photo wall | Cap Gazette

There is something that does not like a wall. –Robert Frost

I don’t have a clear memory of the walls of my childhood. We moved a ton so we barely had time to decorate even though we had been so inclined. I remember when I bought a few huge black and white posters of movie stars (Elizabeth Taylor and others) at a garage sale at a garage sale and stuck them on top of my bed. Mission accomplished! But Liz and her friends didn’t accompany us from Atlanta to Boston, so my Massachusetts room was left unadorned.

As I got older it became one thing: I didn’t know exactly what I wanted on my walls, so I opted for nothing. Wall art is such a statement of personality after all, isn’t it? And it seemed like I spent an inordinate amount of time trying out personalities. I’ve always been jealous of friends who made fabulous wall art (I think especially of my friends John and Louie, who collect art and always know how to display it).

When we moved to Apel Ave. in 1989 we were greeted by a stretch of wall which, after removing the icky wallpaper, screamed for improvement with SOMETHING. So I went to town, creating groupings of family photos that included my parents as (adorable) kids, as well as curated selections from my chunky Seyfried kid pix library. Over the years, I have hung great collages from certain trips (Jamaica in 2000! Mission Trip to Alaska 2006!)

Finally, we had the walls repainted a few months ago. The faded, sepia-toned photo of Grandma and Grandpa Seyfried and seven or eight of their ten children has fallen, staring fiercely at the camera. The framed montage of souvenirs from Costa Rica has gone down. And how about the gorgeous watercolor of my talented Sister C, which hangs incongruously alongside the photos of toddler Evan and little Rose? Down!

The paint job looks great. So great that at the time of this writing we haven’t hung a single picture on the now immaculate walls. Can they just stay naked, I wonder? Wouldn’t that look… clean? No, I know I have to deal with turning our house into a branch of the Guggenheim. But where to start ? I’m fed up with the previous selection so I have to deal with the chore of framing and hanging DIFFERENT photos. I read an article on the best ways to design a photo wall, which involves drawing the desired configuration on paper, gluing THAT on the wall, and then hanging the pictures according to the diagram. The woman pictured creating her elaborate photo wall is smiling and looking relaxed. On the other hand, I anticipate a long and unpleasant procedure involving broken frames, fingers struck with hammers, etc. And I know as soon as it’s over someone else is going to get married or have a baby, and those mandatory new photos are going to ruin the whole design!

Maybe I’ll just stick Jamaica on the wall and be done with it.

Jack C. Nugent