Thursday, January 26, 2012

Photos & Family Musings

So Angie is getting real excited about her upcoming photo shoot (2/13 - the day before my birthday!) for her new album release. She posted this self-styled photo with the tutu I made on her Facebook page yesterday:

I love it! What do you think? I'm real excited to listen to the rough cut CD Angie gave me last night to listen to, along with lyrics and chord charts for the songs she'd like me to sing back-up and/or play cello on. I'm actually listening to it right now as I type. It's good! I'm honored she has asked me to be part of such a cool project.

On a completely different note, it occurred to me mid-commute yesterday how much less my son will have to rely on his visual memory than I have as far as childhood memories go. Monkey, like most of small people his age, I'm guessing, takes technology for granted. "Let's make a video" is a matter of using daddy's iPhone, mommy's Blackberry, or the FlipCam. Taking pictures is a similar matter. When I was 6, photos were taken for special occasions on clunky cameras with 35mm film. It was a big deal when my mom pulled out her camera, the one her father gave to her when she was a teenager. People used to be lucky to have a photo taken of them at all in their lifetime. Today, we can take hundreds of photos in an hour without much thought or effort. Stop and consider that for a moment. Really. It's momentous.

Check out the photo below:

One of these five men is my great-grandfather, Alfred Causley, known as Alf to his friends. He was my mother's mother's father, a Barr Colonist who homesteaded near Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, in the early 1900s. He worked with the Canadian National Railway as a pumpman for 11 years in North Battleford before being transferred to the Dundurn District. This is how my grandmother and her brother came to be raised in a boxcar home. In 1940, he retired to Saskatoon, where he died in 1949, at the age of 75. This is one of two photographs I've ever seen of my great-grandfather Alf, the other being in an old photo album at my mother's house and picturing Alf, his wife and their two children standing in front of their boxcar home. I love that this photo has some of his friends and the family's personal effects in it, though. Imagine how much more precious those photos must have been when they were so rare and valuable.

My Christmas present to my father this year was a promise that I am going to interview him about his family so that I can write down all the stories that have not yet been told. Especially poignant, I think, since I didn't grow up with him - these stories will be new to me, as well as a gift to my child and his cousins. I want them to know where they come from in a way that my sister and I never knew growing up. I don't begrudge them the conveniences of capturing memories via modern technology - I just hope they take advantage of the opportunity to record their chapters of our family history.

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