The Family Home

This is a story about my family, and the house my father grew up in just outside of Philadelphia. His parents bought the house in 1961. They raised five children there and lost one. My grandfather was in the Merchant Marines - fixing engines in the steamy underbelly of the liberty ships that sailed in WWII. Later, he worked for the Pennsylvania steel companies. My grandmother curled her hair and cooked up great, hearty meals for raucous family dinners around the dining room table. I visited every summer with my parents, on home-leave from Asia, where we lived. We moved around a lot - the Philly house was always there to come home to. 

I spent many summers splashing around in the creek out back of the house - digging clay from the banks, finding bright, discarded fish tank pebbles mixed in with the gray and brown ones, catching crayfish beneath flat stones, chasing the millions of blinking fireflies around the yard at dusk. 

These are my good memories - my comfortable, safe memories of childhood and home. But, there is a sadness, too. Up and down the street, in most of the houses, people have stories of cancer. My family does too. My grandfather would list all the people in the neighborhood who had died - over and over, the same sad stories. Something is wrong with the neighborhood, but nobody knows what.

Most of the pictures in the series were made on what I knew would be my last stay at the house. My grandfather passed away and the house was sold. The work is an homage to our family and our history - our shared memories, both good and bad. It is one last look at the house we called home for so many years. 

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