My family–my former husband, our daughter, and myself–moved from our home town, Columbus, Ohio, to Los Angeles, California almost thirty years ago.Â We came home for two weeks that first summer, and my dad gave me his old camera because he had gotten a new one.Â I experimented with this somewhat complicated camera and, in doing so, decided that my vacation pictures would have a theme. I didnâ€™t realize I was recording history; I was just taking individual photographs of all my friends and family standing beside their cars.
I ran across these pictures the other day, stuck in a small, ribboned album which proved to be a treasure trove of time and transportation.Â My mother by her wood-sided station wagon; my artist friend Terry– now my librarian–leans on the back of his green VW Bug.Â
My Great Aunts, Violet and Rosina, having driven over together, wear summer white. (They are gone now, as is my father.) My friend Lynn, with a bumper-sticker on her car touting the Columbus Zoo. We just had dinner together last night!
Everyone is younger, but everyone is there, outside smiling on a Columbus summer day. The twins, Amy and Barbara, and the maroon Chevrolet. My father, proud and strong and tan with his Chrysler Le Baron.Â The hose is out and heâ€™s wearing his bathing suit.Â He was washing his car.
The vibrancy of life is there.Â As James Taylor would say, â€œsunny days we thought would never end.â€Â The makes and models of the cars mark the moment.Â The friends and family mark the life.
D.G. Fulford is the bestselling author of the classic To Our Children’s Children: Preserving Family Histories for Generations to Come, which she wrote with her brother, Bob Greene; Designated Daughter: The Bonus Years with Mom, written with her mother, Phyllis Greene, and her latest, Things I’d Love You to Know: A Journal for Mothers and Daughters. She is also cofounder of therememberingsite.org that helps people tell their life story.