What makes for an exciting Friday night at Chez Cycling Archivist? Yup, you guessed it, changing the photo in one of my frames.
I know, this is a rather mundane task. What surprised me was the emotion it invoked. I switched from this photograph of my grandfather,
fly fishing at one of our favorite spots, to this one of myself cuddling with my nephew.
I realized during the process that the first photo is from 2005, the year Grandpa turned 90. My nephew, Daniel, was 9 days old when the second photo was taken. For a reason I am unable to put into words, the numbers 90 and 9 struck me, as if it were Grandpa’s way of approving the switch.
In 2005 I sold my condo, quit my job, and moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan to study Archives and Records Management. Quite simply, it was a year of change for me. One that allowed me to spend more time with my grandfather than I ordinarily did. Before classes started, we spent some time at the lake. I took the train to Chicago and celebrated Thanksgiving with Grandpa and other family members. That December we threw him a spectacular birthday party.
During my spring break I visited the Field Museum of Natural History, or as it is still known in my family, simply “the museum.” Grandpa spent his entire professional career at the museum (Melvin A. Traylor, Jr. – scroll down a bit) and on this particular visit, I got to look through his papers. In case this needs extra emphasis, I, an archivist-in-training, had the tremendous joy of looking through my grandfather’s professional papers.
He taught me to fish. His museum work influenced my career. Since his death in 2008, keeping the photo in sight has been such a small representation of all the influence he had, and continues to have, in my life.
But there’s a new man in my life.
A little guy who will bring new excitement to Thanksgiving and who has yet to cast a rod. Time will tell if Daniel has any interest in ornithology and/or museums. I realize that the influence of an aunt differs from that of a grandfather. Regardless, if to no one other than myself, the changing of these photographs represents a changing of the family order.
I have been promoted from student to teacher.