11 April 2009

Escape to Wisconsin

A while ago, I think I alluded to my having taken more old fashioned photos and that I'd be putting them up here. In fact, I shot 4 rolls back in December while I was home at the holiday. Until a week ago, they'd been sitting on top of my dresser, waiting until my checking account could sign off on the cost of processing. I took them to the photo store amidst my slurry of sewing work and just a few days ago picked up the prints.

Mostly, I really can't use a camera. But it wasn't as important in this case for the pictures to be great. The purpose for me was just to make a record of a place where I spent most of my childhood, the workshop in my grandparents' basement.

Since Bumpa (Jack, to most) died four years ago, I've hardly been home to visit and even more seldom am I back at my grandmother's house. The basement has been left mostly in tact, preserved in time. Someday, it will be a terrific job to clear out. Every possible surface has become a drawer or a shelf or a storage mechanism for keeping tools and glues and paint and glass and wood and screws and nails and machinery. We used to joke that he could make anything in that basement. And he did. An elaborate dollhouse when I was young. And then a white writing desk when I was twelve. And in between he made little locomotives, paperweights, his kitchen table, a swing set and countless other things people wished aloud and that he would figure out and make. It was one of the first ways that I defined kindness.

He was a maker of things. Jack of all trades, literally. And you might say that I get my streak of inventiveness from him.

Yes, that's a gun. And yes, that's an NRA sticker above it.

I took these photos so that in the case that someday his workshop is dismantled, I'll be able to remember what exactly it was like. The calendar girls half-clothed beside power tools on the inside of the storeroom door. The drawer in his office filled with gumdrops and peanut M&M's. The can full of wax scraps leftover from the holly candles he made every Christmas. And what the shapes of his handwriting look like.

The four prints in the Bakerex frames in my previous post are also from this set.

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