Sara’s beautiful portraits of her niece reminded me of a photograph I took of my sister at an ice cream cafe we visited together. The sticker and postcard in these pictures are collaterals for a local youth movement, the Silver Yarn Project, which puts the limelight on relationships with the elderly.
“The voice on the other side of the line is calm and firm. But you hear the quiver before you even notice the uttered words. It tugs at your heartstrings. You ask for her name and she declines politely. She didn’t ask for yours. As she speaks, you make up an old lady with snow white curly hair and fair wrinkled skin.
She tells you about various events and she cautions you about the social system we are caught in. She laments about the perils of being old, female, and alone. She says she had worked for 33 years. Behind those words, you hear an independent and confident woman speaking. You can’t see who it is, but you imagine someone down-and-under yet resolute.
You drop your formalities and you chat with her. You can feel her warming up to you. Then she divulges her age -75- and her son’s age -44. In return, you let her in on yours and she chuckles. You can be my daughter, no, my granddaughter, she says. You allow her to talk. Sometimes she talks about her life, but she talks mainly about happenings. The string of events makes up the basis of her story, but you know the story lies in the voice. And so you listen, to the story of another’s life.”