Click here, and expect to stay awhile: A Shed Full of Polaroids.
Julia Henderson’s father was an executive at Polaroid until his death in 1988, when Julia was 9. Last year, she moved from New York to California, and finally confronted the thousands and thousands of Polaroid photos—mostly of Julia and her sister Amy, with some of the rest of the family mixed in—that her mother had been storing in a backyard shed. Every day, she posts one picture, with wry, sometimes touching, often hilarious commentary. If you grew up in the seventies and eighties, the texture of everyday American life you’ll see here is enough to keep you looking for a long time. (The kitchen wallpaper we all had. My god.) If that doesn’t resonate with you, the mini-essays (all lowercase) that accompany each one certainly will.
A few samples, with excerpts:
“yes, those coats are far too large for us. this was a thing when we were little. we were constantly being given coats and clothes that were too big. and i don’t mean a little too big. i mean a lot too big. somehow some residual depression-era who knows when we’ll be able to afford this again mentality had trickled down through my grandparents and into my parents and there we were, in the booming 80’s, being given stuff we could grow into so that it would last longer.”
“this is a little girl with big delusions. i honestly thought i was alice in wonderland when i wore that dress. it was, after all, called my alice in wonderland outfit and it always included the tights, the shoes, and the ribbon in the hair. you can blame my mother, she’s the one who planted that seed in my head and got the ball of delusion rolling. of course, as the laws of physics tell us, that ball will only pick up speed as it rolls down hill. and pick up speed it did.”
“all i ever wanted was this – curls. unfortunately, the only way for me to achieve these curls was with rollers. those pink plastic rollers with the teeth. not only did it take an act of congress for my mother to get them on my head… with my thin, fine hair drying and needing to be sprayed with the water bottle so that maybe, just maybe, if she ever succeeded…a curl would take hold, she tried to get me to give up the ghost, to admit then that this was not worth the pain.”
“this is me & my dad. the first day of my life, the first day we had together. if only i knew then how short our time together would be. here i am, just a few moments into this thing called life, and we only have 9 years and counting. it’s going to fly by. and he’ll be gone before i know it. at least though we didn’t waste any time in getting to know one another. from the very beginning, i knew him. i saw him and i knew him. and every moment counted.”
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