Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My Treasures... Photographs

Yesterday I shared about how I consider memories a treasure. Today goes right along the lines of memories... photographs. Photographs help to capture the moments... the memories.

Sometimes you don't need words. Photographs alone tell a story. You just have to be careful and look closely. Look into the eyes, are they twinkling or full of sorrow? Is there warmth in the smile? Are the people standing close together, embracing or kissing. Can you feel the love? Are they standing apart? Can you feel their pain? Do they have peace? Do they have pain?

I have so many phtographs that I treasure. My mom wasn't good at keeping phtographs. So we don't have many of my siblings and me growing up. The ones my mom does have are special to me.

I'm proud to say that my dad was in the Army during the 60's. His native land is Cuba. That's where he was born and raised. When he left and came to the U.S., this became his home. My mom has a photograph of my dad stepping out of a plane. He's dressed in his uniform hat and all. It's in black and white. My dad looks so strong and proud. My sister made copies of it. So now, I too have copy.

Come summer time, we would vacation for one week in sunny Florida. The water was always crystal clear. The sand was soft. There is this a photograph of my dad on the beach where he is laying on a towel. My sister and I are beside him just looking at him. At the time it was taken she was 3 and I was 4. We had put a drink can on his belly. We were watching it go up and down as he breathed. This one is also in black and white. You can see all these little details. You can even see how we are mischievously smiling at what we were doing.

My favorite aunt was Victoria but we called her Tia Toya. Tia means aunt in Spanish. She was married to my granma's brother. So she really wasn't blood related, but she was love-related. She was always smiling and having fun. When we were younger we would go on vacations together. My mom has a couple of photograph of all of us on our trip to Washington DC. There's this one photograph of my Tio Manolo (uncle), her husband in an amusement park. He's sitting inside a ride that's a helicopter. Two were suppose to fit in the helicopter. Now my Tio Manolo was a BIG man. Not just a tall man, a BIG man. So one else could ride with him. We just told him that there was just more to him to love and then we'd squeeze him.

Tons of photographs were taken on my wedding day. We had over 500 guests. Being that I was the oldest of three and the first granddaughter to get married, it was a BIG occasion. I was grinning from ear to ear that day. I didn't even shed a tear. It was one of the happiest days of my life. I was 18 and my Knight had just turned 19. I love looking at my wedding album. I never thought I could be as happy as I was that day. I had no idea what was in store for me. As I always say... if you think this is good, the best is yet to be.

My brother is no longer with us. He passed away at the tender age of 19. Every photograph of him is a treasure. When I look at them, they help me to remember things that I can no longer remember on my own. I can hear his laughter, his teasing. In my minds eyes, I can see his smile. He only got to meet and love on two of my five children. I have a couple of photographs where he is blowing a bubble with his bubble gum. Our oldest was two at the time. He is holding her and she is trying to pop it with a kiss. To me this photograph is priceless.

It's one of my traditions to get a new Christmas picture frame every Christmas. In it I put a photograph of my five children. This is something I do for me. Two years ago, I had a brain operation. I was diagnosed with Chiari 2 Malformation with a 12mm herniation and hydrocephalus. So I was not "with it" that year. I don't remember much of what happened during that time. My sister took several photographs of my children and framed it for me. Words can't even describe what that meant to me.

I love looking through our albums. I have one for each of my children and then a family one too. I never get tired of taking pictures. My camera lives on our kitchen counter. I love taking pictures of things that I love and that are special to me. Sometimes our memories falter, but a picture preserves the moment.

"When we look at a picture, a moment of magic occurs. It is as if someone had laid a sheet of translucent paper over our thought and made a tracing of our memories."
-Tom Bentkowski

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