Sunday, March 11, 2012

Week 10

My grandfather passed away almost four years ago. He and I had never been close, but our family kept in close contact with him. We visited him on his birthday, Father's Day, and he was always there for holiday family dinners.

Above the front door

He was a bit of a hoarder, but not in the sense that you'd think. He had eight children, and his wife, my Gran, passed away in 1989. After her passing, he had to up and move; he simply couldn't stand to live in the house he shared with her since she was gone. From then on, he started buying things. Perhaps to fill a void, perhaps out of boredom, but his walls were lined with canned goods, toolboxes, flashlights, airsoft guns, pencils, and just about everything else you could possibly think of.

The living room directly to the right of the front door

Paint brushes in the basement

Flashlights magnetically hanging from the ductwork in the basement

Old papers and airsoft guns in the "toy room"

When we'd visit, there would be casual conversation in his family room, and the conversation inevitably lead to something like this: He'd pick up a flashlight on his side table next to the chair he always sat in, he'd turn to my dad and say, "Check this out." My dad would take it, make a small comment about it being a good flashlight, and my grandad would lead my dad into the basement where he had a bunch more of them. His basement is completely full of everything you could imagine, to the point where it's hard to move around. But whenever you went into the basement, you came back upstairs with something to take home. He had knife sets, pots and pans, flashlights and tools, and every time we came over, he'd give us stuff to keep. He spent a lot of his time in Hanover at the outlets, buying all sorts of homewares and odds and ends just in case anyone ever needed them. His house was jam-packed with things, but they were things that he gave away to the ones he loved at every opportunity.

Like I said, he and I had never been very close, but very shortly before he passed, he did something that has stuck with me more than anything else.

I'm the youngest in my family. I have two siblings, both brothers, who are currently 28 and 32, so I was always sort of the baby. I couldn't participate in many of the conversations since I was still young and didn't have many shared interests with the other men in my family, so I usually sat in the corner next to my mom, observing and listening to the conversation.

His chair in the family room where he always sat. I actually don't think I ever saw him sit anywhere else in this room. If you were in his chair when he came back from the bathroom or the basement, you better have gotten your ass up out of it before he got to you.

I had been very into cooking for years. Before I found my passion in photography, I wanted to go to school for culinary arts. I mentioned it to my grandad maybe twice in passing, but when we were visiting him around my 17th birthday, he broke off the conversation that was taking place with my dad and my brothers, looked at me and asked, "So are you still into cooking?" I said yes, and he pushed a box, that had been sitting on the floor beside him, in my direction. He said "Happy birthday," I opened it up, and it was full of cake and cookie mixes, kitchen utensils, cookbooks, cooking magazines and a bunch of other cooking-related items. It seemed a little silly to me at the time, but looking back on it is one of the very few things in the world that can stop me dead in my tracks, no matter what I'm doing. For the first time, someone had listened to me. I was always the baby of the family, always the one who had to sit there quietly because I didn't know what was going on, and my grandad listened. He took something that I had barely ever mentioned and he held on to it. He had actually taken the time out of his day to put this together for me off of a couple passing comments about my interest. It seems small, but I realize now that that was one of the biggest gestures anyone has ever done for me; just showing me that even though I didn't ever have much to say, he still listened.

I didn't properly appreciate my grandad until after he died, but I knew today more than ever that he was a loving, generous, good man and I was absolutely blessed to ever have him in my life.

The BB guns he kept by the back door

His cigarettes still sitting in an ashtray

He was a sheriff!

The window above the sink in the kitchen. Everything is still as it was when he died.

Pipes behind his chair.

A photo album of photos from around the country, taken by Gran.

His bed.

He was found in bed in his regular clothes; this is the last outfit he wore, still sitting on the chair next to his bed.

His glasses on the nightstand.

Handcuffs because he was a badass sheriff. 

Fishing poles hanging on the back of the door to one of his knife closets in the basement.

He collected ornamental knives and other weaponry. There's an entire wall like this in a back room in the basement.

Sawdust still sitting on one of his workbenches in the basement. 

No idea what this is but I thought it was pretty haha.

Thread in a drawer in the dining room.

A clock made out of a saw blade in the basement.

The ships he kept above the fireplace in the family room.

The very last shot on this roll of film. I'll let you interpret that white spot however you'd like, I don't know what it is.

This week's film:

  • 1 roll of expired Agfa Vista 800
  • Shot on a Canon EOS 630 with a Canon 50mm f/1.4
  • Hand developed in Jobo C-41, scanned with Epson Perfection V500

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