This evening I was in my hometown, Willamina, to pick up my son. We were early so Ireland excitedly suggested, “Let’s go the the park!!!” I heartily agreed! I mean, who wouldn’t want to go to the park!?!
As I stepped out of my car and through the park gate an excitement flooded me. This is the same little park I grew up playing in for all of my young life. My best friend, Peggy, and I spent countless hours there.
I watched happily as my girls were spun around on the merry-go-round. I remember begging Peggy’s brothers to push us around “just one more time”. I climbed up the slide ladder behind Ireland. She tells me to not fall on the way up and then after she went down and it was my turn she said, “Don’t get stuck, mama!” She said it more than once, that rascal!!! I did not get stuck, much to my relief! I did, however, promptly fall AFTER I stood up at the end of the slide!
My girls played on the teeter totter, then moved on to the swings. I quickly jumped on a swing and suddenly I felt emotional. Dusty was swinging next to me, but when I saw her out of the corner of my eye I just assumed it was Peggy. We would spend hours swinging. Right after my mom died I would just go to the park and swing. It was a bittersweet moment. I missed the simplicity of life back then, yet it was also painful. Both Peggy and I both experienced a great loss as young kids. I don’t remember a whole lot from that time. I cried myself to sleep each night and played with my friends during the day. The park was my place of refuge.
I spent years thinking of how I’d love to leave Willamina and now I think of how I’d like to walk through the town taking pictures. I wanted to forget that life, but now I’d like to remember. I think I just found what my personal photography project will be.