14 Juniper

From 1951 until 2002, my Great Aunt Sylvia lived in the small two-story house at 14 Juniper Avenue in a suburb of New York. Over the course of those 51 years, she saw people come and go, neighborhoods grow and change, children become adults and move away, and then return with their own children. Remaining consistent was the house, and residing within the walls were reminders of all of the events and moments, big and small, from across the years.

When Sylvia was 86 she was living by herself. It was at this time that Sylvia’s fears of living alone with potentially deteriorating health began to outweigh her emotional ties to the house. In May, 2002, Sylvia moved into an apartment complex with easy access to health care, and where she would be part of a community without having to leave home.

In January before Sylvia’s move, I began to take photographs of the house and of Sylvia at home. At the same time, Sylvia shared her stories and memories. We asked other family members to add their thoughts, and the project became a collaboration, with the input and perspective of three generations.

This final collection is a house-warming present for Sylvia in her new apartment. We have moved on from 14 Juniper, but we take the memories with us.


Rachel Florman, 2002.