Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rewind & Remind

I spoke to a highschool boyfriend, Tim Simrell, yesterday on the phone. The last time I saw him was in August-- he and Seth Bernstein called and woke me up and we took a midnight walk together through the cigarette suburbs of Ithaca, NY. I'd been thinking about Tim because of my project and a memory I want to make a drawing about. The winter of my freshman year in college, Tim's grandmother had fallen and hurt her hip and his grandfather was having hard time taking care of himself. The couple had lived in a small cottage at an elderly community called Kendal At Ithaca, and moved into the main building until they were in better health.

When I came home from college during Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, Tim and I would go to their small house to feed their huge long-haired cat. On one of these visits I was sitting on the couch and put my hand on some sort of glass orb, which Tim told me to flip over. On the bottom side there was a sticker with his initials: TWS. Years before, his grandmother had given Tim and his sister, Lindsay, sheets of these round stickers on which they were told to write their initials and then put them on everything that they wanted to have someday. Once he told me the story, I started looking on the undersides of objects and furniture and, sure enough, almost everything had a tag with either LMS or TWS written on it.

This was two years before I would lose my first grandparent, and Tim's story may have reminded me of their mortality. I mostly just remember feeling really sad. I have always had a hard time in old folks homes-- when I was little our girlscout troop would go sing Christmas carols at one and I would just cry and cry when we were supposed to shake these old strangers' hands. Six years later and I find myself thinking about that story still and wanting to make a drawing about it. I called Tim to ask him what his sister's middle initial is, and we briefly exchanged talk about Ithaca, mutual friends and plans for Christmas.

When I got off the phone I thought it would be funny to play mixes given to me by Tim, but none of them would play, having been scratched into disuse long ago. It would feel really weird to throw them away-- mix cds have the emotional stature of mix tapes, but once they get scratched they are pretty much the ugliest and most useless things to hold on to. This picture is of the only three I think I have left-- the rest were borrowed by friends, left at old work places or lost at college parties a long time ago. Rough Cut is the first mix cd I was given, and I remember bringing my brothers boombox into my room and playing it over and over again trying to decode its meaning. The Mara Sessions is full of Sim Redmond Band, DMB and Ben Folds Five songs. Rewind and Remind was sent to me at college after we broke up for the first time in October (for about 14 tragic hours). I talked to Adrienne last night about them-- how they're so weird and plastic with their Sharpie-scrawled messy handwriting accross the fronts, and how maybe that makes them perfect subject matter for a drawing, where I get to hold them in the light one more time before finally throwing them away.

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