Home » Story Time » 40 Years – A Retrospective, –or– “It’s All About Me!”, my narcissistic photo journalism project

40 Years – A Retrospective, –or– “It’s All About Me!”, my narcissistic photo journalism project

I’m turning 40 this year, and an idea I have had bubbling around in my head is to sift through the several boxes of photos I received from my parents and have collected over the years, but haven’t put into albums or even looked at much for quite a while, pull out photos of me, and talk to them in a remembrance of my time on the planet. I’d like to get through what photos I have and upload with commentary as full a representation of the last 40 years as I can manage. My intention was to start 4 months out from my birthday, so I can cover 10 years of my life for every 1 month. Well, due to busy-ness, procrastination and distraction, I missed that mark, but still have time to run through ten years of my life every 4 weeks, or 2.5 years a week, which is my intention. I’ll post something every day that I can, and give whatever commentary I can. I’m gonna get some things wrong, and I’m gonna speak only from my own perspective. If any family or friends get offended in the process, I”m sorry, as that’s not my intention. I’m just trying to make sense of my time so far, and want to offer an uncolored account of my memories. That being said, if any one has anything to add to my commentary, PLEASE feel free to help me remember… well, me! And to be more serious, we are members in each others worlds, and remembering me is an exercise of remembering yourselves during that same period. So, help me fill in the details where I have it missing or wrong, and if you have photos to add, please let me know, because I’d love to see them.

Today I will post the beginning, which is my hospital baby photo, and the beginnings of a baby journal that my mom only sort of started filling out, but lost interest. Trust me, I get it – best of intentions, once that baby shows up, everything is out the window. I’m happy she filled anything out at all – I don’t have any idea of my sister even has that much.

What a cute little boy I was, and though it’s hard to see myself in that picture, there’s something familiar in that expression that looks like a combination of amusement and incredulity, which I can totally identify with. What is this world around me,  who do you think you are, and when can I join the party? And here is written evidence of my macro-baby-hood. 8 pounds, 15 ounces – sorry mom! I’ve always had a penchant for being a big guy, a trend that I would keep for a lifetime, it would appear.

My mom was only 17 when she gave birth to me, and although early families was no mystery to the human race, even in my mom’s day, I cannot imagine having given over my own childhood for the sake of being a parent to a new baby. At age 17, I dated a girl two years my elder, with a two year old son, having given birth to a child at 17 herself. I wasn’t ready to be a daddy to her boy at the time, but karma definitely found a way to bring me closer to the experience that my own mother had been through, if only by a margin. My hat goes off to all young parents that make it work. My parents are married and have stayed together through two children, 40 years, and many bumps and bruises of life, apparently still into each other enough to make it work. Good job guys – you had the cards stacked against you, but you made it work. Thanks for having me, and raising me in a home, and keeping me fed and well-toyed and schooled, and giving me life experiences, ethics to live by, and a love of life and its happenings. Whatever else, I am who I am in no small part due to the both of you.

These are the front and the center of the back cover of the baby book that my mom started to fill out for me. I don’t know if she got it from the hospital, or from somewhere else, but it smells distinctly 50’s institutional, so I’m guessing it was free at the hospital. The comic book feel lends it that Sunday Morning Newspaper legitimacy. I especially like the picture of the baby on the back letting you know who’s in charge now that baby has arrived. I guess it’s sorta true, being a parent myself, that at least in the few first months of life, that little guy (me, in this case) sets the agenda of feeding, sleeping, pooping, and crying, and his (in this case, my) parents are left to jump-to or deal with the consequences. And yet, having Dennis the Menace remind us of this plain and brutal fact doesn’t help make it any easier to swallow. Thanks for not drowning me in my sleep and putting up with the crying and the fussing and the pooping. It’s not automatic, even if the consequences elstwise might land you in jail.  Kudos to you, and I get to be here because of your largess and self-sacrifice.

From the handwriting on the inner cover, I can tell you for certain it wasn’t penned by my mom. I’m thinking it was either my dad trying his hardest to have good penmanship, or it was someone else entirely.

This one below, however, looks as if it could have been my mom. I can’t say for certain, but it looks like her printing to me. Not my dad, that’s for certain. Looks like my mom was at the hospital for one day before my birth, and the birth was ‘rugged’. Does that mean it forgot to shave for a week, smoked a pack of Marboroughs a day and rode a Harley? Dude, seventies lingo. ‘A cinch’? really? Who has a ‘cinch’ of a birth? All I can say is, I’m glad I’m not Dr. Wyman.

 

 

 

 

This is the last page she chose to fill out, and I’m guessing that’s because she had launched into being a new mom, and filling out a baby book was the last thing on her mind. I can totally understand that reaction, and I’m glad she focused on what was important (me!). What’s amusing to me is hearing my parents’ first words on my arrival. My dad is concerned with my gender (I’m only guessing – I suppose he could be wondering on my species, but I’m hoping he’d already had that part nailed down), whereas my mom just wants to know if I’m free of deformities. Do I have all my parts, yes, most definitely. Am I ‘normal’ – sorry, couldn’t help you on that one, mom. Normal isn’t my style.

And if you’re looking for my birth information in the public paper of the day, don’t keep looking, sounds like my parents opted out on that one. I fear it was far to ‘establishment’ to let the paper know I was here. Just kidding, I am certain it just wasn’t a priority. I can’t even remember if we published the birth of our boys in the paper or not. Guess it wasn’t my priority either.

So that’s it for day one – keep looking as the next few months roll forward to take part in the photo journalistic exploration of everything that is ‘me’.

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