Grandma's Camera / by Madalyn Rowell

My grandmother Alice passed away in her home on Valentines Day. I'm not sure if the significance of the date even matters, but I loved her so much it seemed appropriate she would pass on the evening of the day of love that Hallmark probably invented. She always said "I want to die in my house", and she did, a true woman of her word. I inherited some very meaningful items, including her wedding ring (which I soon wore as my own engagement ring) and a handmade quilt she made for me. The quilt was supposed to be a wedding gift, all my sisters and cousins got one when they married. She didn't make it to my wedding and well I guess I didn't either, a date that both did and didn't exist. But the quilt now provides me a comforting hug at night, when I need it the most. I put it on my bed after I moved last July because I was having PTSD nightmares and I thought the quilt she made by hand HAD to have some magical properties from the hours of her hands measuring and sewing the blanket together. I like to imagine her swearing under her breath and sucking her teeth (a habit that I resented on long drives to the cabin but now miss that clicking sound) while concentrating on the geometrics of the pattern. The blanket and her ring make me feel connected to something, my family and my lineage that I never thought I had before, because I thought white people had no culture (this both is and isn't a joke).

I also got a camera from my grandparents home, a point and shoot Kodak Star 535. There was one photo taken on the roll, the rest left for me to create my own memories on. When I developed the film I was so excited to see what photo my grandma or grandpa had taken. When I opened the scans and found this image of their living room window, I could smell it. Grandpa's freshly smoked salmon and cedar, fresh pine Christmas tree; I could taste the sharp sweet tang of Tahitian Treat and salty ham on my tongue; I could feel the cool marbles from my grandpa's solitaire peg game on the tips of my fingers; I could hear classical music, strings and swells, in my head. The wave of nostalgia was intense and sad and sweet. 

But yeah so anywayz the rest of the photos are from the same camera, from about August this year to December. These photos are like my memories, they're grainy and foggy, there's light leaks and the film is so expired the colors are all off, not at all how I imagined they'd turn out when I took them. 

I miss this house so much, and I wonder why grandma or grandpa took this photo but I'm glad they did. 

I miss this house so much, and I wonder why grandma or grandpa took this photo but I'm glad they did. 

Lindstrom.jpg
Weiner.jpg
Starship.jpg
Here is a photo of Colin taking the same photo that just took.

Here is a photo of Colin taking the same photo that just took.

YeOld.jpg
I swear I'm having a good time, edibles 2 strong. 

I swear I'm having a good time, edibles 2 strong. 

FairGhosts.jpg
Puppets.jpg
IceCream.jpg
SmokingSkyRide.jpg
StateFair_2.jpg
Harvey.jpg
LucyLightLeak.jpg
The sunset turned blue on expired film. 

The sunset turned blue on expired film. 

Snow.jpg
EastLakeBrake.jpg
Sadboi_Colin.jpg
Chicago.jpg
Ariel_RoyWilkins.jpg
Ariels_Butt.jpg
Still feeling #blessed I got to play Roy Wilkins with my best friends, here's Momo showing me some love.

Still feeling #blessed I got to play Roy Wilkins with my best friends, here's Momo showing me some love.

DancingRobot.jpg
They asked me to take their picture so I asked if I could take one for me. 

They asked me to take their picture so I asked if I could take one for me.