Joseph Philipson Visual Journalism661.727.4057

My Fourth

My fourth of July was quite interesting. When I was a younger child my family had a split. I stopped seeing extended family members almost immediately. No contact at all. As an adult, I’ve been slowly trying to reconnect with these people I have vague childhood memories with. I was invited to a family fourth of July celebration. I accepted, even though I was going against my instincts, I sailed into awkward territory. Who’s who? Should I know someone? Should I know them? Turns out I remembered everyone I should have, and the people I didn’t know were just friends of family. Like most parties when you bump into people you don’t want to be rude so you talk, but you don’t really talk about anything because you know the odds of seeing this person again are quite slim. However, it was nice to be with a family on a day you should be with family. I enjoyed the inside jokes I didn’t understand, I liked the traditions of how everyone had their job, and of course the bbq. Like a mini-vacation…

I don’t recall the dogs name, but I always love it when there are animals at parties with lots of people I don’t know. I tend to latch on to them. They’re so accepting, and sometimes it’s like they can sense your uneasiness. I was really happy when this guy kept coming over to check on me and let me pat him. He’s such a handsome dog too.

It was nice to be around so many people though, and to see families interacting with each other.

My grandmother, my last living grandparent, attended this family get together. It was my first time speaking with her since my grandfather died some 7 years ago. Before that I hadn’t spoken with her for probably another 8 years. It was nice to sit with her, even if we didn’t really know each other. However, I hope to fix that soon with more visits.

Her name is Stella, I’m unsure of her age, I didn’t want to ask but as far as I can tell late 80’s or early 90’s. As a little boy I remembered her as a kind and loving person and my memory was accurate.

During dinner I met this girl (forgot name, I know I suck) and she’s a model/actress. I could tell she didn’t know anyone either and I just felt like maybe she just needed someone to talk to for a second. We got on the subject of photography and I was explaining to her differences in lenses and apertures, blah, blah, blah. I took her photograph to show her how it all works.

Then it was dark, time for fireworks. You could hear the neighbors slowly starting to celebrate. Mathew, my long lost cousin, who works for the city of LA passed out sparklers for everyone to play with before the main fireworks show.

Something so simple can make someone so happy for a moment. Like you forget everything and just watch the sparkles dance off the end of the stick, hoping it doesn’t go out but knowing it will just as fast as it came.

The main show was fun, filled with lots of “oooo’s” and “ahhh’s” at the display of lights.

Overall, it was a good day and I had a great time. I hope I get to hang with Mathew soon for lunch and maybe we can become friends. It’d be nice to have another guy cousin around.



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