Over on our Instagram page, we’re posting a weekly installation from Clare Johnson’s Post-it Note Project, a long running daily project. Here’s her wrap-up and statement from August's posts.
Every summer, every year of my life, we go visit my mom’s family in Idaho. It is all of our time with them crammed into a few days, once a year. I feel frustrated trying to describe it in normal sentences. Lazy days reading or swimming, that calmness—memories of my grandparents, funny stories—relentlessly complex onslaught of family interactions—introvert me with migraines, trouble sleeping—goofing around with cousins, now their children too—epic cooking efforts, my dad baking, my mom’s sudden sewing projects—laughing with my sisters late at night upstairs. Somehow getting ready for bed together as grown-ups creates these last-minute moments that end up being the funniest of the day. Maybe the three of us trying to figure out who got whose boobs was a natural outcome of spending so much of the day in swimsuits, or talking about dead relatives. When I was a teenager, my cousin and I would stay up after everyone else had gone to bed, talking about music, girls, whatever. That year he couldn’t come, he’d just become a father, I missed hanging out, wary of the ways friendships change when people have kids. I’m not sure if we’d ever really talked on the phone until then. Last year another cousin’s daughter was sitting on the couch with me when I casually happened to impart MIND-BLOWING INFORMATION about how size does not indicate age in grown-ups the way it does in kids. Outside there’s always laundry on the line, always shifting, always the same, always makes me think of my grandma. You couldn’t walk past that laundry line without risking her roping you into some task; I think she felt being busy was some kind of protection. The last post-it has something to do with Shelley Duvall—my sister and I had been revisiting old Faerie Tale Theatre episodes from our childhood, I’m kind of obsessed with her singing Harry Nilsson’s “He Needs Me” in the movie Popeye but that seemed to be a memory from my childhood alone, not shared—and something to do with how we always go skinny dipping on the last night. Dark lake, squealing sisters, shocking stars. I get overwhelmed with loving this place, and overwhelmed with the losses it shoves in my face, all the years of my grandma disappearing in front of us until we couldn’t remember her real self anymore, laundry didn’t mean a thing.