A few months back I made a call-out for a collaborative vlog. This took a while to pull together, primarily because my topic was vague (Flashback through the Decades) and I had a very ill-formed idea of what I wanted to do.
Like all my creative misdemeanors, the process was iterative, experimental and took several tries to complete. Normally this is ok but this was a group collaboration. I had to give some parameters to what and how to contribute. My guidance was:
For each decade, think of one historical event and send personal photos related to them.
This was an issue.
Most of us lead happily uneventful lives. Unlike the Royals and Rich & Famous, no paparazzi clamour for pictures at our birthdays and backyard BBQs. National headlines hardly ever feature us. (Apologies to Kim and Elon, if you’re reading this.) Starting at the macro level of historical events did not work.
It was easier to start with close-up and personal events. Events like family gatherings and beach holidays, snapshots that inspire memories of times past. Often, it’s the little details that incur the fondest memories. Like this photo of me and my baby brother … who by the way, is no longer little but really is my favorite, one and only bro.
It is a snapshot of one of many days at the beach. Days spent as a single family or as part of grand multi-family parties with huge beach-side cook-outs. In this photo we have our treats – salty, cheese crackers and sugary sweet cola – purchased at the nearby sea shack.
With that little detail, I trace my memories back to the seaside shack with it’s painted concrete walls and battered wooden doors. Outside the shack, there was sometimes a cart loaded up with young green coconuts for sale. The vendor had a huge machete which he’d use to loop off the top and puncture a hole in the shell. Using a paper straw, we’d drink the sweet coconut water and eagerly hand it back for the second part of the treat. He would cleave the coconut in two and slice off a wedge of green husk to use as a spoon. We’d scoop out the tender white jelly and think that this was the best part of a day at the beach.
It’s the details that make the macro memories.
When Manja sent in her contributions to the vlog, I was surprised when her pictures jogged my memories. Like her cute shots of kiddie-Manja dressed-up as Pippi Longstockings and Bazooka Jane. Initially I didn’t make a connection. Pippi stories were never part of my childhood and I thought Bazooka Jane was another European influence.
But a little research reminded me of Bazooka bubble gum and its comic strip wrappers. Suddenly, I remember! The unmistakable bubble gum smell. The tacky waxy feel of candy wrappers smoothed out to see. The tiny comic strip characters and words that are always a bit smudged but funny and fun to read.
In Manja’s communist Yugoslavian world, she remembered Bazooka gum as signs of American imperialism. In my import-embargo Jamaican world I remembered them as illicit American treats.
After viewing the final video for Flashback to the 60’s and 70’s, Donna from Retirement Reflections said … “What a wonderful vlog! Even though I grew up in a different country (Canada), the memories came flooding back.”
We might not share the same memories but we remember them the same.
Manja did an awesome job of collecting six decades worth of memories for the collaboration. It was so good, I compiled a video dedicated to her story. She’s posted it in her blog here but if you’d like to see the video, have a look.
This post is in response to Amanda’s Friendly Friday Challenge: Close-ups and Macros. There’s still another week left for you to respond with posts inspired by close-up and macro level topics and pictures. I look forward to seeing your contribution.