Friday, February 10, 2012

{FOTOFRIDAY 366.41 | Her Valentine. Her Hands.}

I knew this week that this was the photo I needed to do. And I'm so glad I did.

I have wanted to photograph my Grandmother's hands for awhile now. I did many years ago when I first started shooting. But I wanted to do it again with a better camera and more understanding of my light, more wisdom on her hands.

My grandmother is 87. She is amazing. Often I hear, "the sweetest person I have ever known" about her. Because, she really is.

She is the kindest soul I know. And one of the dearest to me. I can't possibly express what she means to me without hardly crying. I lived with her for a few months as a child and she has been one of the greatest influences in my life. She taught me to "sit like a lady". She taught me how to bake. And be creative. She taught me to appreciate old photos. So often we looked through her old albums. She taught me to pray. She taught me to sing. She taught me to be simply... a child. My greatest childhood memories, the happiest come from my many times with her.

Oh I love you Grandma. You sweet, dear honeybunch. 

{She calls me honeybunch.}

She also says things like, "Elbow-grease", "Full as a tick", "Once in a blue moon" and "Warm as toast."
I treasure these sayings. I treasure anything that is her. Including her beautiful hands.

Her hands are very crippled now. She still has the ability to function with them, but she can't hold things the way she did. She was embarrassed of her hands - as I'm sure I will be when I am 87. But to me, they were sooooo very beautiful. They were my good stock. What I came from. They are hers and they tell her story.

Melissa Murawski suggested this on Tuesday this past week. THANK YOU Melissa! You are my winner this week!!!

"One of the things I remember the most was Grandpa's hands.   Hands tell us a story of all the years they lived, what they did, who they loved.  I implore you to take pictures of someone's hands this week...hands that tell a story."

I decided after all the suggestions were in lastnight when I laid in bed that this was what I wanted to do. I drove to my Grandma's house first thing this morning. We talked about memories. Shot these photos and ate peanut butter cookies... and cried together. We always do that a little bit too.

And with this being the week before Valentine's Day, Grandma and I talked about Grandpa. He died almost 30 years ago now. He was so very young. Early 50s when he died of Lymphoma Cancer. I remember him though. I was 8 when he passed away. He used to call me "Joey". And he always ate his eggs dippy with his toast. I have fond memories of Grandpa Lang.

He was her valentine... that one in the middle with the crooked, tipped hat. That was my Grandpa.
He was an 11th division Airborne Para-trooper. He was drafted into World War II and landed in Japan - where he would remain a year and a half - on October 31st, 1945. He arrived on the ship called the SeaWitch. He tells my Grandma he knew she was the one he would come back home to because her birthday was October 31st and here he was on the SeaWitch - arriving the first day on foreign land. I love that my Grandpa didn't take light coincidence. 

This photograph shows him and some of his friends their first night in Japan. Notice the old cigarettes on the table and the bottles of saki. I love the china doll in the middle. They all got intoxicated that night Grandma says. I would too probably arriving in Japan to fight a war I was drafted into. That would be scary. 

When Grandpa came home in 1947 he brought back pure white silk from Japan that Grandma's mother made her wedding dress out of.  They married in 1948. Both of them SOOO stunning. I'm not gonna lie, some gorgeous genes in that family of mine. I am from good stock. I also carried Callas on my wedding day. Because as a girl, I looked at this picture over and over and dreamed and hoped that I'd look as beautiful as my Grandmother did.

My grandmother's hands. She can't wear rings now b/c of her joints - her knuckles are very swollen. But she raised 5 babies with these hands. One was my dad. She held me with these hands when I was little. I love these hands. They have shown me love all of my life.

Grandma shared a story about Valentine's Day in 1947. She lived in Connorsville, IN and Grandpa lived in Brookville. They only saw one another on Sundays and Wednesdays. February 14, 1947 fell on a Friday. They had both sent each other cards in the mail and ironically had picked out the EXACT same identical cards to send to each other. Grandma thought that Grandpa had sent hers back. Lol. She saved the card. But when she realized they picked the same one, shown above, it was just meant to be. 

Seriously, if that is not the sweetest thing???

So FOTOFRIDAY this week is of my Grandmother's hands, with a Valentine's Day theme - holding her Sweet Valentine, atleast the memory of him... in her hands.

Grandma told me she dreams about Grandpa all the time. She dreams she is lying in bed with him. She cried a little when she told me that. I can't imagine how much she misses him even after all these years have passed. Dreams make us feel like it is here and now. What a testament to true love though and her hope to see him again one day.

And I have to say I think this is the most emotional 366 project photos I have done! I have cried my way through this. Lol! But oh how I love that lady.