Rebecca Wilks

Rebecca Wilks; Photographer, Teacher, Yarnellian, Do-Gooder

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

They Hold Stories

 Inspiration can come from anywhere, really.

For this project I credit my friend, photographer Lee Zeitelhack.  A couple of months ago he posted images in a private Facebook photography group of his special objects.  

I got thinking that some sentimental things hold stories for me as well.  If photography is about conveying emotion, I hope that images of such things bring out their tales.

Dad has been gone for 29 years.  He was a WWII era navigator in the Army Air Corps, though he was just young enough that he didn’t see any action.  These are his wings.  They made them in sterling then and they have a solidness that speaks to me.  Sometimes I wear them as jewelry.

I was single for a decade or so after divorcing.  Lexie was probably a border collie; I brought her home from downtown Phoenix where she was abandoned as a puppy.  She was my buddy.  If I’d had any idea how difficult she would be, I would have run the other way.  Life’s funny that way.

Mom did all her desk work for thirty or more years with this Sheaffer’s fountain pen.  She used turquoise ink.  Remnants of the ink are still on the nib, which is one of the reasons I’ve not cleaned it.  If a right-handed child used the pen, broken in by left-handed Mom, we had a big unpleasant event at home.

I’ve graduated from lots of things.  Enough said.

When I was in the single digits and still living in Los Angeles, Dad and I had a Sunday morning tradition.  We went to breakfast, just the two of us.  Mom and my sister preferred to sleep in and my brother was away at college by the time I was 6.  At first we went to iHOP, but we had really bad service one morning and he stormed out, with me in tow, never to return.  I was pretty upset at the time, but we revised the tradition and started going to upscale hotels for Sunday breakfast.  I remember playing with the switchboard (yes, big plugs like the movies) at the Beverly Hillcrest and enduring the wrath of the swans in the pond at the Bel Air.  One morning a man visiting from Japan came to our table in the Bel Air Hotel dining room to chat and gave me an embroidered pink giraffe.  There’s no telling why this made such an impression on me, but I continue to enjoy it nearly 50 years later.

In 2006 I had the privilege of traveling in Mongolia with a Buddhist Khambo Lama who was teaching traditional Mongolian Medicine in his monastery. He spoke only limited English.  As he was walking our small group through the museum which would have been his home had he been from the previous generation, he ducked into the little gift shop and bought me this tiny turtle.  His expression was very sincere.  It was on a beaded keychain at the time, and rode around on my camera bag for years.  I don’t know what the significance was, but this was another gift which made an impression on me and which I’ve held on to.

I know, they’re just things, but I love the way they jog my memories.


  1. Memories can be evoked by places, people and things. I constantly take photos of funky stuff in my house and special gifts. Your Dad's wings are stunning.

    1. Thanks, Gaelyn. I appreciate the comment and your visit.