I've always been interested in ancestry and my family line. I’ve purchased online genealogy tests, spent hours digging through ancestry.com, visited public libraries to search family records, gone to Ellis Island to look up ancestors’ names in the registry, and I cherish the dozens (hundreds?!) of old family photos passed down over the years. Our bloodlines make up so much of who we are, and I find a cool magic in uncovering little connections across the generations.
Like these two pictures, for example: one taken in 1942 and one in 2011, both documenting newlyweds leaving their wedding receptions, laughing and glowing, and probably a little tipsy.
My father’s parents, (or as I knew them, Granny and Grandad), got married on June 20, 1942, at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Malden, MA. The picture on the left documents them leaving the reception later that night. I’ve always loved this image for its joyful authenticity. They both look so effortlessly vibrant, seamlessly in the pocket of their love and life’s path. They seem to embody what it is to be on this weird and beautiful journey of love, so well intentioned in their commitment to one another. Simply put, they look happy as hell.
Loving spontaneous photography, Brian and I had a bunch of disposable cameras stashed around our own wedding reception so guests could take pictures of whatever they wanted the day of. We had fun getting them all developed and trying to guess who took which picture (over half of them were taken by the 4-10 year olds at the wedding, and they are awesome photos as a result - everyone smiles when a 5 year old points a camera at them!).
When we had this photo of us developed, it instantly reminded me of the one of my grandparents. Maybe my love for the original photo influences my comparison to the picture of me and Brian. Maybe it’s the aesthetic similarities - the husband looks up while the wife looks down, both directions necessary to regard in life, (my nerdy, English Major self could write an essay on that symbolizing a balanced relationship...) Maybe it’s the geographical proximity of the photos, as we got married just a few towns away. Maybe it’s the old fashioned fur coat I'm holding (which, fun fact, belonged to my other grandmother). Regardless, it’s safe to say that Brian and I truly felt what this 1942 picture seems to exhibit: a pure and unapologetic love, and one sure as hell worth celebrating.