This past year my last remaining grandparents passed away. My fathers father Clare last spring and my mothers mother Eileen in the summer. Both had lived long and full lives and I loved each of them very much. In my grief I began the process of researching and recording my ancestry. I spent literal days on my computer looking over birth certificates, marriage licenses and notices of death. I feel into a hole of state census and passenger lists. Between this depression fueled research and the many hours of reminiscing with relatives and assorted memorials, wakes and burials I found solace in having an idea of my family history. Please note that because of my Irish Catholic background we discussed the faults and follies of all our dearly departed as well, with humor and understanding.
Then the photos came. Treasure in manila envelopes. I stared at photos of my grandfather as small boy and my grandmother as a young woman. He looked happy she looked glamorous. There were photos of great grandmothers, distant uncles, all manner of cousins and even some of my closest relations and me. I began to think of when these photos were taken and the events that were occurring. It didn’t all connect.
That’s were I began this past rehearsal. Developing a section that could illustrate what was occurring directly before and directly after the moment captured. Sampling movement from other sections, each dancer began moving independently at times connecting and then breaking apart. After the movement was in place when began discussing parental platitudes from our own lives. After amassing a lost list the performers where given liberty to yell and scream these familial clichés in each other’s faces as they danced. I will leave it at that, as I don’t want to give too much away.
I leave you with a few of the gems from my newly acquired family photos. I hope you will share any photos of your own family you may have.