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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Someone Else's Lifetime

This afternoon I trudged down
our curb-less street
to make sure the storm drains
were clear for the melting snow.
A chilly gust turned
my head in time to see
something blowing toward me
in the distance.
It was black and rolling
like an autumn leaf
that starts and stops at will.
I stepped gently on a corner
to claim it from the wind
and pulled it toward the bottom of my specs.

A black and brittle page
held faces looking back at me
with youthful smiles
now tattered by time
but held so close
I smelled the dusty trunk
that kept them long ago.
I knew the familiar faded tones
of glossy black-and-whites
with curled corners
in need of the pasted triangles
that pressed them flat
when the people in them cared.

I saw the holes where once a satin chord
had threaded through the pages
to be tied with tasseled knots
on the outside of a wooden cover
that took two laps to hold.
I’ve held such scrapbooks
and know the touch of such paper
that nearly breaks for turning.
I knew everything there was to know
of the musty material in my hand
but nothing of what matters most.

I stared up the street
from where the page had blown
in hopes of seeing someone there—
someone who could tell me
who were these happy graduates
from the Class of ’42.
What bound them by the elbows?
Surely someone somewhere knew.

But this was someone else’s lifetime;
these were someone else’s kin;
those were someone else’s memories
held tight again.
© Copyright 2007, Patterns of Ink

(Click to enlarge photo 1 and 3.
Date is at top of 3rd photo.)


Blogger Jody said...

This post is both beautiful and frightening to me at the same time. The pictures, so carefully placed on the page with dates and names and initials, by someone who cared to remember. However, seeing the demise of these pages hits close to home. One of issues I struggle with in my own scrapbooking is whether or not it is worthy of my time, energy and money. To me, I feel that my scrap pages need to serve a 'higher purpose' in order to justify the things I just mentioned. One of my hopes is that my pages will still have 'value and meaning' beyond what I can tell of them. I know full well that there will come a time, when someone will pick up my scrapbook, they may not know me or those pictured in my pages, but my hope is that there will be a worthwhile message or some sort of inspiration to be gained just from looking at my pages.
I hope to scrap more and more of my faith and my beliefs. That is a message that transends generations of people and time. Crazy as it sounds, I feel led to 'scrapbook for Jesus'. =) Whether or not I can pull it off is another matter. Thank you for this post. I wish the pages hadn't gotten lost by some unfortunate soul. But even more selfishly, I wish you weren't having to check drains so that the snow can melt properly. I, myself and ready for warmth and sunshine!

11/4/07 11:15 PM  
Blogger JR's Thumbprints said...

I've digitized all my childhood photos and burned to cd's. Memories of my life stored as 0's and 1's.

12/4/07 12:10 AM  
Blogger Josie said...

It's true, isn't it, that our lives end up being scattered to the four winds. All the crucial events of the day that were happening at that time in those folks' lives are now pages in history books. "The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind."

12/4/07 2:45 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

That page was a reminder that "life is but a vapor." BUT...
I've seen your work and I am serious when I say that your generation of "scrappers" has taken this to the level of an art form. I'm not kidding. I have no doubt that your pages and books will have meaning and value to perfect strangers for years to come. Yours in fact should be published because you are gifted at keeping the focus on things that matter.

That is commendable that you've digitally stored your photos. I wish I could find half of mine to do that. I tend to scan them as needed, but there is a whole album from my high school years that I cannot get my hands on. When I find those pictures, maybe I'll be as brave as you are to show them now and then. =)

12/4/07 2:50 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Another song that came to mind is "Dust in the Wind" or perhaps a more positive one is. "Turn Turn Turn" from Ecclesiastes Chapter 3, which reminds us that for everything there is a season.

12/4/07 2:55 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi. Thanks for the comment on my blog, and nice photos :-)

12/4/07 6:49 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Wow! You are an amazing writer. I'm so glad Jody linked you on her blog. I wonder the same thing JOdy does at times as to whether anyone will care about the pages I create. Your post hit home because recently I have been on a search and scanning old photos of my grandparents and their parents and further back. My mom has been writing down the stories for me also so that hopefully someday,they will mean something to someone. --Amy www.amykiane.typepad.com

12/4/07 7:19 PM  
Blogger Dr.John said...

I have a neumber of oold scrapbook and picures. I too am trying to put names with them and scan them in. Then I am giving each of my children a copy.

12/4/07 7:36 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Glad you stopped by. Thank you.
I used to teach "yearbook" for many years, and I always reminded my staff that this book, though "theirs," was not about them or even just about the present year... it is our testiment to the future, a reflection that the present matters and remains a part of who we are. You scrappers are saying that, too. The only caution we all must heed is not to sacrifice the present with loved ones to this secondary task.

Dr. John,
Do that. Especially with the pictures that represent the "cast" of your families stories. You'll read many such stories here. My mom has told them through the years and I write them.

Thanks for the link.
Welcome Nitty Gritty readers. Please read the follow-up post to this one. I woke up with some thoughts and an idea of what to do with the page.

12/4/07 8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Are you still trying to locate the owners of the page?
On another note, thanks for stopping by my place and playing the word game. I am also a Michigander and a Christian.

13/4/07 1:47 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

These are beyond anyone wanting them. They are little more than "street debris," which underscores the strange feeling I had in being the last to give them any meaning at all.

13/4/07 2:26 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Wow, what an extraordinary find! It would be so neat to know more about them, where they lived, etc. So cool. It makes me realize that scrapbooking is much more meaningful than what we think.

13/4/07 4:00 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

You brief encounter with these "teenagers" will bless the lives of the vets when they receive your post. They are underappreciated (is that even a word?).

Your trip to clean out the drain, the snow, and a mid-week post; makes me think you had to miss some school due to snow. I am glad because you blessed me with faces and memories that could easily have been my parents.

13/4/07 5:04 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

I have it ready to send to the VFW post in our area. They will probably think, "What are we supposed to do with this ripped up page?" but I think when they read the two posts they will at least know that I meant well and hopefully feel honored and remembered.

We ALMOST had a snow day. It was really coming down. I wrote the first post Wednesday evening when it was still and the 2nd early the next morning when I got up to see if I should cancel (but didn't have enough snow, so I just wrote for that hour).
It has been interesting reading other people's thoughts.
Like you, when I first saw it, I thought maybe it was MY mom's page. She has several like this (though she graduated in '48).

13/4/07 8:10 PM  
Blogger Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Call me sentimental but I would have trouble throwing any body's memories away.

15/4/07 11:31 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

I can usually find a reason to keep things while my sweet wife has a twitch to pitch. Our home is very neat because of it, but she does understand that I am a sentimental guy and it's only getting worse this year as our oldest is getting married.
This tattered page came to me in a strange way and reminded me of a very important generation, and for that I'm grateful. I'll pass the posts along with the scrap to the VFW and hope they feel honored.

15/4/07 3:08 PM  

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