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I barely knew my grandmother.
After a lifetime of polite, timid visits to her in the nursing home, she died in July, leaving to me her entire estate. What I discovered in my inheritance was a treasure trove of her letters, photographs, and personal effects that for the first time in my life made me want to know more about this woman. A woman who gave up her only child to be raised by her parents. A woman who was married for four months of her life, and then never sought marriage again. A woman who seemingly never looked back at her bold choices in life.
My grandmother married in a true Romeo-&-Juliet fashion, running away with the neighbor boy whose family were dire enemies of her own. She was pregnant, and they fled Pennsylvania for the northernmost part of Maine, where he was stationed with the Coast Guard. Three months after her marriage, she gave birth. One month later, her new husband died in a freak accident in WWII. She came back to Pennsylvania long enough to deposit the child, my father, with her family. Then she took off to hopefully make it in the world, enough to come back for the boy, but she never did.
This exhibit is a culmination of discovery about her, about my grandfather, and about my father. Hers was a life I knew little about, and unfortunately still know very little about. I've tried to show the beauty of the objects she collected and held dear. I've tried to awaken a sense of the mysterious person she became, especially to her own family. But I feel almost no sentimentality towards her… if you detect any in this show, it's because I myself am a sentimental person. To the outside world, Margaret was not very noticeable in her lifetime, and I hoped this project would shed some light on her inner beauty and consciousness, but those things are regrettably still missing. The person these photographs showcase is up to you to figure out. This is the evidence I discovered, you make your own judgments.
Ok Margaret, This Is Your Moment.
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Mead, Emma, "OK Margaret, This Is Your Moment" (2011). Senior Projects Fall 2011. 18.
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