Where Is It?
Where Is It?
Welcome to my first official blog posting. Today, July 1, 2012 marks the one year anniversary of the new NJTV. Although my videos began airing on many public television stations a few months prior to July 1, 2011, there was nothing like seeing my videos air not only in my hometown, thus making it “real,” but NJ was my childhood and my videos are expressions of that childhood. Not representations, but expressions of what I think childhood should be.
I think about childhood constantly and what it means to be a child. I think about my own childhood, others’ childhoods. When people ask me why I’m so drawn to performing with children or documenting them in video, it’s because I’m fascinated with this period of our lives which is so short lived in comparison to the rest of our lives, but so dramatically defines who we become.
I think we’ve gotten so used to so much commercialism, and cartoons, that we forget about capturing the soul of children and the romanticism of childhood in kids’ media. When people ask me why I do what I do, part of is it because I’m still looking for something that I simply can’t catch or pin down. I want to know Where Is It?
I was raised by my 80 plus year old European grandmother who died when I was 15. I am certain that in the history of grandchildren, there was never a child who loved their grandmother the way that I loved her. I slept next to her every night. I watched her age daily. I used to wake up in the middle of the night to make sure she was still breathing. I was so certain that my love for her would supersede death. I was certain that she would live forever. I even made an agreement with G-d, and thought that my wishes were granted. Even as her body aged and she couldn’t move, I still believed that she would never leave me. I am certain that the love that grows between a young child and an aging person is the most profound love there is.
I have virtually three items from my life with her: her pink chair, her pink chaise lounge, and her wedding ring. I have two or three pictures of her total. Why I even have her two pink chairs is a story in and of itself which I will later save for the screenplay. (ha ha). Let’s just say that when she died, my then Italian boyfriend told me that he was taking( what were then completely broken chairs.) (Why they were broken is part two of the screenplay which I will later save.) But, needless to say he put them in his car, drove them to his mother who promised me that she would fix them and return them to me one day if I ever wanted them.
She held them for me for several years and I reclaimed them. When I shot my first round of videos, the chairs were transportable and bright so I put them in two of my videos. It was that simple. I didn’t put the chair in the video because it was her chair. They looked good, and that was it.
Last year, in late June, I was explaining to my friend that I wanted to recreate a blueprint image of the house that I grew up in for another video I wanted to shoot. This video would tell the story of an old woman and young children. But, I don’t have access to the house I grew up in so I asked my friend from high school if we can scope out her parent’s house which was structurally similar to my own. Of course they said, “yes.” She was my best friend from high school, Allyson.
Ironically, a few years ago, my husband and I were selling our apartment and my best friend from grade school, (Marcia’s) parents let me store some belongings in their basement. I had an old beat up antique gold table that I bought at a thrift store 13 years ago that I stored in Marcia’s house across town. Neither Marcia’s parents knew Allyson’s parents. They had never met. They are also on complete opposite sides of town.
The day that we went to Allyson’s parent’s house to draw the blueprint, my husband, my friend and myself, walked downstairs into what would’ve been my grandmother’s living room and right there is the gold antique table that I left at the other friend’s house a few years back. It was the freakiest thing. I asked Allyson’s mother where she got it and she said she saw people across town throwing it away so she bought it for $5, and was about to toss it herself.
My husband immediately picked it up, put it over his shoulder and put it in our car. Clearly, this table was ours. It was an inanimate object that somehow had a story and wouldn’t let itself out of our lives. That it was sitting there in what would’ve been my grandmother’s apartment, kind of gave me the chills. I felt something when I looked at it. It was totally freaky.
Approximately seven days later or so, at 6:58 in the morning on a bright July 1st morning, NJTV aired my video “Where Is It?” It was the first video to air out of the many that could’ve aired. For the first time, in the million times I watched that video, I immediately felt my grandmother when I saw her chair air on NJTV. Had that table not reappeared in my life so cosmically, I wouldn’t have noticed it, at all.
There is history, soul, spirit, pain, loss, and longing that live in inanimate objects. They hold secrets and know things about our childhoods.
The greatest sorrows and the greatest of loves came from my hometown of Fair Lawn, NJ, in my grandmother’s garage apartment. Her pink chair knew all that it, and found its way on NJTV to tell us a story about searching for things which seem to escape us.
So with great pride in NJ, NJTV and the search for where it all goes, I couldn’t be more touched and honored. Happy Birthday NJTV!!!