When I look at these images, I see things you don't see. I see the tacky Walmart table cloth she bought the night before. I notice her nose, how it exhibits her Italian heritage, and looks a lot like my dad's in a way. I hear the sound of her voice as she was talking to me, sipping her tea and writing at the same time. Sessions at home can really be the easiest, memory-filled shoots you can have. Born in 1937, my grandma was one of 16 kids in an Italian family living in New York. She likes to say she was born the same year as Snow White.
While I was growing up, her house was the gorgeous one on Fern Street...doesn't that just sound dreamy?
My dad is her first born son, and I am the first grandchild on that side of the family. Although they lived in New York, we were blessed to see them often during my childhood.
I won't forget the wrap-around porch, pink shag carpet in the upstairs bedroom, glass seltzer bottles on the front porch and cannolis in the fridge. The basement was where my ex-Navy, craftsman Grandpa worked and kept his tools. The smell of wood and dust are still a memory. Married for over 50 years, they never spent a night apart, except for the random nights for hospitalization. When my Grandpa died Christmas day 8 years ago, a part of her died, and now she talks about "wanting to leave" all of the time. So, as you can imagine, talking on the phone with her is bittersweet.
Now a widow for the past 8 years, my Grandma can't wait to leave the earth.
Having little to live on, she finds herself basically without a home. She hops family to family among her kids, but won't live with any of them permanently.
In October she decided to make her way to AZ for 3 weeks! My daughters loved "Nana" and wanted to do everything with her. I was afraid she would spend her time sad and depressed as many of our phone calls go, but no, she was pretty happy! Her memory is as sharp as a tack, and she tells stories I have heard a million times. She sings all the same songs and has all of the same favorite "sayings".
Something about my grandma that has never changed is her habit for drinking tea.
She drinks tea every day...throughout the day.
The day she was leaving after her 3 week visit, I asked her to write love notes for my kids' memory books, and she sipped her tea. I noted she is left-handed, like me....and still wears her wedding ring.
Her notes have adorably backwards "N's", and her usual scribbled style, evidence of her limited education. My grandpa used to be the one that always wrote the cards, checks, etc. As she sipped her tea, she repeated "Tea keeps me living".
I am currently trying to convince her to move to Arizona. We will see after the New Year if she decides to come or not.
Do you have an interest in home-sessions that tell a story and capture details of daily life? Contact me if you would love to have one of your own!