Looking backward in time

My two daughters are great. I love them with every fiber of my soul. And I try to give them things when they ask for them. One of the things they seem to want is stories and information about when I was a kid. Maybe this humanizes me, and makes me seem more like they are in some way. I grew up in a much different world than they are in now, but I also had hopes and fears and dreams when I was a kid, just like they do now.

The other day my 8 year-old asked me if I had any pictures of me when I was her age. I had to think about that, since it was so long ago, but I promised her I’d look and share whatever I found with her. And there was only one place to look for these pictures, so I went and took a look. I only found one picture, but it was enough to make my daughter happy. And so I’ll share it here as well.

I was almost eight years old when this picture was taken. My family was about to move into the proverbial “house I grew up in” and if I had to guess, I would say that this was taken on the day of my first communion, since I don’t know why else I would be wearing such a get up. I was t-shirt, jeans and Keds all the way at that age, like most kids are.

But that green and brown monstrosity almost made me not want to show my daughter the picture. I had made a promise, and I didn’t have a better picture to show, and we can all laugh at ourselves over some of the things we once wore. Plus, I was just a kid, and there’s no way I’d pick anything like that out myself. I’ll pin this one on my parents, most likely my mom.

The leisure suit was what passed for fashion in the mid 1970s (according to an inscription on the back, this was taken in 1976). A green and plaid jacket with matching pants and a brown shirt to go with it? Groovy! And, from the look on my face, I was feeling pretty good about it, too. I was a kid, and this was probably the first time I had ever owned something so snazzy. And yes, I did just use that word.

Beyond the leisure suit and my look of happiness, I can see a couple of glimpses of a carefree time in life. My Grandpa–the only one I got to meet–is looking out of the front door. He died when I was in college, so he got to see me grow up into at least a very young man. The house we lived in at the time didn’t seem so small, but when I drove past it earlier this year, I was surprised to see how small it really was.

The picture itself has a nostalgic feel to it. This was not taken with a digital camera, but with an old Kodak camera, and the film had to be taken to a supermarket or someplace like that to be developed. As I remember from my own experience, you had to wait a few days to get the film back from the developers, and they would call your home to let you know when the pictures were ready. All of that is so contrary to how it’s done today. Digital photography, which hardly existed more than a decade ago, has made pictures like the one above obsolete.

So I was happy that I  found a picture to show to my daughter. But I also realize that the young boy, and his suit, and his house, and even the photo itself, are all (literally) snapshots in time, never again to be duplicated. There’s some wistfulness about that, certainly. But things are always changing, and it’s good to be reminded of this, even when that reminder is wearing brown and green at the same time.

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