Monday, January 28, 2013


Father and Child, 1987
My oldest, at almost one, beloved by his father.

After I ran across this photo yesterday, I got to thinking about a series of black and white photos that were taken in my childhood home at the reception following my father's funeral. I remembered that my mother (possibly) hired someone, or maybe she asked a friend with a good camera to take the photos.

But the more I thought about it, the less likely it seemed that it had happened. Who takes photos at a funeral reception? And in 1966, color photos were the rage; B&W was something left over from previous decades.

What I recall is their stunning clarity of the many friends packed into our small house, and the details of couch, table, lamp. The 4x6" rectangles seemed too small to contain what had to be contained. And the background of potted mums, the funereal bouquets without color seemed without life.

I remember bouffants, and wing-tip glasses,

A phone call to a sister confirmed the fact of the photos existence, but not their whereabouts. I have my suspicions that they are in the coveted possession of yet another sister, along with additional boxes of additional photos, for some strange reason closely guarded. I once asked her if I could take some of them home so I could scan them, and she refused to let them go.

I realize that my many years of recall have most likely distorted details, perhaps added a layer of embroidery to their two-dimensionality. It may be, after all, that they are most unremarkable.

Which of course begs the question of whether I really want to see them.

And the answer is "yes".

Reilly and his cat Alice, in her last minutes, 2009


  1. photos - perplexing things... the taking of, keeping of, archiving of, sharing of, remembering of.... funeral photos strange but not so ... given they are a time when people gather - sad thoughts ...
    love these pics, T - both lovely X

  2. This is so poignant. Sometimes memory and photograph merge. Ask your sister again.

  3. of course you want to see them. maybe you could take the scanner to her so the photos don't leave her sight?

  4. I love these musings -- snaps of words as well as snap shots.