This week’s Discover Challenge asks participants to take something “ephemeral and non-digital” and bring it to our blogs.
As a nostalgia writer, nostalgia archaeologist, and “Digital Indiana Jones” (as a co-worker called me once), this is right up my alley!
In thinking about what I wanted to share, I recalled having a bunch of photos I scanned to share on Facebook after my grandma passed away in 2015. She died on February 10, 2015 after a nearly twelve-year battle with Alzheimer’s, and at 92, her death was sad, but considering the length of time she lived in the ravages of the memory-altering/destroying disease, it was a blessing in the end. I cried at the initial shock of her death (because it was a natural reaction to do so), but after having the opportunity to look through the photos we had of her life, I found myself smiling and laughing at some of the pictures.
One of my favorite photos, which I also shared on Retroist after the passing of Nancy Reagan in 2016, was this photo of my grandma from her trip to Washington D.C. in 1981 (I think).
I think, if there was any one important way to remember my grandma, this photo was it. In a time marred by political division, it is nice to look back on a time not all that long ago, and remember when people were proud of their political affiliation and the people that represented said affiliation. That said, my grandma was Ronald Reagan’s #1 fan. I’m wondering if she saw his movies back in the day and then just followed his acting career right to the White House. I fangirl about Chris Hemsworth; my grandma fangirled over Ronnie. Oh, and Johnny Depp.
That’s a whole other story, folks.
I also came up with an elaborate story behind this photo about how my grandma beat up Secret Service agents to get to Ronnie and Nancy for a prime photo op, only to find out those were not, in fact, Secret Service agents. It also turned out that Ronnie and Nancy were, well, kinda stiff.
And since you know there obviously isn’t an ounce of truth to that story, doesn’t that make it even funnier?
This photo captures the very essence of time gone by – it was taken with a camera that needed film (and not an SD Card), so no one would have known how great the photo turned out until it was actually seen. The clothes and my grandma’s awesome sunglasses are so on par with the times. The photo is a little faded (it is about 35 years old, after all!), but some of my childhood photos are too. It’s not surprising, photo ink does tend to fade with time.
I scanned this photo with the intent of a nice tribute I put together for my grandma two years ago, but I find that this was also the best way to preserve her memory. To those that don’t know her, this is some other photo, but for my family…none of us are surprised she did this.
Oh, and the unrelated Johnny Depp thing? Yeah, she watched 21 Jump Street. Because of him. I couldn’t blame her, of course, but she kicked off that whole “older ladies love Johnny Depp” trend I saw years later while working at my video store job in college.