Capturing Memories Today


Lex and Kathryn

I can’t place my current values on their lifestyles. I don’t know what it is like to be twenty-five in the world today. To have memories and instincts based on a world where technology has always been available, communication has always been instant and world-wide. I was relying on airmail stationary at this point, Lex is instagraming photos as I take them of she and Kathryn. A weekend with my adult daughter shines a harsh light on coming of age today versus when I was young.

To watch these two friends from grammar school reconnect, after a year of no face-time, is almost intimidating in its perfection. But of course, they know so much about each other’s lives in Cambridge and New Orleans; through the forms of communication that are instant and constant. I mistakenly think I am speaking to the universe through my blog. I have the features  that claim to send each post to Facebook and Twitter for me.  I then remember,  I’m not really sure how to access my twitter account. Wouldn’t it just send me an email if anyone ever tweeted me back?

Kathryn and Lex were reminiscing the other night about a high school tradition in Lunenburg that would be in full swing at this time every year. Each grade was responsible for creating a float for the big Turkey-Day football game. Local farmers donated the flatbed wooden trailers and deposited them, via tractor, to the “Float Building House.” The tractors would return when the floats were finished and needed to be dragged through the town for the parade. We were a designated Float House, which meant we had a garage bay large enough to house the freshman, sophomore, junior or senior class. Every Sunday they flooded in and out for hours; loosely organized shifts because everyone was expected to work. But of course social groups made it known what times were best for them, so it was interesting to watch the dynamics of the kids change throughout the day.

Work was painfully boring and repetitive, which meant more time for talking, at high decibels to be heard. They were a rowdy crowd as they made thousands of blue and white flowers.

Disney rides – the teacups, cereal boxes -Trix, every year there was a theme. A long-suffering teacher was appointed the advisor of the project. They arrived with the paper to make the flowers, the chicken wire and plans for the body of the float, and enough soda and chips to feed the first shift. We, as the host house, were not expected to contribute anything, but it was fun to watch the progress and the social interactions. I always tried to make sure they at least had water.

The flowers were formed by the famous “Fold and Fluff” method. When she was recounting the process Kathryn ended with, “It was clearly just child labor.” But in truth, it is a memory she and Lex share,  and neither one, in all their travels, has ever met anyone else who  built floats in high school.

The fold and fluff method consisted of taking seven pieces of tissue paper cut into 4″ x 4″ squares. They were folded,  accordion-style and  wire was inserted through the middle. The piece then moved to the “fluffing” table where the accordion pleats were fluffed into flowers.

These are the memories they now look back upon fondly. I say, “write it down, you will thank me some day.” Does a Tweet last forever? Or a Facebook status?

7 thoughts on “Capturing Memories Today

  1. Things seem to change at an alarming rate these days. I could not imagine trying to raise young children in today’s world, nor could I imagine being a teenager or twenty something today. You’re right about not being able to place your current values on their lifestyles, but that has always been true – just as our parents couldn’t do it to us. Of course the differences between our parents and us and us to our children is like comparing a Tonka truck with Big Foot! For this generation, white noise happens when you turn on a fan to help you sleep, it isn’t something in the background of an album because an album is something to put photos in (electronically, of course) not something you listen to!

    • Thanks Laura, it’s been fascinating having Lex home and watching how technology is so prevalent and ubiquitous in her life. She is always “connected” and life just moves so fast.
      I’m glad I had the opportunity to raise she and her sister when I did, it was a simpler time.

    • So True! My daughters didn’t have video games growing up. We had a farm and they rode their ponies instead of hanging at the mall. I hope they look back and see their childhood as “moving at a slower, gentler pace.”

  2. Lex and Kathryn are simply you and I 30 odd years later. Pickingup seamlessly where we left off…. cantwait to seeyou. Gads, 30 years?

  3. The pace of change is relentless and our children will see things in their lives we can’t even dream of now. Go back a bother couple of generations and the changes are ever more astonishing. My grandfather grew up in a time before flight, when there were no cars on our roads or TV and the telephone had only just been invented, by the time he died we had men walking on the moon and colour TV (but not in our house).

    • That is a very good point, Marie. I find it so hard to see from that perspective when I am in the moment, but you are right. I can’t imagine what my grandchildren (if I should be so blessed) will see and how they will live, what they will take for granted as just “ordinary.” Ah, the wisdom that comes with age…

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