“All our life is drawn on our faces. That’s why when we’re old, we have wrinkles. It’s like a painting. Your grandmother’s life is in the wrinkles in her face.”
I bought it when my dad told me this. Sometimes I studied my grandmother’s face to see if I could find the stories. Really, parents, you can tell your kids anything, pretty much.
My grandma didn’t mind my sitting on her lap, looking at her, putting my little hands on her face, asking her questions, like “What does this wrinkle mean, grandma?” I couldn’t read words yet. I thought the wrinkles were just one more thing I’d learn once I started school. I figured the grownups could look at her and see everything.
Now I’m the age my grandmother was. My life has been so different, and I would say easier than hers it’s crazy. The photo above is two of my aunts — the youngest of my grandmother’s children — on a spring day in front of their house in Hardin, Montana around 1930.
At her 50th wedding anniversary party — 1957 — my grandma was about the age I am now, but older than I at the same age — but not by a lot. It’s not only life that writes on our faces but genetics.
At this point, I see life as a conveyor belt or a river; time. We’re born, discharged into time, we are carried along, dependent on our parents, we learn how to live here, our parents drop away from us, we become parents ourselves, we age and, in our turn, step off the conveyor belt of time into the vast gray of memory. We began as a spasm of delight and end as an idea. And my dad was right; our lives ARE written on our faces.