This morning I came across this stray photograph from my mother’s things, and something about it looks like a scene from a dream. The echoed gesture of hand to forehead, the young girl watching—the accidental heat and motion of a family frozen in time. I think that’s my grandmother in the background, maybe one of my mom’s older sisters returning from a wedding. That might be my mom in the foreground, watching.

The overheated colors and pebbled texture of the photo paper leave me romanticizing the aesthetics of the past. Even life’s incidental moments looked better before screens. A tactile world of cigarettes, record players, and radios like furniture, rather than all of us sitting with scrunched-up faces, tapping at pieces of glass. And one day that will look like the days of the hand-cranked Victrola or the first Model T.

The Ronettes – Keep on Dancing

Philles Records | Recorded 1964, released 1978 | More

Each night in 2020, I wrote a short post for a series called Notes From the End of a World because I wanted to etch these days into my memory. Before the world changed completely.
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