I’m up to the mid-1970s in the photo-scanning project now. There are four big plastic bins of photographs, but the first one is the longest – it’s got the albums that my brother put together, while the others have a great many photographs in frames, so in terms of photos per unit volume this box is by far the densest.
I went past my parents’ wedding a while ago, but I’m going back to it here. They were married in May of 1963, forty-nine years ago now, and it was a well-photographed event. Most of them are in color, and quite a few were taken by professionals. This is my favorite of the wedding photos I’ve seen, though.
I don’t know who took this picture. It wasn’t the official photographer – you can see him on the right there, with the bull moose of a camera that was what professionals used in 1963. You can also see his assistant in the mirror, holding an array of lights.
It was taken at my grandparents house on Willows Avenue, probably before the ceremony rather than after, during a moment of quiet between frantic activities. That’s how weddings are, really – run, stop, run, stop, run, stop, run. I remember my own wedding being that way.
Part of why I like this picture is my mother there, in the middle, looking like she’s trying to figure out what comes next, or just glad for the respite in all the commotion.
But mostly, I like this picture because right over her head, reflected in the big mirror, is my grandfather, off to the side of events, looking at his little girl all grown up now. Nobody’s really paying attention to him – he is, appropriately, not the center of attention on this day. But I’m guessing he’s remembering at this moment, thinking back over the years, and wondering what is coming up next.
My own daughters are still young and have years to go before they reach this moment in their lives. But at some point that will be me there, standing off to the side and wondering how it all went by so fast.