While he readily admitted he was once an insecure PFC constantly trying to anticipate what his commanding officers expected of him, I was meandering about in my own mind: STEWART!! *!! WRITE THE *BLOG. PICK A *PICTURE AND TELL THE *STORY! SEE HOW *EASY THAT WAS?!!
Sometimes I just need a kick in the pants, and a reminder not to complicate things so much. I sidelined the heavy post, closed my eyes, and dove into a box of photos from which I have been disassembling photo albums.
September 1970. No time-stamp back in the day, this is when the photo was developed. This was probably Christmas, 1969, or Easter, 1970.
That's me in blue plaid, seven years old.
- Either I had just had a bad home-perm from my own Mother, or I had I slept uncomfortably the night before in rollers or pin curls. Shifting my head forward or back on the pillow, trying to keep one or the other from digging into my scalp enough that I could fall to sleep.
- I had Peanuts sheets and pillowcases, and a bright green chenille bedspread on a wrought-iron twin bed that matched my sister's. The beds would, and did, occasionally, convert into bunk beds. I still own them, and the idea of getting rid of them undoes me.
- On my right is my Uncle Woody. Divorced out of the family, but once an Uncle, always an Uncle—we never stopped loving him.
- On my right my cousin Judy, and on my left, Nancy. Both of these women, along with most of my cousins, were just enough older than I was that, although we loved each other, friendships weren't established with the age difference. Many of us have, blessedly, reunited through Facebook, and I would kiss Mark Zuckerberg right on his lips for that. Just out of sight behind Nancy, in a red sweater, is my mother.
- In the background is a glimpse of my Grandmother's kitchen on Lynn Street, in Urbana. It was 2 miles from the house I grew up in, and 5 miles from where I reside now. I did dishes in that sink, and she paid me $5 to mow the yard that was visible from that window. It was mostly wild violets and creeping charlie.
- The house is 3 blocks from a filling station my dad worked in when he returned from duty in the U.S. Navy in 1964, with a wife and 2 baby girls in tow. It is now a Mexican restaurant at the intersection Philo and Washington. I've sat back in that establishment reminiscing about how Teri and I would be lightly spanked for stomping on the full-service bell while Mom pulled in for a quick kiss from Dad.
- There was no doubt dozens more in attendance than are pictured here; we filled our plates and filed out to a very long living room, and spilled over to a garage lined with my thousands of my Grandfather's pencils.
See how easy that was?
*Insert a string of Drill-Sergeant-esque cusswords in all of these places.