Just sharing from my June 2014 journal...
Days Gone By
Upon entering a local assisted living facility, a bright-eyed elderly woman approached me. Since I had my gear in hand I asked if she was planning to get her photograph taken today. “Oh I am thinking about it!” she said with a smile. Her kind expression told me that she is a sweet soul. At my every glance she was smiling.
Skylor and Chance, my two sons, set up the props and backdrop. Such good workers. Not a second after the set was complete we had our first model. Thereafter, the pace was pretty smooth and quick. Hayley, an employee assisted each resident to my portable studio.
First, I take an individual portrait then we get the silly hats, wigs, glasses, even a feather boa, or some other goofy prop and snap away. The “models” really ham it up and have a good time. Photo sessions like these can become entertainment, like a show for them. They laugh, and then applaud each and every participant. Skylor and Chance help by putting the props back for me.
My new sweet friend came up for her turn in front of my camera. Once I took her photograph I turned my camera around and showed the image to her. She had a concerned look but still pleasant. She said, “That’s not me.” I smiled and reassured her that it is her. “Nooo” she continued, “that’s not me.” Her words resonated with my soul. She knew it was a portrait of her. She was telling me that on the inside she still feels young and full of life.
She then asked if I could dance. “No. Not formally. Sure wish I could.” I admitted. As she tapped her feet on the floor, “I used to!!”. I could see the joy fill her eyes as she reached deeply into her past.
I cannot express just how much I treasure the time I spend with our older generation. So much to learn. So much to appreciate.
Here are a few lines of a song written and performed by Jon Gibson titled Days Gone By.
I can see a picture of a boy, so young. Skimmin’ stones across a tiny stream, one by one. Catch a butterfly and let ‘em go. Climb a tree so high no one will know. These are the days gone by baby...
Melissa M. Harden