pirates and pink flamingos

June 6, 2005.

I wrote my first blog post.

It was the day after Andrew graduated from high school. I’m not sure why I decided it was time to start blogging that day, but for some reason I did. It was a typical (for me) slightly melancholic reflection about wondering whether I had done enough.

And now, four years later (and more than 1000 posts on just my own blogs), we’re getting ready for Hope’s graduation on June 6, 2009.

What’s interesting for me is the completely different challenge we are facing in creating the display part of her party.

The display part is where you have trophies and scrapbooks and banners and letters and all the evidences that this child matters, that this child did something for the last four years. It is the time where extended family members who only see the child once or twice a year say, “you did that?” It’s the time when all those participation ribbons can be displayed.

tray of flamingo cookiesFor Hope, and I suspect for an increasing number of kids, this is a very difficult task.

Part of the challenge is Hope. Her specialty is being part of vocal groups and dramatic productions. She is part of the chorus in a musical, one of the voices and faces that bring huge light to the stage without being the star. She is an alto, bringing intonation, and blend and intensity to the 15 voices or the 30 voices or the 100 voices. She sang this year with her high school choir, with the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir, and, because she could take a college class, with a university choir.

But how do you capture experiences? There aren’t trophies, there are stories. There are dim glimpses in fuzzy photos.

And there is another challenge: the communication mileau. That is a gradscuool word meaning context, meaning “the world of images and messages in which she swims.”

Hope has been in my blog for four years. I’ve been telling stories about her (and Andrew, mind you) regularly here and in other places I write. She has been on Facebook, publishing her own pictures, her own stories. She’s in some videos I created and you have seen. She has, for her friends and a growing number of family, an ongoing, constantly updating scrapbook.

And how do you capture that presence for a graduation display?

Four years ago on the Friday before graduation, I was creating a wall of printed photographs for Andrew, a static display. It was what we had. Today, as I am working on the party for Hope, I am gathering photos and videos and will be creating a wall of monitors, a trail of video clips showing concerts, playing music, giving an expereince.

That still won’t capture either Hope or her world. But what could?

Her theme for her graduation party is “pirates and pink flamingos.” No particular deep meaning, just a delight in the odd juxtaposition of images.

But maybe that is the point. We live in, we are, odd  and rich juxtapositions of images. There is no simple way to capture a high school senior in a simple storyline for friends and family. Maybe we create the montage and let that count.

And parents of younger children, start thinking now about the implications of the terabytes of information that you and they will be creating. How will you capture that for their graduation party?


The party is from 2-5 on Saturday. Feel free to stop by. 🙂


4 responses to “pirates and pink flamingos

  1. Happy Blogoversary and Happy Graduation to Hope.

    By blogging you’re sharing those images, thoughts and more with us, a glimpse.

    Every one has different memories of one person and their lifetime, what they do, who they are, what they contribute. My guess is that the storyline is with each of you. By each of you being there, you complete the picture to an extent. Even this small glimpse from the outside is significant.

  2. What a wonderful moment in time for you guys! All the work and time and effort to honor Hope is a blessing — for Hope, for you and Nancy, and for so many others. Wouldn’t it be interesting if we did the honoring, the partying, for those we love on a regular schedule — say every 5 years? Have a great weekend!

  3. Blargh. On so many levels.

    -your note to those of us with young’ins
    -the effort thought and care your family is putting into this
    – those cool cookies and the fact that Lucy just asked if we could go to your house and borrow some.

    -and for the pirates.

  4. Montage is good 🙂

    Have fun at the party, and love to Hope!