My dad’s brother Jesse was at my parents’ house Sunday. While he was there, my mom brought out an old photo album. I don’t think I had ever seen the photos in this album. Quite a few pics of my parents from right after they got married; I’m in the process of scanning them. But anyway, there was one photo in particular that just blew my mind. It’s a photo of my dad at the beach (South Padre Island, I assume) in 1951, so he would have been 21 years old. He’s with a friend, but nobody could remember the friend’s name. Anyway, it amazes me how different my dad looks from the image of him that is fixed in my mind. He looks so cool and relaxed with his jaunty hat, and arm-in-arm with his too-cool-for-school cigarette-smoking pal. I think it blows my mind for two reasons.
One: It reminds me of 1950’s Hollywood publicity glamour photos of stars like Tony Curtis, Kirk Douglas etc., so it blows my mind to speak of my father in the same breath as “glamourous”.
Two: It reminds me of… me. It looks a lot like me when I was in my 20’s. And it even looks like my more recent self. Because it reminds me of me and my friends when we are just relaxing and being casually glamourous together, arm in arm. I have never before seen so much of my recent self in him, or so much of him in my recent self.
It turns my world upside-down when something forces me to see my father as human.