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How a Box of Slides Ignited My Obsession.

This obsession with my grandfather being a spy sparked from the dusty box of slides he gave me in my 20s. “Here I vant you to have this”, he told me they were photos he took from his travels around the world. I tossed them in a closet and a few years later I cracked it open. There were hundreds of slides. He thoughtfully gave me this scanner that can scan 5 slides at a time, taking about 20 minutes. Not ideal and to date, I’ve only scanned about 150 and yes, I am looking into paying for a scanning service. I see the reward as getting to see the smiling faces of my youthful mom and uncle, as well as my enigmatic grandmother and grandfather.

The slides showcase my family’s many travels around the world; Czech Republic, Venice, Paris, Germany, the East Coast of the US, the Grand Canyon, castles, vast bodies of water, camping, beautiful European gardens, and many more places I've yet to identify.

The thing about these slides is that in each box of 25 there are at least 10 missing from the set...this got me thinking could these vacations also be work trips? Were my mom and uncle used as props in these photos? Could this be possible? Were they just harmless family trips to beautiful places? I’ll never know.

Going through this process about learning about my family has taught me a lot, I’ve had many sleepless nights, just thinking and wondering. If I come to a roadblock, I’ll take time away from this project, for a couple of weeks or months. I’ve also taken the advice from my mom about just letting it go...I just have to let go of some things and admit I’ll just never know.

Receiving these slides has been the grandest gift of my life. A Pandora’s box of mystery, intrigue, and discovery.


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