My grandmother was a super hip lady. Even though she lived on this farm in Virginia she was always wearing skirts, sipping vermouth, wearing bobbles. When she finished high school her father let her best friend and her go on a cruise to Hawaii. They’d developed a plan that this is where they would get drunk for the first time. She told me how much fun it was, and when they were coming into the port all of these Hawaiians swam out to the boat, and the cruise passengers threw things down to the people in the water. It was just this really great moment, the way she described it I could really just picture it.
So she passed away a few years ago. I spent all this time just going through her old photos and I came across this one. It’s the scene from the cruise ship, looking down into the water and all the people swimming up to it. That’s the only thing it could be, and if I hadn’t heard that story I would have never known that’s what it was. It was just this really cool moment, years later to be thinking about that story. I’m not really sure what museum it would go into, it’s just every time I look at it I just picture my grandmother at 17 getting drunk on a cruise ship.
Exhibited by Isabelle Heyward
Transcript edited by Sarah Crawford and Isabelle Heyward