A Snapshot in Time
By Rachel Kelly
“A Snapshot in Time” is a story about June, a teenager, who bonds with her grandmother and learns how far her love reaches.
It’s Thanksgiving morning, and I flip through the musty old photo album in my grandmother’s study. I admire the pictures of my mom and four aunties, but I admire the pictures of my Grandmama the most. It’s funny how we look so much alike. Seeing these photos, I sometimes feel like I’m seeing myself. Looking through these photo albums is one of my favorite things to do. Every time I look at them, I’m transported back in time.
I see a photo of my Grandmama sleeping with hair curlers (the style in the ’70s); another one of her picking up a telephone that was wired to the wall; and my favorite in this album, a photo of the bright red front door closing and Grandmama’s favorite pair of blue spool high heels peeking out. These were photos taken by my mom and her sister Suzie when they got a hold of the prized Instamatic family camera. My mom told me that Grandmama got really angry at them after that because developing the film was expensive.
I’m alone in the study room while Grandmama is cooking, and Tom, my older brother, is helping Mom clean up before everyone arrives for Thanksgiving dinner. I’m supposed to be doing homework, but I can never help looking at the photo albums whenever I’m in this room.
My favorite album is the one of their trip to Washington, DC where they marched for women’s equality. I get out of my chair and am on my tiptoes almost touching the album. I reach as far as I can for it and sit back down. I slowly open the album, and that’s when I see my Grandmama peek through the study door. I gasp and hold the album tight.
My Grandmama walks into the room. “I didn’t know you were interested in old photos.” She sits down in the chair next to me. “You like the photos of the march?”
“That day was so historic,” she remarks. “Your mom, her sisters, and I went all the way to DC to be there. I even took them out of school. Their teachers thought I was crazy, but your grandpa and I knew it was the right thing to do.”
“Wow, did Grandpa go? How come I don’t see him in any of the pictures?” I ask.
“Oh, he wanted to go so badly, but right before we were going, he broke his leg. I wanted to stay with him in New York, but he made us go. His mom thankfully took care of him since she also knew the significance of us going to the march.”
“I thought you didn’t drive?” I asked.
“No, I still don’t,” she replied sadly.
“How did you…”
She cut me off. “We took a bus from New York with other people in the march. There were buses with loads of people going—but enough with this book. You see it all the time, and you’ve heard this story at least twenty times! I want to show you my favorite album.” She proudly picks up a thin book all the way at the end. “Have you ever looked at this one?”
I shake my head no. I hadn’t noticed it before because it was so small.
“I thought so. Here are the photos of you and your cousins. Memories from each time you came to visit. Look, this section is all photos of you, June.”
I gasp at the sight of me holding up the poster that is the same poster in the photos of Grandmama at the march.
“When was that taken?” I ask.
“When you were two. Somehow you found it all on your own from under the couch.”
“I thought you didn’t have the poster anymore?”
“I don’t,” she sighed. She turned the page, and you could see Tom in the next photo ripping the poster into pieces while I was crying. Then, the photo after that shows Tom and me in a full-blown tug of war for the poster.
“At a young age, you were always curious and stood up for your rights,” Grandmama smiled. “It’s so appropriate that you are carrying around that sign. I am so proud of how you have become such a strong-willed young lady and for all of the opportunities you will have, compared to the time of the march in DC. I see a lot of me in you and hope that you will forge ahead in whatever you want to do, and not to let anything—or anyone—get in your way.”
That Thanksgiving, I gave thanks to my grandmother, all of her stories, and all of the women before me who have paved the way for me to be all that I can be. Today, I realize that my grandmama is thankful for me too—and all of the future girls who will stand up for gender equality and for themselves.
Rachel Kelly is a sophomore in high school who loves writing and film. She started a YouTube channel where she likes to show her short films. She also enjoys photography, bullet journaling and ice skating.