Thursday, October 08, 2015

I’m often drawn back to the race we saw in Rouen in 1977, my dad and brother and me. The wooded setting, the sunshine, the small Formula 2 cars in brilliant colors, bearing the logos of obscure sponsors and racing down the hill past us into a canyon with tall, grassy banks—it all formed a kind of unexpected paradise for me. So I’ve researched it, and found pictures of the event, and pictures of the obsolete track today, dilapidated and overgrown.

Today I found a Super 8 video. It had that hazy, beautiful color, and that slightly jumpy feel that Super 8 has, that really makes you feel you’re peering into another world. I wondered, will I be able to squint and see us in the stands? With any luck I’ll see someone who looks a bit like my dad and probably isn’t, but I don’t have to know for sure. As I watched a scene in the pits before the race, in which the eventual winner Eddie Cheever was talking to his crew, my dad walked right on screen, staring vaguely at the camera, with my brother right behind him. My brother looked like my mom. I was there, but invisible.