The other day a friend asked about some old pictures I had, they wanted a few copies of them. Now I’m not much of a picture buff, but Mel is, and to be honest I’m glad she is. If not for her, we probably wouldn’t have any. Maybe it’s a female thing, because it seems like Mom was too.
After she left us I seemed to have inherited most of hers as well. Well to make a long story short, Mel had to pull them out from every where to find the few they wanted copies off.
But as we went through them, I never realized how many we had. They were not in any type of order, somehow time just jumbled them together. But if you think about it, most times that’s how our lives are anyway.
As we got to digging, before we knew it we were finding some of our first house together. It was just a little single wide trailer, but it was ours. It was hot in the summer, and the wind seemed to blow right through it in the winter, but it was home. And really that was all that mattered.
Before I knew it we had found some of my folks’ wedding pictures, Mom in a dress and Dad in his USAF uniform. There was even a few of before they married, her walking with friends, even one with a guy before she met Dad.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about that one. Even had one of Dad posing with a beret on his head, not the kind the guys in the service wear. He kind of reminded me of one of the pictures of guys from France back in the thirties.
There were a bunch of school pictures of me and my cousins. If you think some of the hairdos of today are wild, you should check out the sixties, talk about helmet head.
I must have found pictures from the first through the twelfth for all three of us brothers. Plus the clothes, never let you kids see pictures of what you wore back then, especially from the seventies.
If I have heard it once, I’ve heard it a hundred times, “Plaid Pants, really Daddy.” Hey it was the style, that and bell bottoms, but that’s a whole other subject.
Before long, we were in a pack where the kids had arrived. Mel seemed to take delight in taking pictures of me chasing the kids on their first bicycles. But they were so bundled up I’m not sure which was which.
But have you ever noticed Christmas pictures, I’ve seen other families, so it’s just not mine, all the kids are smiling at their presents, but the parents have either one or two looks on their faces.
They haven’t slept for days, or they are real mad about something. Now I’m not talking about the posed ones, no, the ones on the couch, when you’re not expecting it.
Every now and then Mel would ask me, “Who is this?”, or “Where was this taken?” seems like there was always a story behind each picture.
One was of Uncle Hayward right after the war, another was an old man holding two babies, she had never seen the old man before.
He was my Granddaddy Bruce, holding me and my cousin Fran; I never got to know him, he died about six months after that picture was taken, but at least I have the photo.
Then there is THE picture, we all have one. The one Mom took, the one that is perfect for the kids to blackmail you with, and as Forrest Gump said, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
But as I went through the photos I noticed something, I was watching my Mother and Father age before my eyes.
Each picture seemed to have one more grey hair, maybe another wrinkle or two. Even today in my mind’s eye they still look the same as they always did, but the pictures don’t lie, they were changing, but I just didn’t see it.
And even though I’m older now, I really don’t think of my self in my fifties. But my photos don’t lie either, I’m not the guy standing on the porch of our first house with my beautiful bride.
But maybe that’s the secret my folks passed to me. You are only as old as you feel, and even if the camera catches the truth, the spirit of youth will always overcome the ravages of time.
Because a camera will lie … well maybe just a little.
You can reach Robbin Bruce by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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