Once upon a time, a young girl named Alicia was cleaning out the attic with her grandmother. Alicia’s family were moving to a new house in a few weeks and they wanted to start getting their belongings packed up as early as possible to make the move easier. Her younger brother, Jack, and her father had volunteered themselves to clean the shed while Alicia and her grandmother thought it best they start in the attic and work their way down the house. The family had mainly used the attic for storage over the past couple of years, so the air had become stale and there was a layer of dust lining the top of the boxes and sheets that had been stored away in the hopes of being used again someday.
They knew their job would be difficult, but they had prepared themselves by sharing a roast lamb lunch before they ventured up into the attic, so they were full of good food and a positive attitude. They started by sorting the things they found into three piles: keep, throw away and give away. When they first started, there was a surprising amount in the throw away pile, but, the more boxes they sorted through, the closer the keep pile and the give away pile were to catching up. There were a lot of memories to discuss along the way, some harder to talk about than others, but they always tried to speak of all memories in a positive light. Most of the boxes were labelled, but, eventually, Alicia and her grandmother came across an unmarked box that had been taped up tightly. Alicia’s grandmother ran her fingers along the edge of the box before opening it with a small knife. She opened it and, to Alicia’s surprise at least, sitting at the bottom of the box, was a single camera with a label on it which read: For Alicia.
Alicia’s grandmother appeared a lot less surprised at what was in the box and didn’t hesitate for long before picking it up out of the box with two hands, lightly dusting the camera with her fingers after examining it for a moment. Alicia’s thoughts drifted away from wondering who had left her the camera when realised she had seen these types of cameras in some of the older movies she had watched with her grandmother. She knew you were able to take a photograph and that it would print straight out of the bottom of the camera. Once Alicia’s grandmother had finished dusting off the camera, she handed it over to Alicia who then looked at from different angles to begin piecing together the function of each of the camera’s parts. After letting her explore the camera for some time, Alicia’s grandmother eventually helped her by showing her the right buttons to press to take a photo. Since they had been working hard all morning, they decided to take a break to give Alicia some time to explore her new gift.
They both went downstairs and commented on how fresh the air was now that they were out of the attic. Alicia went to her room while her grandmother went to organize a snack. Sitting on the edge of her bed, Alicia explored the camera again before holding the eyepiece up to her eye and pressing the shutter button to take her first photograph. The camera made a whirring sound and produced an undeveloped photograph from the slot towards its base. Placing the photograph in her lap, Alicia closed her eyes just long enough to briefly fall asleep, waking with a slight stir and noticing that the photograph had finished developing. She held it up to take a closer look but wasn’t sure exactly what she was looking at. It took a few seconds for Alicia to realise that the photograph showed a picture of the day that her mother had brought her home from the hospital, bringing her to her room for the first time. Alicia knew this because she still had the blanket her mother had wrapped her up in the day she arrived home.
For the next few minutes, Alicia excitedly walked around her house, taking photograph after photograph until the camera’s flashing red light told her that there was no film left. She rushed back to her room and spread the photos out on her carpeted floor, waiting for them to develop. Alicia was lying on her stomach examining the photographs when her grandmother walked back in with the snacks. Her calmness reassured Alicia that everything was O.K. and the two of them sat and looked at each of the photographs for the next several minutes, remembering in as much detail as they could the happy memories that each one showed.
Knowing they should head back to the attic to finish their work before the boys came back inside, Alicia picked up the photographs and the camera and packed them up in a special box that she knew wouldn’t be forgotten in the move to their new house.
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
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