When I was seventeen I wanted to be a photographer. I didn't even own a camera.
My fella was in the navy stationed overseas and on the day of my high school graduation I opened a delivery package shipped from Japan with a Canon AE-1 camera in it - with a love note telling me I could be anything I wanted to be.
I felt special. I felt loved. I might have been the happiest girl in the whole USA. Quick - who sings that song?
I loved that camera.
I never learned how to properly use it and so my pictures were always overexposed or underexposed or other fancy photog words.
But I remember the feel of it in my hands.
I remember how it felt to wind it and how the click of the shutter button sounded. There was a rewind button and you pulled it up and turned it and the back of the camera popped open. And when it popped I felt important. Feeding the film in and getting it just right on the teeth made me feel like a professional - even if the pictures of the flamingos at the zoo didn't look professional and even though I sometimes opened the back and exposed the whole roll of film.
I stood in a really long line to register for junior college two months later and when it was my turn all the photography classes were full. They were full for three semesters and by then my dreams had changed - and so had my fella.
When I was pregnant with Delia He's Too Good To Me gave me a camera on Mother's Day. I think I probably cried cause I cried alot then, and I remember wanting him to learn how to use it and then show me cause by then I was already in love with the idea of him taking care of me.
In 2000 I had just started taking some professional photos and tinting them when a drunk driver forgot to turn his lights on and hit us hard. The left side of my face was broken and for so many years I couldn't close my left eye to use my right eye for the viewfinder. And I can't wink with my right eye, so that was that . . .
On my birthday last year he surprised me with my first digital camera - with all the whistles and bells.
At least I thought he gave it to me.
She's my baby girl and is four years from seventeen and she already is a photographer.
And isn't it joy to see one of your dreams take life in your child? I wasn't good enough, but she is.
There was more than one thing missing in my dream, and one of them was seeing - something you have to be born with - I wasn't - she was - a good eye. She sees.
She's gifted. Some things are gifts. One can learn to use a camera but not everyone can see what needs to be taken.
She doesn't want to be a photographer when she grows up.
But maybe one day she'll stand in a very long line and the only classes open will be photography classes. Maybe then she will know that dreams change.
But maybe not.
This is a love note from your daddy and me that you can be anything you want to be - take any road you want to take.
She has her own blog now - Isabela Cupstid Photography. May I ask you to please go to it and leave her an encouraging comment?
And . . .
Does anyone have a camera I can use?