Sunday, April 15, 2012


This is the camera I looked into for about 19 years of my life. And those were the years I lived in Utah, Texas, Nevada, Wyoming and Idaho, went to Disneyworld, wore my first swimsuit, took my first steps, took off for my first day of school, even ran through my backyard sporting my first perm. That's the lens I gazed back at as some of my greatest milestones slipped away and my father watched them through the viewfinder and clicked a few judicious shots. Now in those days, of course it was film. So, you took a picture maybe two, not 1000. And you never really knew what shot you got until the entire roll was spent and you dropped it off for developing.

Use of the camera was rare enough; I knew that something was very special if I saw my father slide it in his pocket. I also knew he wanted to remember the event, remember me. The moments caught with a click and then the zip, zip, zip of him cranking the film to the next frame.

As sharp as I may be, my memory isn't. Some of my memories are really just memories of the photos taken and the stories retold. In fact, one of my favorite memories is a picture of my father that was taken with this camera. He was 19, single, living in Germany. Obviously, there was no me so it's not really my memory. But when I think about my father, sometimes that’s the image that comes to mind, not the way I most recently saw him.

About the same time I moved away and struck out on my own, my father stopped using that camera. As strange as it sounds, I started to worry about it. Where would it go? Would it be discarded? Forgotten? Destroyed? And then I decided I couldn't handle that. So, I asked my father if I might have it for my inheritance.

This year for my birthday, he sent it to me. (Don't worry; he's still alive and kicking.) He sent me the camera that documented flashes of my growing up.

The Rollei is not the only thing I inherited from my pop. I inherited his hair color, his strangely fleshy knuckles, and his running stride. I suppose there are a few other things, things that are obvious in photographs. But there also a few things that are not. Whether the gifts you inherit are waves of nostalgia skidding across your brain, pumping through your veins, or making your heart skip a beat they are yours to keep, create your life around, and sometimes pass on to the next line of warriors in your family. Learning the significance of each and how they bind us together and remind us how alike we are is what helps us survive the journey.

I knew I should have asked for the corvette.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Games Boys Play, VI

Favorite toy of the sons of a seamstress? The cardboard tube at the center of bolts of home dec fabric.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Hoppy Hoppy Joy Joy

How we hopped to it, a photo essay. And the crafts.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Reader of the Day

Our first grade teacher – like many first grade teachers – has a fun tradition of encouraging reading in front of others. She calls this Reader of the Day. Coop has participated in this three times over the past year. One of the performances, I’m sorry to say; I missed because Cooper forgot to tell me about it.

But his most recent was fun to watch. I noticed in him a true confidence that has grown so much since the first time I watched him attempt this task.

This task, however, has got me thinking about public speaking and its value in the elementary classroom. Coop has thrived in this environment. I can’t help but wonder how all the other students feel about it. You know, by other I mean the students with a temperament like my Mason.

I used to be a Speech 101 teaching assistant at Utah State University. I sat through hours and hours of public speeches. Holy Mother Theresa, some of the most boring and equally agonizing hours of my life. You see, I don’t like to see people embarrassed. It gives me stress. Real and true stress.

Every time an international student would take the podium and struggle with both language and nerves I would nearly vomit. And it wasn’t just students with a language barrier. There were students who embodied the euphemism: I’d rather die than deliver a speech to a room full of people. Do you know what happens to people when they are nervous? They make absolutely no sense. None. Try grading jibberish.

Public speaking has never been an issue for me. Ironic since I am actually terribly shy. My husband, however, would rather lick the bottom of his shoe than speak to a group larger than 12. No kidding. I empathize with this because I would rather deliver a child without pain meds than sing karaoke. For reals. In fact I’d even take that kid home and raise it for 18 years before I would agree to sing in front of anyone. Any. One.

What brings you discomfort? And how much? Would you eat a sandwich out of a rubbish bin if it meant you never had to take a math test?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Fool’s Rules

Of course we observe the national day of silliness, April Fool’s Day. But I don’t go in for practical jokes and pranks. Frankly I don’t like being taken by surprise and I’m not very gracious about it. So, I just bend the rules and routine of a typical day and call it good.

Today we had dessert for breakfast. Not a nutritional rule was abided and I didn’t even feel guilty about it. The boys weren’t any more or less well-behaved. They didn’t appear to have any more or less energy. And they certainly did not seem any more or less brilliant.

Because we began our day up to our eyes in cake and whipped cream we closed the evening with scrambled eggs, bagels, yogurt, and mini muffins. It was all washed down with the quintessential breakfast beverage – O.J.

I liked the fool’s rules.

While we’re on the topic of food, I thought I would share with you a kidism of a couple of weeks past. My husband made the error of grabbing on to a cup of coffee he had just reheated in the microwave only to scorch himself. This provoked the all too awesome shout of, “Son of a B**ch!”

Yes, he said it. He said it loudly. We all sat in silence for a beat and then Mason squealed in laughter. Once the laughter subsided I expected something of a long discussion about the reasons we don’t usually use this word in front of moms and teachers. But instead Mason threw back his head as if to laugh once more but said, “You said Son of a Sandwich, ah ha ha ha hah a!” Then he slapped his knee and started laughing again.

Wish yesterday’s episode of road rage ended so well.