Photographs are Passports to a Priceless Place Called Memory
Photographs are passports to a priceless place called MEMORY; they help us remember to remember.
My Mom, fine artist Priscilla Jenne, was born in 1922 in Minneapolis. She began her professional career winning prizes at local and state competitions.
When mom was placed in a nursing home, I was worried for her memory. She’d been ‘losing’ people and places. Time was not her friend. Thankfully, she kept a photo of my dad close. She never lost sight of me or him.
Three years later, I noticed his photo was no longer with her all the time, but instead, tossed into her drawer. What was her evening ritual of holding his image close to her heart as she slept, had been lost. She was losing sight of the man and the family that meant everything to her. The dementia was taking this incredible love away from her. I could not accept it.
Somehow, I knew immediately what had to be done. I put together a big book of images – photos of mom growing-up, her parents, brother, our family, my family, her grandchildren. I brought the book to her and she immediately began going through it. It was like long-lost friends coming into the room!
She exclaimed and oohed and ahhhh’d over every image. She cried over the images of herself and my father on their wedding day and the images of her their life together in NYC. She recognized immediately that I was the baby in her arms at the hospital. She recognized our apartments, their friends, her friends in NYC and the art they did together.
Everything began pouring back in. I was so relieved. The dementia was no match for true memories!