My father had a trap line. So, of course when your children are two and a half, and four years old, all dressed up in their hand knit sweaters in March of 1961 you want to take a picture of them with the dead fox you caught in your trap-line.
Who are these children? I know it is a photograph of me and my brother. But, who are we? What were we thinking? Were we happy? Did we want to have our photograph taken with a dead fox in front of our house on Avenue K in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan? Were our mittens tied to a string?
What were we thinking? Was the foxes body cold? Was the fur soft? What am I holding in my hand? I look like I am having trouble standing up. Perhaps the frozen fox was leaning against me and I felt unstable.
What was my father thinking? Was my mother there? Does she remember?
What were we doing before this photograph was taken? Was this photograph taken after I cut my own bangs? Is that why they are so short? Did I put on my boots with the fur trim myself or did my mother have to help me? What did we do after this photograph was taken? Are we going somewhere? Were we taking a snack with us?
Did my father start the car and warm it up for us? Was it cold in Saskatoon in March 1961?
Memories of childhood were the dreams that stayed with you after you woke.
― Julian Barnes, England, England
In my dreams
In my dreams my father is still alive, my brother and I are still living with our parents on Avenue K and my parents are still married and happy.
But my father died sixteen years ago, I have not lived with my family since 1978 and my parents divorced and remarried.
When you finally go back to your old hometown, you find it wasn’t the old home you missed but your childhood. ~Sam Ewing
I flew to Canada last June to see my mother for her birthday. We looked through old black and white photographs, and I took a photograph of a photograph of my brother and me with a dead fox.
What is memory?
What is memory? Does our past only exist in the photographs of our childhood? Do the events of our lives exist if we don’t remember them? If we don’t remember our childhood did it happen?
The photograph is a slice of a day. A few seconds. All that remains is this photograph. There is no memory of what happened before or after.
If I didn’t have this photograph there would be no memory of the frozen fox. There would only be a vague dream of a cold fox with soft fur.
Did you pose with a dead fox when you were two and a half? Or were you only dreaming?
Do you have a photograph of yourself as a child you would like to share? Perhaps one with a dead fox? Click here to comment.
This story is part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge. Click on the orange slice to read other Slice stories.