Only Scraps in the Book

As I was leafing through the scrapbooks that record my childhood, It struck me that we unfortunately record only the “high spots” of our lives–mostly birthdays and Christmases–and don’t take nearly as many pictures of the days that actually make up the bulk of our lives and which really are more revealing of our true selves than the others are. What can you really know about what a person was like by seeing her sit behind a lit cake with piles of presents beside her? Or what is revealed in a posed picture by a Christmas tree? The real content of our lives lies in the things that make us distinctly us: for me, that would have been being up on my willow tree platform writing, where I practically lived from sixth grade until they cut the tree down, but not a single picture exists of me there. Or me reading in a bright yellow vinyl bean bag, or sitting at my plywood desk under the slope of my bedroom stairs, or putting another record onto my orange and white suitcase record player. Where is a picture of me walking barefoot down the road that ran in front of our house, or one of all of us spending countless Sunday afternoons in winter sledding down the hill across from Sugar Grove road with the rest of the church gang? Not one picture of us running back from Sunday evening services on the same road, or us whizzing around the yard on the mini bike we had for a while. Rolling in the big spice barrels Dad would bring home from Bartlow Brothers? Streaming out miles of wiener casings in wild angles all around the yard, pinning whoever we could get to agree to it to a tree by wrapping yards of it around them, the tube in our hand endlessly expanding with a whir as we flew in crazy circles around our victims. Only one snow man picture to stand as the representative example of the ones we made every year of our childhood. Where is a picture of us leaping up for lightening bugs to catch in our mason jars? Or of us sitting in ancient wooden pews in the yellow glow of swinging light bulbs in the camp meeting tabernacle, where we spent every night for two weeks of every summer. Only one picture of us at Grandma Goldsborough’s, and that one posed and stiff, not at all how I remember the wonderful freedom of running into the kitchen from outside, smelling the scent of rolled sugar cookies cooling on the table, or pumping the porch swing into arcs so high that it thumped against the chains at the roof. And, though we spent a week of every summer alone at Aunt Violet’s, each of us, there isn’t a single picture to represent the morning packing of her plaid satchel with lunch items and games to play, no picture of us with her at the post office, stamping mail with her or going behind the curtain that separated the post office from the kitchen, trying on a not-yet-completed dress that she would sew for us at every visit. So much is missing from the scrapbook, but I am amazed and glad to discover that there are clear pictures inside of me that writing can draw.

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One Response to Only Scraps in the Book

  1. Kelsey says:

    This post is begging for a photo! 🙂

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