomberg went there, too, but he was a couple of grades behind me. In those days when we weren’t in school we went out to play, summer or winter. Playstead Park was next to the Gleason School – we spent a lot of time there, on swings, a slide and one of those circular things you sit on and someone pushes it to spin it around while you hang on for dear life. What’s it called?
We weren’t like the boy in Robert Frost’s Birches poem, ‘whose only play was what he found himself, summer or winter, and could play alone.’ We were never alone! We spent most of our waking hours outdoors, and we were never bored!
The photograph of Art and me in the goat cart hangs on the wall on the way up the stairs and it brought a flood of memories. Art lives in Livermore, Maine where he and his wife Mary have for twenty-plus years a thriving business selling windows, mostly, and some unfinished furniture, in a part of the country where most of the remodeling and maintenance work is do-it-yourself.
Art turned 70 this week, a milestone birthday, so I drove up to spend some time celebrating his birthday and reminiscing. I love that picture.