It’s no secret that I, like many people I have met since moving to Charleston, am not originally from here. I am originally from a small town over 800 miles (817, the be exact!) away in Upstate New York. A little town called Kingston, that I once used to think no one had heard of, yet now I feel like so many people actually have. While some days I feel like I am in a completely different universe than the one I grew up in, the longer I am here in Charleston the less and less surprised I become to cross paths with someone I knew growing up.
Every girl remembers their first best friend. The girl they could play Barbie or dolls with for hours on end, day after day with and still want to wake up and do it all again. in the early 90’s Mehren was that friend. The one I saw almost every day. Our parents built houses in the same neighborhood the same time and we instantly became built in neighborhood best friends.
While our parents would do yard work, we’d be outside creating a make believe fort in the woods. We’d often play dress us, and much to our younger brothers displeasure, rope them in as well. She also recently reminded me somewhere I have VHS footage of this! That’s a project for a different day, LOL. When I say we had quite the collection of Barbies between us, I mean it. We used to both have plastic suitcases of Barbie’s we’d bring over to one another’s house.
I can remember so many days where we’d get off the school bus or get home from summer camp and immediately ask our moms if we could play. It was merely a matter of who was asking today, and who was going to wait for the phone to ring at their house.
Fast forward a few years and we both went to different High Schools and Colleges. We still saw each other a few times here and there. College Graduation parties, and more recently, yet not “recent” at all, I Mehren’s baby shower for her older son, Hunter. Right before I moved to Charleston. That was the last time we actually saw each other until this month.
Back earlier this winter I was on the phone with Allen, when I saw a phone number come though with a phone number more local to Kingston. Generally, when I see those numbers they’re a robo-call so I thought nothing of it. Until I looked down to see a voicemail. It was Mehren calling to say she, and her family were coming to the Isle of Palms for a family vacation. She told me they had never had family photos taken and asked if I would take their photos while they were here. I was honored.
We fell so easily into conversation catching up, I was excited to actually see her in person. It was so surreal to see this little girl you used to play dress up and dolls with suddenly the person we’d always pretended to be as “grown ups”. While I’ve seen many photos of her family over the years it was so sweet to finally be able to meet her boys. It was so special to see her as a Mommy in person. I have photographed other childhood friends children before and it’s so surreal to taking their photo and seeing glimpses of their parent at the same ages.
Isle of Palms was certainly showing off the night of our session. As we walked out to the beach together and I began to shoot my mind was just swimming with thoughts. Memories and so much to catch up on. So many things I hadn’t even thought about in years. It was like opening up a book and randomly opening a chapter from early on and rereading it just to re-read it. So sweet, and so special.
After shooting so so many photos and the sun finally setting it was time to head back. I drove home that night thinking so much of those years. I felt like so many more conversations could have been had that evening on the beach.
Thank you Mehren for the honor of photographing your beautiful family. Thank you for walking down memory lane with me on the beach that night. I hope our next reunion is not 6 years away and that Charleston calls you back for another trip sooner than later. Next time I say we catch up over a nice glass of wine! Cheers.