constructed memories

Constructed Memories, 2020

My approach to this project was to reconstruct an interpretative reality of my childhood with nostalgic undertones.

This first image was taken in my parent’s home, more specifically the foyer. This is the home that holds the majority of my childhood memories, and the home that I was mostly raised in. 

Before I could hold a pencil, I could hold a cello bow. I played cello for 12 years starting at age 4. I don’t remember exactly when I began practicing in our foyer, but it was pretty early on. The cello is the closest instrument to the human voice, which is the reason that most people enjoy the sound of even a poorly played cello. My parent’s are two of those people. Even when I was young and couldn’t have been any good, my parent’s insist that they loved the sound. Due to that reason, my family didn’t mind my hours of practice filling the house on a daily basis. 

Our center-hall Colonial home has this foyer that was meant for a cellist. Its acoustics flow up to the second floor, with warm bass notes amplifying against the vinyl flooring. 

Although it has been 5 years since my last orchestra concert, private lesson, or practice, my cello still has a home in my heart. I believe it shaped a big part of me as a person, a student, and a musician. The calluses on my hands are gone, but I don’t think the memories are ever going to fade.

This second image was taken in the sunroom of my childhood home. I used my brother, Seth, as a stand-in for the summer memories of my dad taking Sunday morning naps in the patio. It was easier to convince Seth to cooperate than to convince my dad to cooperate. My family doesn’t really like their photos be taken, myself included. 

This wicker furniture has been in all of my parent’s houses – from their shack in Miami, then their first home in Miami, to the house I lived in the first few years of my life in Wellington, and finally to Cleveland. Most of the matching chairs to this couch have fallen apart and met their end here, but this couch remains. 

Their dozen cats over 30 years weren’t the only ones enjoying the patio furniture. My dad has always loved our sunroom. He would lay on this couch reading, working, taking naps in the warm weather. Now that he is retired, he (with my 30-pound cat) takes a daily nap out there.

This has always been a fond memory of my dad. He always looked so relaxed and at peace when he was out here taking naps with the cats, and getting their daily dose of Vitamin D.

This final image is my favorite. This is my big boy Sunny. Sunny is 14-years-old, and he and his littermate Speedy were my childhood pets. After Speedy passed away 2 years ago, we started to give Sunny even more attention than beforehand. This ended up backfiring a little bit, as now he refuses to walk up the stairs himself (we’ve seen him walk up the stairs, he is able to but he refuses to because he knows we will carry him if he cries enough), and we have self-made “stairs” onto all of our furniture so that he doesn’t need to hurt his old man joints by jumping half his height onto the couch. The point I’m trying to get across is that Sunny lives in the lap of luxury. 

It’s no surprise that my cats are my life and have always been my life. I spent a lot of my childhood not speaking, instead just observing. I would sit on the couch with the cats and “speak” to them. It was a lot less pressure because I didn’t have to hold a conversation with them. As the baby of 3, I would get bored with my sibling’s at school. I think that I am a crazy cat lady at 21-years-old because I spent the beginning of my life having cats as my best friends. 

Sunny lives up to his name and spends most of his time finding the best sun patch to lay in. I know that Sunny is closing in on his greater reward and will join Speedy within time. There’s no doubt in my mind that Sunny and Speedy will always hold an importance in my lifetime, and I’m thankful for having them at my side as I grew up and moved out. 

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