My father, mother, sister, grandmother, and I took an ambitious east coast road trip the summer after we moved to Columbia, SC.
My grandfather had passed away the spring before, and Gann was sad. We all were, but especially her…and my mother. So we drove north to visit happier family in New York.
This photo was snapped just out of our avocado-colored VW camper. Shot on 126 color roll film…from a strange little brown camera I was given as a child. There was a lid on top that flipped up, and a glass viewer that revealed the image. The shuttle release was a small brown button on the side of the body with a tiny white dot.
Mom and Gann stand at Faye and Jack Kerr’s door. Dad’s long-stepping toward the house. The day was cloud-filled, but bright. You can see the sun flares.
My grandmother and mother urging us toward the house…and if you look very closely, I think Robin, my sister, is there…near mom’s waist, close to the door. But I’m not sure.
This trip would be famously documented in a large scrapbook my mother made when we got home. My sister and I read and re-read that story throughout our childhood:
“The Whites’ Summer Vacation to Washington D.C. and New York City!”
But it’s only in this casual snapshot that I see what was really happening during that ambitious family vacation. We were grieving the loss of my grandfather. Breaking the routine of our mourning. We were dreaming of better days together and getting face-to-face with family dispersed.Mom was starting a new chapter in the story. She was moving us forward. And a new door was about to open.