Picture Day

Image result for elementary yearbook

There has lately been a flurry of talk at my house about picture-taking. First, there were the beginning of school pictures for the yearbook. Next, there were the soccer pictures to accompany the end of the season (which is just now occurring). Finally, one of my kids had a special school project that involved taking pictures of him in various stages of engagement with a special stuffed animal; this animal was our houseguest this weekend in honor of my son’s turn as “Student of the Week” in his class.

What struck me about all of these picture was not just the flurry of activity that we devoted to their creation, but my response to the picture-taking process (and, ultimately, the pictures themselves). For my almost-teenage daughter, school pictures are essentially a litmus test of her self worth, and thus she spent considerable time planning hairstyles, clothes, and different sorts of smiles to pull off the look she wanted. When she got her pictures home a few weeks ago, they were just as she had practiced. Everyone was pleased. Continue reading “Picture Day”

Coz these are the good old days

dairyI remember my dad, when I was younger, talking to a customer at the gas station that my parents owned and operated. The man was complaining about the price of gas going up and up and waxing nostalgic for how much it was years ago.

Now, my dad, who was born in 1923, also remembered things about the past but his memories ran counter to his customer’s; so I recall him replying with how much a quart of milk used to cost (yes, my dad once was a milkman, going door-to-door with a horse and wagon), pointing out that no one today seemed to complain about its astronomic rise in price — for if we use the early 1930s as our benchmark, when he was a kid, then the cost of milk has increased somewhere around 800% since then. Continue reading “Coz these are the good old days”

Pack Your Camera, We are Going on a Trip

ManhattanRussell McCutcheon’s post yesterday made me think of a recent trip I took to New York City with two friends, and Culture on the Edge’s members, Monica Miller and Leslie Dorrough Smith, before a workshop on Code Switching hosted by Monica Miller at Lehigh University. The reason that I was reminded of this trip is because the first night, as we were driving back to our hotel, we came across a view of Manhattan by night which was exactly as you see it in movies and postcards. Of course we decided to stop and enjoy the view, but simply watching Manhattan by night seemed not enough—maybe because, as I said, that’s a view you see in movies and it seemed somehow surreal that I was there, as if I was living someone else’s dream; so we immediately started taking pictures of that beautiful scene anticipating posting on FB for friends and family to see it too. Continue reading “Pack Your Camera, We are Going on a Trip”

Living in the Now

People-taking-foodI just read an article on smartphone etiquette in restaurants, in which the following quote appeared:

Picture 1This got me thinking a little more about the category experience. For it seems to me that the current trend of photographing your food is not, as Courtney thinks, an impediment to experience but, instead, is one of the ways in which we actually do experience it — that is, the object of experience, the “it,” is socially constituted and so, without the social (i.e., in this case, social media), there’s no experience to be had. Continue reading “Living in the Now”

“It is a Funny Thing…”

picasso-stein“It is a funny thing about addresses where you live. When you live there you know it so well that it is like an identity, a thing that is so much a thing that it could not ever be any other thing and then you live somewhere else and years later, the address that was so much an address that it was like your name and you said it as if it was not an address but something that was living and then years after you do not know what the address was and when you say it it is not a name anymore but something you cannot remember. That is what makes your identity not a thing that exists but something you do or do not remember.”

Gertrude Stein in Gertrude Stein, Everybody’s
Autobiography
(Random House [1937])

The Mighty Hercules

herculesSeeing Vaia Touna‘s recent post, on the creation of her own Greek identity, made me think about my own knowledge of Greece.

I was born in 1961, the youngest of four (the oldest of whom was born immediately after the end of Word War II), so that puts me at the tail end of the so-called baby boom. Television predated me, of course, but I was a member of the first generation weaned on it; so there’s a good chance that it was on television, and specifically in cartoons, where people like me came across the things that later turned out to be so much more complicated. Continue reading “The Mighty Hercules”

Short-term Memory

1239448_10101716135896975_1920941713_nOkay, I’ll go for a 9/11 post…but I’ll make it quick.  I’m seeing a lot of images on Facebook like the one above, posted by friends of various political persuasions.  All these friends can appeal to what they have in common, after all–a unifying sense of patriotism and national identity. Continue reading “Short-term Memory”

Gettysburg, Or How (And What) We Remember

gettysburg

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. Gettysburg is remembered as one of the most pivotal moments in the United States’ Civil War, in part for the way that momentum shifted towards the Union forces, but also because the largest number of lives were lost there than in any other battle in the conflict. Continue reading “Gettysburg, Or How (And What) We Remember”