Word and Image

Archive for May 10, 2014

Separate Lives

SCA-00708 copy 2There was a time when every single photograph in my family of four went through my hands. Then Lisa got a camera. She didn’t use it much. J got a camera and I processed her photos. David …. Well they finally started having separate experiences and for those times, I could no longer document their lives. This was especially acute for me when J went to Namibia to teach. And then David went missing in various countries in South America so that we didn’t know which country he was trekking for weeks at a time in spite of internet access. Recently the kids’ great grandfather was part of an award in Germany. Hans Tobar was an entertainer and composer. He apparently wrote German musical theatre and comedy. I liken the festival to Mardi Gras in the US. There is a month long celebration and many clubs, which entertain. One club named an award after Hans. There has already been a documentary about Hans on German PBS. Lila is the last relative and was invited to attend the ceremony in Koln.SCA-00821 copy 2 Naturally she needed an escort as it is difficult for her to travel. It was quite a big deal and both kids were on German TV for interviews. A documentary film crew followed them. David thought it was hilarious that the commentator said that even though he was Chinese (me), there was still a resemblance to Hans that showed up. I’m delighted that the kids have connected with Lisa’s side of the family. It’s so easy to lose track of things. Even within a generation, we’ve lost track of all the great uncles on Lila’s side. And my family is a shambles. We’re in touch with my generation but not much beyond. For my parents, World War II, continents, and language differences made it all but impossible to keep up. I see my good buddy Susan devoted to her grandkids and getting some terrific photos. I envy her. But those kids will grow up all too soon. My time will come later. SCA-00782 copy 2David and J have been invited to return to Koln next year to ride on the float with the Master of Ceremonies. This is a very high honor and not extended to many people at all.  I said I’d come along and take pictures. J said, “But you weren’t invited. It’s very crowded and you may not be able to do it.” Hmmm… it sounds like a special photo op to me.