I just got back from Target where I had to print out almost 200 prints for my aunts and uncles of my grandmother's old photographs. My mother has been hoarding the slides of these guys for years, and she finally went out to Costco the other day to put them on a disc. I wasn't looking forward to waiting for all of these to print while I waited, but as they spit out of the machine one by one, I couldn't help but notice how beautiful they were.
My grandmother was always the one behind the camera when my mom was a kid, even before then. There are very few photos with her actually in them, so we always assume she's the one taking the photo. As I looked through these 60+ year old photos, I marveled at the crispness of film, and at the similarities between me and my grandmother.
My mom always took a photo of photos, but we always had cheap disposables growing up when I was a kid, and the photos themselves weren't that spectacular. Maybe it was the just the way the times looked back in the 50s compared to the 80s, but there's nothing quite like old 35mm film.
These are some of my favorites from that collection my mom had, of my grandpa, my uncles, my great grandparents, and the one at the bottom is my mom and uncle with my grandpa.
My favorite one is probably this one of my great great grandpa Radke. I'm assuming that this is in Minnesota, circa 1950s, because he doesn't look quite as old as he did in another photo when my mom was a baby. There's something so perfect and frozen about it, and about film in general.
Back then film was expensive, and when you took a photo and had it developed, you wanted it. There really are no crappy photos from that time saved because you didn't have infinite space on a memory card or laptop to save them.
I don't like thinking about the fact that this year will our 11th year without my grandmother at Christmas, because I was a grandma's girl. She was my only babysitter growing up and I was always her favorite (sorry Libby, but you are Grandpa's favorite). And now that the car I inherited from my grandparents when she was still alive has finally gone kaput, there's not much left that I have of hers. She dressed like the most cliche quintessential Midwestern grandmother, so it's not like we have vintage furs or jackets saved from her. She wore cat sweatshirts, embroidered t-shirts, and orthopedic shoes. I have her class ring on a chain that I wear around my neck quite often, and that's about it.
But having all these photos not only give me all these frozen moments from my family's youth, but it also gives me a glimpse of what she saw. Her eyes were always behind the camera, and now mine are. Now I have that role in the family, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Merry Christmas Grandma, we miss you.