Those thoughts that enter our minds while we are driving or just looking up into the sky. While gazing through the clouds one day, it came to me. A thought provoking memory about my 1st grade teacher, Lucy Gardner, who was also my Mother’s 1st grade teacher, and my Sister’s 1st grade teacher, at New Hope Elementary School. If you talked when you weren’t supposed to, this pink lipped, gray haired Amazon would come up to your desk and ask you to hold out your hand, and then she would take a ruler and pop your palm until it was red and stung hard like it feels when you step on a honey bee. Everyday after lunch would be nap time and like clock work, Lucy would direct us to get out our sleeping mats and pillows, and get ready to go on a journey through the clouds. The tape began with our blankets guiding us through the clouds, high above the earth and looking down as we slowly began to drift into a comatose stance of being, what it feels like to be in between the physical and the spiritual worlds. We travelled through our neighborhoods, we saw people from high up in the clouds, we relaxed, we doze off to sleep, we reinvigorated, we meditated for a good 45 minutes to keep us alert for the rest of the afternoon. That was a memory.
Driving through Nash county on a fall and somber afternoon, I drove past sweet potatoes, cotton and soybean fields on acres and acres and acres, awaiting harvest, while suddenly seeing an old barn covered with Ivy and Virginia Creeper, a thought appeared that brought back memories of my cousins, Ginger and Holly, and how I used to drive them around on long country roads and take photos of them. I took photos of everything. Barns, cats, cows, people, scenery…you name it. Memories…and so many of them I have on 35mm black and white film. Seeing them again has stirred up a ton of memories. Mostly all are good memories and some memories are mostly questions of where are you now, and what did you turn out to be? Rock star? Film producer? Nurse? Practitioner? Farmer of acres and acres of land? Musician? Poet? House wife?
If I truly wanted to know, I guess I could just google a name and see what would come up. But for most of them, I truly don’t care. I wish them all well and hope that the journey has treated them with lessons and adventures and prosperity and good health. I am happy that our paths crossed many years ago and for that I am eternally grateful for the experience and the chance to capture a memory in one short moment. The moment that it takes to load film into a camera and hold the body in the palms of your hands and look at the aperture and the exposure and not get too excessive with the technicalities but being able to put the person or subject at ease and shoot them at a moment that is so fast and quick that they never know you are taking their photo and little to this day did they ever know or imagine beyond their wildest dreams that they would end up being a memory. The Memory Motel. The Memory from Hell. The Memory that makes me smile. The Memory that makes me cry. The Memory that makes me laugh. The Memory that I tuck neatly back on the shelf. All the Memories. We are all just Memories. Memories in the past, Memories in the present, and Memories in the future. Memories. Memories. Memories.
***All photographs are copyrighted by Pamela C Armstrong