Those Photos That Tell A Story - A Story Within Themselves
Photography is confining something to a single expression. A photograph seizes a single instant, a specific angle, an isolated perception of an ongoing process. Even a posed, staged photo captures that one solitary moment between preparation and aftermath. Think of the 'senior picture' . . . all the deliberation and fussing before sitting before the lens, and then the scrutinizing over detail and the verdict as to which photo will represent you at this memorable episode in your life - that distinct shot is you in the midst of all that activity and thought.
These photos, below, are some of those photos that capture an instant of a time and place in my life that are so evocative of that time and place in my life that they instantaneously contain for me and announce to me a story . . . these are Those Photos That Tell A Story - A Story Within Themselves.
All photos used in this hub are personal photos taken by myself or family or friends.
In 1963 I was 9 years old listening to The Beach Boys on the radio in a 'Leave It To Beaver' neighborhood in Santa Rosa, California - in 1964 I was 10 years old sitting in small venue in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania seeing The Temptations in concert. It was an undesired move, I longed to return to California and hated so much about Pennsylvania - but, in 1964, there wasn't a better 'first concert' that anybody could have than to see The Temptations live. It would take me way too long to come to recognize all the wonderful things that our move from California to Pennsylvania would bring my way.
I think it's a drug store now, but in the early/mid 60s this building used to have a marquee and a ticket booth that greeted kids from blocks around every Saturday afternoon - The Penway Theater. Every week, every single Saturday, we would walk in a group of anywhere between 3 or 4 to 8 or more ten year old boys, to see Frankenstein, Hercules, space ships, Vincent Price, Godzilla, Jerry Lewis, time machines, Dracula, Tarzan, etc. Today, approaching 60 years old, I am delighted to know that my grandchildren know that Peter Cushing, vampire hunter for Hammer films, was the best Van Helsing ever on the screen and that the music of Bernard Herrmann not only contributed to so many Hitchcock classics but that his film scores also enhanced many of Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion masterpieces.
In the photo on the left are a couple of friends of mine from way back when . . . the vested, shirtless fellow on the left I've known longer than anyone in my life apart from my mother and sister. In the photo to the right is the two of us, in a photo taken by my mom. What's interesting, and storytelling, about this photo is not merely that our friendship has endured over so much time, but that here is captured an ongoing theme in our relationship - in this photo my friend is nursing an injured arm while I'm recovering from a motorcycle accident that damaged my leg . . . since being the only two boys in an all-girl typing class over 40 years ago, our lives have followed an almost eerily similar course; with both married our high school girl friends, we both had kids side-by-side, injuries, types and failings of cars, moving, etc, etc - if I lost a job I would call my friend and let him know he should probably start watching the want ads for work because he was undoubtedly about to be unemployed. Without design and 20 miles from where either of us grew-up, we currently live half a block from each other.
The photo on the left is my great companion, my co-adventurer, too often my accomplice. During those years when you leave your parents home and care, and begin to find out and establish who you are, Jon was my partner. What I love about the shot of Pixie and I to the right is, this was years after Jon died, and I noticed one day . . . I don't know if in the old photo of Jon he was wearing my shirt or in the newer photo of me and my wife I'm wearing his shirt, but that's the same shirt and that's something that would happen between us from time to time.
This is a favorite because I know the occasion . . . I was watching a Christmas show with Mickey Jr while the girls (his older sisters) were decorating the Christmas tree and my mom called and needed a ride home from work. Often I (of course) recognize the people and can discern an 'about' date, but I rarely have an actual remembrance of the moment the photo captures.
This is my mom and I with her Uncle David next to me and her brother, my Uncle Brad, next to her . . . it was a great occasion - my mother and I back in California with family for the first time since I was about 8 or 9 years old.
Years later it was an un-expressible joy to return to California with one of my many daughters for a family reunion. I cannot articulate the delight to share with my daughter things from my childhood, like leaving San Francisco city heading for Santa Rosa and coming around the corner to this most spectacular sight.
In the upper right-hand corner you see I've inserted a small photo of my son, Mickey Jr, into this shot of my grandfather . . . living across the country from family, and from such an illustrious family, it's a warm and celebratory delight to visually see that my family is part of my family - I mean, that the family I've made here with Pixie is part of the family I come from. And . . .
. . . that my family here delights to celebrate my family in California as well . . . after I returned home from the Edwards family reunion, one of my many daughters found a photo of an old menu for our family's donut shop in a book about the Edwards - she got an old sign at a yard sale, painted it, and has this replica from home hanging in her kitchen. This is a thrill for me.
These are just some of my grandkids, and here's the story; the boys in the back row are doubled over with laughter because the boy to the right in the blue shorts, isn't wearing any blue shorts - they were photo-shopped in.
One of my favorite photos of all; three daughters of daughters, three of my granddaughters at the beach. Kids go to the beach, they all wear bathing suits, they all look out at the ocean, there is nothing extraordinary going on here - except the beauty of our connectedness. Three cousins . . . the marvel of the ocean, the horizon, planetary stuff - but it wouldn't be the same without loved ones to share it with.
Halloween - the story here is, these are all mine, and this isn't all of them . . . looks like a neighborhood shot or preparation for a parade, but it's my backyard with just some of my kids and grandkids.
Here's the story; we rented a big house and all went down to Florida a couple years ago . . . I had no interest to go to Disney World and didn't go at - but, meanwhile, as the family is all bubbling-over with glee in the magic kingdom, I'm hooked-up with a fellow I only knew from the internet and we went to some 'Bible-land Park'.
It reminds me; once at the shore we each took $5 and split-up to get something for ourselves on our last night, then met back together after an hour or whatever . . . I don't even recall what everyone else got, what the beach vacation appropriate purchases were, but everyone gave me a hard time when I returned with a large, desk-sized dictionary & thesaurus - 'who goes to the boardwalk at Ocean City and buys a dictionary'?! It was a good deal and that's what I wanted.
Our get-togethers are famous - we have far too many of them, way too often, and always have way too much of the most over-the-top food. Everyone likes to cook, everyone likes to eat, and everyone continually tries to outdo themselves.
An average, nearly every other weekend, typical birthday . . . ludicrous.
I love this because, when one of my many daughters returned to pick-up her son and saw him sleeping on grampa, she exclaimed that 'Stevie's not like that with anyone, he doesn't like to cuddle and is standoffish around everyone - I need to get a picture of this' - so, grampa loves this one.
I love this one because it's one of my many daughters and a couple friends on their cross-country trip . . . sending home pictures all along the way and staying with family out in California - I love that she did this.
. . . and, these are treasures to me . . . every so often my phone buzzes and I receive a photo like this - my kids know my appreciation of good food and that they think of me when they're out with friends and want to share a little moment of experience with me is as cool as ordinary life gets.
. . . and this is that little daughter, dancing with her daddy so long, and not at all that long, ago.
My kids had all paid for my trip out to California and the Edwards' family reunion, that was my Christmas present that year - so no one was supposed to get anything for dad that year. My youngest, Benny, got me a most special gift and that brought my Pixie to tears.
Half of my kids, grown-up and loving each other - there is nothing better than this.
Same people - dad and his first born.
Undoubtedly the most unexpected, arresting, consequential phone call I ever got was one afternoon from my mom - 'Mickey - I found your father'. My father left when I was weeks old and I have no memory of him . . . I described an apartment we lived in when I was tiny to my mom once 'it was on the second floor with an old broken-down wagon against a weeping willow tree in the field next to us', etc, etc, and she marveled "how can you remember that? We lived there only a few months and you were only a couple of years old!'.
When she asked if I remembered anything else about that place I told her that I had very vague images of a man, only a deep voice and large presence in the room, there's no face or even upper body, just below the waist sense of manliness . . . and that he put my foot on his knee and tied my shoe. She seemed to nearly need to catch her breath 'Mickey, that was your father . . . he returned to town once and took us out to get groceries - he was the only man ever in that apartment and that was the last time I ever saw him'.
More than 50 years later I get the call - and then a visit . . . this is me and my father and a lot of filling in the blanks.
All photos used in this hub are personal photos taken by myself or family or friends.
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