10 Jul Seeing ghosts
The upcoming Nora Jane Struthers And The Party Line video, for their dreamy summer song, Bike Ride, took me down a haunting road into the past. Specifically I traveled into the parts of my family from long before I was born. My Grandmother, Lula, was a advocate of memories. She has often been quoted as saying “If you’re eating 3 meals a day but say that you cannot afford to buy film then your priorities are all wrong.” This belief of hers has left me with hours of converted 8mm footage that she took of her family, including my mother as a child. Many of the people in the grainy over or under exposed frames are strangers to me, distant aunts and cousins that I will never meet. But some of them are not strangers at all. Some of their shining, smiling faces are so dear to me that my heart skipped a beat upon finding them, hiding there, in the past.
Lula passed away a few years ago now. I miss her everyday. My mother is still alive and lives just a few moments from my apartment, in Nashville, but a part of me misses her everyday as well. Seeing them there in captured moments of performance and glee it is hard to not feel further away from them than ever. Nostalgia is a homesickness for a place to which you may never return.
Music is very proficient at the task of stirring up nostalgia in someone else and the song that Nora Jane wrote does it expertly. The song longs for a time back when we were young and everything was easier. Of course this time never existed, things are never easy, but held like crystals in our mind we are able to remember them as the good old days. This is a kind of magic.
Am I looking for that magic everyday? When I put on my vintage clothes, visit the flea market and spend money on old beat up chairs, when I lament the end of Polaroid and willingly replace it with Instagram, am I not blurring my eyes just enough to see try to see things as they once were, when everything was more beautiful and better?
This video is dutifully dedicated to the woman who once upon a time spent some of the very little money she had on an 8mm camera and stunning color film so that someday her grandchildren in a the future would get to see fleeting glimpses of a time that is gone forever.
Thank you Grandmama.
I love you.