The grey kitty is Gracie. We got her after swimming at the beach at George Wythe. People were giving away cute little kittens and we took the smallest one, she fit in the center of your hand and even as a fully grown adult remains a very tiny grey cat with a tiny patch of white on her chest. We had Gracie before we got Ginger and Bandit who both recently had to be put to sleep. Gracie was a baby when my parents were still together and we still lived in the house in the other photograph. I took pictures of the sidewalk just before I did my taxes in the building right next to that same house. My dad has always used that place but I never knew what they did there as a child.
I used to play around that parking lot and building constantly. That tiny block in between the big street and railroad tracks made up my entire world. Going back now is kind of strange. It is so small and everything seems a lot less colorful. I feel empty after visiting my grandma and dad without getting to play with Bandit. I feel even worse glancing in the backyard as I leave to say goodbye to Ginger, especially when there’s a foot of snow on the ground.
Everything around me has changed so quickly. I feel the same but I know that I must be different. Friends and relatives are growing older, some of them are ill or dead. There is little I can do, I too will someday become unrecognizable with wear and decay.
I dread the day Gracie passes away. I find myself forgetting the exact placement of cut down trees and long lost buried pets in the old backyard. I try to get away from that place but I am drawn back every so often. What about that place still captures my imagination? Did I leave something important but mostly forgotten there?
It seems like so long ago, it could have happened in another life, to another person entirely. What will the subjects of these photographs look like in another decade? Surely the cardboard will be dissolved, Gracie will have joined the others, our house might have another coat of paint or it fail to stand at all. The ground beneath our shoes will crack, plants will begin to sprout and all memories of my childhood will be forgotten once my mind refuses to recall them. All I can do is keep snapping these seemingly unrelated photographs until they become my life, or at least the most lasting evidence of what I saw during my tiny shred of existence.