As a new subscriber to the daily Winnipeg Free Press, after reading the front section and the business sections, I occasionally turn to the obituarites. It’s not out of any real morbid fascination, though my analyst might disagree. Rather, I look carefully at the cropped, black and white formal and informal photographs of individuals who grace the pages of small text and commemorative, sad, or celebratory content. Laid out in row after row, the faces are scattered on the pages. Sometimes, a photo of someone from 1937 or 1973 will be seen next to another photo of the same person from 1995. The changes in appearance are inherently shocking; once young, vibrant and polished grinning faces turn into wrinkled and sometimes grimmacing ones. But what’s even more shocking is that sense of mild shock. Why should I, or anyone, be amazed by the transition, which is as normative as a tree dropping leaves in the Fall? I know that much has been written about the Seven Up! series but my quick theory is that we’re amazed that we are alive to witness not being alive.
I want to write more about this but I can’t.